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tv   [untitled]    February 26, 2012 6:00pm-6:30pm EST

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take your time, sarge, don't hurry on my account. where do they get 'em all? there's not that many shells. you lousy -- how can we go out there? how? >> we can move until -- i wish i was home. i wonder what they're doing -- >> -- at home. come on, let's do something! >> the war that faced the doughboy was one of massed fire power and jagged trench lines cutting across the heart of france, facing and using weapons more deadly than ever in history. the men in olive drab pressed the attack, each enemy position a step forward.
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bravery is not fearlessness. it is going on in spite of fear. a million men met this definition across the scarred and flaming fields of france, and the bravest of the brave, 95 of them, joined the roll call of those who wear the medal of honor. 95 names, a private who silenced four machine gun positions and was killed while charging into the fifth. a captain cut down by machine gunfire who led his company to its objective from a stretcher. and the legendary sergeant from tennessee whose one-man salt on an enemy position brought in 132 prisoners. the war to end all war was over, or so many of us in our inexperience believed.
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but a mere heartbeat of history, two decades, would prove otherwise. a lot of our fire power was at the bottom of pearl harbor. with what remained, we paid a little something on account. and while we bought time, 14 million americans responded by training for the greatest and most destructive war in history. so began world war ii, and before it was over, 430 from among the 14 million would win the medal of honor. some would come upon their moment on islands of the pacific, others in african desert or the steep and hostile terrain of italy. but for each, it would be a moment when somehow the price that action might exact from
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them was left unconsidered, shouldered aside by their individual commitment to meet the need for that action -- d-day. 5,000 ships and on every one of them, men thinking of loved ones, of home, of just how much they had to lose. >> my darling, we got your letter dated may 25, and as always, i've read it a dozen times. i keep them all. we'll read them together someday. johnny is as tall as my shoulder, fine and straight, and there's more of you in his eyes every day.
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mom and dad are well, and they send their love. i have your letter here and will read it again before sleep. meantime, try to know how much i love you. come back safe to us. >> come back safe. dawn came. d-day had begun. for each man who made it, this landing held a moment beyond which everything would be remembered in a kaleidoscope of bits and pieces.
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this was the moment when the ramp dropped down, and there was the beach. they knew what they were to do. they knew where and in what sequence they had to do it. the thing they didn't know was could it be done. it could be, and somehow, it was. but only the men who were there would ever really know what it took from each of them. we know only that what it took, they gave. from d-day onwards, their strength never stopped growing and the spearheads of that strength penetrated steadily up ward towards then mi heartland, sometimes more slowly and then more swiftly as the strait mounted and the enemy was walled away.
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the end was inevitable and finally it came, first in europe, then quickly in the pacific. the second conflict to bear the name of world war was over. once again, hundreds of thousands came gratefully home. others remained in ground they had bought and paid for with the ultimate currency of life itself. unlike the doughboy of world war i, the serviceman returning from europe or the pacific was not so quick to believe that the conflict just ended had ended war for all time. but he did know this, forces which had once again threatened to destroy his way of life had been defeated, and that way of life preserved. and he knew, too, that without him it could not have been done. korea, june, 1950.
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for the first time the armed aggression was that of a communist enemy. the answer was clear and emphatic. through years of what became stalemate combat, while true stocks wore on, men did what had to be done. constant patrolling, fighting again and again over the same bits of splintered ground day and night. in the end, the point had been made once again, that aggression against free men would be met and thwarted.
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these names, 131 of them, were added to the roll call of valor during the korean conflict. and here in the hall of heroes, this is the last honor roll but one. this latest section has not yet been completed. earlier you saw four of the men whose names appear here. like all the rest, they are in illustrious company, and once again, the challenge they face is far from our shores. here, as in every conflict the american fighting man has faced, the effectiveness of all else depends upon him, the man himself. true, the means of his combat, the swiftness of his mobility and the staggering volume of his fire power are such that the battlefield has never known before. but the man himself and the
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inner force that animates him, these are unchanged. he arrives at his objective faster and fresher than any man of arms in history. and in his hands are weapons more deadly than any of the best. but he well knows that despite all the technological advances, in the final analysis, there is no easy road. he knows, too that however hard the road, others have travelled it before him and what men have done, men can do. what enablieses a man to move forward into a malinstrume-stro flying steel and flame, the mere words ins which a commander shapes the orders to do, the knowledge that the others move forward count on him to be in
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his place, a sense of pride that will not let hem do less than his friends or leave them with more to do because of him or the simple consciousness that this is going to be done, and it is his time do it, whatever it is, whether we name it courage, sense of duty, bravery, or simply guts, it is there, and they go and get it done. in the vietnam fight, many americans have been awarded the medal of honor. in the combat zone, you will find the face of courage casually worn any way you care to look. and so the honor is doubly great
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for those who, from among the brave, are singled out. in one sense, these medals are no more than stylized bits of metal but in another, more fundamental sense they are the tangible representation of a priceless intangible. this, then, is in celebration of that something in man which is both indefinable and under deniable. for this, the hall of heroes exists. to say to all who come this way, read these names. think for a moment of the men whose courage put them here. what they did each in his own moment is a statement, a shout,
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a cry that echoes for each of us. remember and be proud. ♪
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you're watching american history tv. all weekend, every weekend, on c-span3. for more information follow us on twitter, @cspanhistory. >> there's a new website for american history tv where you can find our schedules and preview upcoming programs, watch video from a weekly series and access history tweets. history in the news, and social media from facebook, youtube, twitter and four square. follow american history tv all weekend, every weekend, on c-span3 and online at c-span.org/history [ applause ]
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>> thank you. >> mr. chairman, mr. president, governor, ladies and gentlemen, i'm sensible of the honor you do me in inviting me to give this memorial lecture. may i thank you, governor, your kind and generous welcome. when my distinguished predecessor delivered his speech exactly 50 years ago, he journeyed hither by train in the company of the president of the united states. on the way, they played poker to pass the time. and the president won $75.
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quite a sum in those noninflationary times for an unemployed former prime minister. [ applause ] but in view of the historic impact of his speech on american opinion, and subsequently on united states foreign policy, sir winston churchill later recorded that his loss was one of the best investments he had ever made. i did not travel here by train, nor in the company of the president of the united states, nor did i play poker. i don't have the right kind of face for it. [ applause ] there is some similarity in the
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circumstances of 50 years ago and today. mr. churchill spoke not long after the second world war. towards the end of that great conflict, the war time allies forged new international institutions for post war there was in those days great optimism, not least in the united states, about a world without conflict presided over benevolently by bodies like the united nations, the imf, the world bank and the gat. the high hopes reposed in them were increasingly disappointed as stalin lowered the iron curtain over eastern europe. made no secret of his global ambitions, and became antagonist rather than ally. churchill's speech here was the first serious warning of what
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was afoot, and it helped to wake up the entire west. in due course, that speech bore rich fruit and the new institutions forged to strengthen the west against stalin's assault. the marshall plan laid the foundations for europe's post war economic recovery. the truman doctrine made plain that america would resist communist subversion of democracy. the north atlantic treaty organization mobilized america's allies for mutual defense against the soviet steam roller. and european cold and steel community devised to help reconcile the former european enemies evolved over time into the european community. stalin had overplayed his hand. by attempting to destroy international cooperation, he
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succeeded in stimulating it among more realistic lines and not just through western cold war institutions like nato. as the west recovered and united, growing in prosperity and confidence, so it also breathed new life into some of the first set of post war institutions like the gat and the imf. without the russians to obstruct them, these bodies helped to usher in what the marxist historian eddie hobsborn ruefully christened the golden age of capitalism. the standard of living of ordinary people rose to levels that would have astonished our grandparents. there were regional wars, but no direct clash between the superpowers and the economic technological and military superiority of the west eventually reached such a peak that the communist system was
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forced into first reform, then surrender, and finally liquidation. none of this, however, was preordained. it happened in large part because of what churchill said here 50 years ago. he spoke at a watershed. once set international institutions shown themselves to be wanting, another had yet to be born. and it was his speech, not the force celebrated by marx, which turned out to be the midwife of history. today we are at what could be a similar watershed. the long twilight struggle of the cold war ended five years ago with complete victory for the west and for the subject peoples of the communist empire, and i very much include the russian people in that description.
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it ended amid high hopes of a new world order. those hopes have been grievously disappointed. bosnia, somalia and the rise of islamic militancy all point to instability and conflict rather than cooperation and harmony. the international bodies in which our hopes were reposed anew after 1989 and 1991 have given us neither prosperity nor security. there is a pervasive anxiety about the drift of events. it remains to be seen whether this generation will respond to these threats with the imagination and courage of sir winston, president truman, and the wise men of those years. but first, how did we get to our present straight? like the break up of all empires, the break up of the soviet empire brought enormous
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changes way beyond its borders. many of these were indisputably for the good. the more cooperative superpower relationship between the united states and russia. the spread of democracy and civil society in eastern europe and the baltics. better prospects for solving regional conflicts like those in south africa and the middle east once soviet mischief making had been removed. the discrediting of social economic planning by the exposure of its disastrous consequence necessary russia and eastern europe, and the removal of soviet obstruction on the united nations and its agencies. these were, and still are, real benefits for which we should be grateful. in the euphoria, which accompanied the cold war's end, just what is church hill's private
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secretary called the hiatus of 1944 to 1946, we failed to notice other, less appealing consequences of the peace. like a giant refrigerator that had finally broken down after years of poor maintenance, the soviet empire in its collapse released all the ills of ethnic, social and political backwardness which it had frozen in suspended animation for so long. suddenly, border disputes between the successor states erupted into small wars in, for instance, armenia and georgia. within these new countries, the ethnic divisions aggravated by population transfer produced violence, instability, and quarrels over citizenship. the absence of the legal and customary foundations of a free
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economy led to a distorted robber capitalism dominated by the combined forces of the mafia and the old communists with little appeal to ordinary people. the moral vacuum created by communism in everyday life was filled for some by revived orthodox church, but for others by the rise in crime, corruption, gambling, and drug addiction. all contributing to a spreading ethic of luck, a belief economic life is a zero sum gain, and an irrational nostalgia for a totalitarian order without totalitarian methods. in these conditions primitive political ideologies which have been extinct in western europe and america for two generations surfaced and flourished.
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all pedalling fantasies of imperial glory to compensate for domestic squaller. no one can forecast with confidence where this will lead. i believe that it will take long years of civic experience and patient institution building for russia to become a normal society. neocommunists may well trourn power in the immediate future, postponing normality, but whoever wins the forth coming russian elections will almost certainly institute a moral foreign policy, one less friendly to the united states. a revital of russian power will create new problems just when the world is struggling to cope with problems which the soviet collapse has itself created outside the old borders of the ussr. when soviet power broke down, so did the control it exercised,
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however fitfully and irresponsibly over rogue states like syria, iraq, and gadhafi's libya. they have, in effect, been released to commit whatever mischief they wish without bothering to check with their arms supplier and bank manager. note that saddam hussein's invasion of kuwait took place after the ussr was gravely weakened and had ceased to be iraq's protector. the soviet collapse has also aggravated the single most awesome threat of modern times. the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. these weapons and the ability to develop and deliver them are today acquired by middle income countries with modest populations, such as iraq, iran, libya and syria.
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required sometimes from other powers like china and north korea, but most ominously by a former soviet arsenal or unemployed scientists or from organized criminal rings, all by way of a growing international black market. according to stephen hadley, formerly president bush's assistant secretary for international security policy, and i quote, by the end of the decade, we could see over 20 countries with ballistic missiles. nine with nuclear weapons, ten with biological weapons and up to 30 with chemical weapons. according to other official united states sources, all of northeast asia, southeast asia, much of the pacific and most of russia could soon be threatened by the latest north korean
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missiles. once they are available in the middle east and north africa, be within target range. on present trends, a direct set to american shores is likely to mature, if that is the right word, early in the next century. add weapons of mass destruction to rogue states and you have a highly toxic compound. as the cia has pointed out, of the nations that have or are acquiring weapons of mass destruction, many are led by strong men of inhumanity or by weak, unstable or illegitimate governments. in some instances, the potential capabilities at the command of these unpredictable figures is either equal to or even more
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destructive than the soviet threat to the west in the 1960s. it is that serious. indeed, it is even more serious than that. with a number of possible adversaries, each with different characteristics. in some cases, their mentalities differ from ours even more than those of our old cold war enemy. so the potential for misunderstanding is great and we must therefore be very clear in our own minds about our strategic intentions. and just as clear in signaling these to potential aggressors. that is only the gravest threat. there are others. within the islamic world, the soviet collapse undermined the legitimacy of radical secular regimes and gave an impetuous to the rise of radical islam. radical islamist movements now
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constitute a major revolutionary threat, not only to the saddams and assads but also to conservative arab regimes who are allies of the west. indeed, they challenge the very idea of western economic presence. hence, the random acts of violence designed to drive american companies and tourists out of the islamic world. in short, my friends, the world remains a very dangerous place. indeed, one menaced by more unstable and complex threats than a decade ago. but because the risk of total nuclear annihilation has been removed we in the west have lapsed into alarming complacency about the risks that remain. we have run down our defenses and relaxed our guard. and to comfort ourselves that we

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