Lt. Col. Allen West delivers speech on global terrorismBy Bennett Stansell | 04/10/2017 11:31pm
Lt. Col. Allen West spoke on topics ranging from military efforts against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria to family values in inner-city communities.
Former Republican Congressman and Lt. Col. Allen West stopped at The University of Alabama on Monday night to talk to students and members of the Tuscaloosa about various global and domestic issues concerning the United States, from terrorism to America’s inner-cities. West, who is currently on a cross-country college speaking tour, was hosted by the newly formed UA Young Americans for Freedom student organization.
Speaking to a jam-packed room, West started his speech by asserting that the United States should not only be concerned with ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, but with the global terrorist movement in general.
“If we don’t realize that there is a global movement that extends from Nigeria, which is where Boko Haram is, all the way up to the Philippines, which is where Abu Sayyaf is, and all those cats and dogs in between that I just named,” West said. “We don’t have a dedicated effort to defeat that movement, we are going to play a game what we call in the United States military whack a mole.”
Although West spent a large portion of his speech discussing ISIS and what he thinks the United States should do to combat terrorism on a global scale, he also touched on the evolving situation the United States faces in Syria. This past week, the United States launched a direct missile attack against a Syrian air base in response to a chemical weapons attack carried out by the Syrian government against its own citizens. West said America should continue to take action against Syria for the chemical attacks.
“We have to take action, because shooting and bombing innocent civilians with chemical weapons is a violation of every single norm, rule or law that is out there,” West said.
However, West is not in favor of a U.S. forced regime change in Syria and knows that the situation is complicated and features various different global players, including Russia, Iran, Turkey and ISIS.
After speaking on the complexities of the Syrian predicament, West turned the direction of his speech to domestic issues, specifically what needs to be done to improve conditions for people living in inner-cities in America. West relied on his own experience growing up in Atlanta when talking about the problems he sees in America’s roughest cities and ways they can be combated.
“We cannot do what is right in inner-city communities until we restore the family,” West said. “The other thing that has to happen in our inner-city communities is we have to have better educational opportunities. Like I said, I grew up in the inner-city. But my parents understood that my getting that important, base fundamental education would send me on the right course.”
Once he finished his speech, West answered around 15 questions from audience members. He lingered after the event to talk to attendees and take pictures.
The speaking event marked the fruition of months’ worth of planning and organizing for Joseph Ballard, the president of UA Young Americans for Freedom. Ballard, who founded The University of Alabama chapter of YAF last semester with a few of his friends, has been a big fan of West’s for years. When the YAF national organization offered him the opportunity to bring West to the University, he immediately knew that he wanted to make it happen.
“I’d heard him speak a couple of times, and he’s someone who has always resonated with me because he knows what he’s talking about. He comes across as authentic, and he has the leadership experience,” Ballard said. “When they offered me the chance to bring him in, I thought it was a no-brainer.”
Ballard views the event as a success.
“It was a process, but I think it paid off,” Ballard said. “There was a full crowd here tonight. I think in the end it’s going to be great for the school to hear this message and for our chapter.”