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Off-Base Congressman By: Jamie Glazov
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, February 04, 2004


Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Robert "B-1 Bob" Dornan, the former Republican congressman who is challenging incumbent Rep. Dana Rohrabacher in the March 2004 Republican primary in Orange County, California. 

Frontpage Magazine: Mr. Dornan, welcome to Frontpage Interview. It is a privilege to have you here.

Dornan: My pleasure to be here, Jamie.

FP: Why don’t we start with a general question: why are you running against Dana Rohrabacher?

Dornan: The war on terrorism. One image I cannot take out of my brain, as most Americans who are thoughtful cannot, is the image of people holding hands—some of them their backs on fire—jumping out of windows of the Twin Towers.  

 I spent eight years on the intelligence committee in the U.S. House of Representatives and I was so serious about it that I would be at some briefings all by myself.  I remember one conscientious Democrat, the now-governor of New Mexico (Bill Richardson), coming to those intelligence meetings.  Sometimes it was just the two of us. But I traveled more extensively than any other Congressman into the world of terror.

The man I’m running against for Congress, Dana Rohrabacher, was rejected for the Intelligence Committee.  “He was not smart enough,” one person told me, or “he’s too erratic,” is what another person told me.  He was turned down for the Homeland Security Committee for the same reasons even though the chairman is the man who represents the Congressional seat next door to his and they’re classmates who got elected together in November 1988.  But Rohrabacher, a Republican of California, goes over to these terrorist states, first class and paid for, usually with a family member, paid for with terrorist money, and has no contact with our embassies.  He has no congressional responsibility to meet quietly in our embassies with our CIA or military people. He goes off freebooting on dangerous side-trips to give the impression, because he’s malleable, to these terrorists that he’ll be their spokesman in Congress, making the case against Israel, that Israel provokes these homicide bombings by their “brutal targeting of noncombatants,” to quote Rohrabacher.  Here is a direct quote of his that he made on The Alan Keyes Show, May 2nd 2002:  “The Israelis have committed acts of slaughtering innocent people.” 

This is so offensive in the War on Terror, and he makes this argument less than eight months after 9/11.  He is making an evil moral equivalency argument that the Israelis are as guilty of “atrocities” as the Palestinians.  The Arab funders of his trips, these terrorist financiers, they love having Dana Rohrabacher on radio, on television, and on the floor of Congress, supporting with his votes their major arguments that this is an asymmetrical war, and this is the only way the Arabs can fight. Rohrabacher argues that terrorists, their infrastructures, and their funders are victims.

One of the powerful statements of Vladimir Lenin was that one useful idiot is worth a hundred trained agents.  The key here, as Frank Gaffney has said, is that during the Cold War the Soviet Union was never as effective as radical Islam in penetrating the various levels of the U.S. government.  We have to expose these useful idiots.  In the case of Cynthia McKinney and Earl Hilliard, vote them out of office in the primary.  The reason that I’m going after Dana in a primary is because – this is a little known fact – not a single incumbent in the House of Representatives in the last election, 14 months ago, was defeated.  Senators were defeated, and so everyone concentrated on that.  A few Congressmen were defeated in primaries; eight congressmen had to run against each other so only four of them could survive.  In the general election, however, not a single incumbent was defeated by a challenger, so the only chance you have to go against the useful idiots is in primaries.  And if you can’t defeat them, you have to at least cripple them, so that every time they espouse this foul moral equivalency argument, people will say, “there they go again, what a foul lie.”    

FP: Why has radical Islam been more successful than the Soviet regime during the Cold War in penetrating us here at home?

Dornan:  Because of the deep-rooted religious motivation.  Soviet agents could be turned with money; radical terrorists are thinking about 72 virgins in paradise and martyrdom.

FP: Does this aspect of otherworldly rewards potentially make radical Islam a more dangerous threat than communism because it is harder to fight on certain fronts?

Dornan:  A second reason that radical Islam is so powerful is that the Soviet Union knew that, in the world of nations, they had to maintain a modicum of civility.  They could not blow airplanes out of the air filled with women and children.  They could not ask a Soviet soldier or a child to strap on a bomb and blow people apart.  With Bush taking the terrorist country of Iraq off of the map and putting Syria, Libya, and others on notice, now terrorism, which is nationless, has no reputation to uphold.  Terrorists can do this type of stuff every day and there’s no nation that is going to be condemned at the UN.  This is amorphous terror that is answerable to nothing except martyrdom.  

Dana Rohrabacher is marinated with terrorist money; he’s the door into Republican conservatism and the Republican Party, and they tried to penetrate the White House in the same way.  Remember that Dana pretends not to remember the name of people like Alamoudi who have bundled thousands for him.  Alamoudi was caught not by the FBI, but by MI5, with thousands of dollars, hundred dollar bills sequentially numbered.  What does that bring to mind?  Saddam Hussein in his spiderhole with 750, 000 dollars sequentially numbered.  These are the same kind of little treasure troves.  On top of that, Alamoudi was the one who laid out the first Ramadan dinner ever in the White House.  And guess who put in for the first Ramadan stamp to the U.S. Post Office department? Dana Rohrabacher.  He did it way back in ‘94.  Of course, that will never happen again.

It is this naivety mixed with dangerous ego, mixed with pathological lying and contaminated with this influence money that indicates what a serious battle we have on our hands.  And the way that we expose the useful idiots and uncover the agents who mean to murder us is with knowledge and dialogue.    

FP: As you know, Kenneth Timmerman did a feature piece for us on this theme: Dana Rohrabacher’s Troubling Friends. Tell me, Mr. Dornan, what do you think is the core cause of Rohrabacher’s “influences” and his historical distortions. Is he a fool or has he been bought by these political influences?

Dornan: It’s both.  First of all, people have known him for years and helped him in his political career because he always needs help.  Many say that he is foolhardy.  One person said naïve, but took it back, having not realized the extent of his travels and the company he keeps.  A friend of his who I will keep in confidence said that it’s laziness.  He never learned how to raise money.  Part of that laziness is that he’s never been challenged.  He won a primary with my endorsement in 1988.  He had no general election and he had what’s called a super-safe seat. There’s three of them in California. 

FP: In a sense, then, it has caught up to him, since it is understandable that he accepted this money in the different context of the Cold War, but now in this new era and under these new circumstances it is completely unacceptable.

Dornan: Also, he’ll make a tremendous speech against communism in communist China and their political prisoners, and their slave labor.  People will see that and say that he’s a tough conservative.  They have no idea that, a week later on a TV show, he’ll be making the case for Arab terrorism.

FP: So let’s crystallize this. Who is your opponent and how serious is his representation of these terrorist influences?

Dornan: With the defeat of Cynthia McKinney, who may be smarter than Rohrabacher – I’ve seen writings between these Arab terrorists and they always thought that she was their best voice – and the defeat of Earl Hilliard next door in Alabama in the fall of 2002 and David Bonior leaving office, the impact of these terrorist influences is waning.  With these defeats, it left Islamists and terrorists like Abdurahman Alamoudi and Sami Al-Arian with very few players in the Congress that would stand up and make this evil moral equivalency argument.  Dana Rohrabacher is it.  

To give you the short answer, Dana Rohrabacher of California is the most treasured mouthpiece for damaging Israel and making the morally reprehensible case for Arab terrorism in the Middle East.  He is their best voice now.

FP: There are a number of indications that Dana Rohrabacher lives in a frightening fantasy world. He is apparently running around saying that people are trying to murder him and that he actually planned the invasion of Afghanistan? Do you know anything about this?

Dornan: Yes, I do and it requires a brief background.  Many of your readers will initially find this hard to grasp because it sounds like Alice in Wonderland. They will not believe that what I am about to tell you could be stated by any Congressman in the Republican Party or in the other party for that matter.  As of January 26th, 2004, before an audience of 115 Republican women with some husbands as guests, Dana Rohrabacher said in his opening remarks:  “I planned the invasion of Afghanistan.” 

I could not resist – it was spontaneous – the word, the challenge, “What!” incredulously stated, came out of my mouth.  He turned to me and snarled:  “That’s right, Bob.  I planned the invasion of Afghanistan.  I gave those plans to the Pentagon and the White House and they implemented them.” 

FP: Why is he saying this?

Dornan:  He is trying to justify why there are pictures of him in Afghanistan, holding an AK 47, wearing the patan hat, and in combat fatigues.  Why was he in Afghanistan?  Well, here is another statement that will be hard for people to absorb.  On the July 4th weekend, at the home of the parents of the B1 pilot, Christopher Wachter, who almost killed Saddam Hussein on April 7th but effectively shut down the Hussein government, Dana Rohrabacher comes up and greets me.  I said: “Dana, hello, I am very angry at you. I saw you on Fox News tell Brit Hume that you fought in Afghanistan.  Dana, you know that you are a draft dodger.  Your own dad told me that you broke his heart because you used an old high school X-ray to beat the draft.  How dare you say you fought in Afghanistan?”   

FP: Was Rohrabacher saying that this was during the Soviet occupation?

Dornan: That is what I asked him: “When was this? When you were at the Reagan White House?”  And he replied that it was after he was elected to Congress.  I couldn’t believe my ears because I know the person who took him there on a camping trip of a few days, and he’s claiming that he fought there. 

So I challenged him and said: “So you did the Dan Rather thing and stuck your foot over the border or went in ten yards?”  He replied, “I fought in Afghanistan and fired and killed Russian soldiers.”  We all were shocked, since this was right in front of Christopher Wachter’s mother, Evan, her son Jason, another lady, and my son Mark who had the audio on on our camera and didn’t realize it.  I said: “Dana, you’re over the top. This is beyond Walter Mitty; this is pathological lying.”

And then he challenges me:  “How many times were you in Vietnam, Bob?”  I had been there during the war about eight times mostly as a journalist; my longest stay was six weeks.  Upon giving him this information, he told me that he was even in Vietnam longer than I was, trying to trump me on both Afghanistan and Vietnam.  Of course, he didn’t know that I had been in Afghanistan in ‘72 and had stayed there longer than his short camping trip.  

FP:  But Mr. Dornan, he’s changing the topic.  Did he actually kill Russian soldiers?

Dornan:  That’s so sick we have to come back to it.  But let me tell you what I said to him:  “Ok, buddy, I’m an air force officer.  Every one of those trips, even as a journalist, I used my reserve commission to get on combat missions.  I flew in fourteen combat missions and numerous helicopter missions. And when were you in Vietnam?”  He told me that he was there in the summer of 67, had carried a gun and was in danger there.  I said: “You’re losing it, Dana.  This will not stand.”

After that he stormed out, and when he left, the mother of the B1 pilot, Evan Wachter, turned to me and asked me: “You must run for Congress; I beg you.”  And I replied: “Dear lady, my federal pension is as big as a Congressional salary and I have to give up my radio show, all outside income and work for free.”  And then the father asked me, and the B1 pilot said: “You’re a legend in the Air Force, do it.”

So I left that night with my son, Mark, and said to him that maybe the clock’s ticking, maybe I should do this.  He, of course, knew the reaction my wife would have to this with another tough race and the way the Left hates me. And I said: “This is a Republican primary.  I want to be part of the war on terror. So we’ll think about it.”  

So I started doing research on Dana’s travels; I went into his financial disclosures. I see all these trips to [Grover Norquist’s] Islamic Institute.  Then I recalled that the late Congressman Gerry Solomon called me at home one night and asked me what was going on with California:  “Is it in the water?” he asked me.  “When did this Rohrabacher develop into this strange person?  I took him on my Congressional delegation to Uzbekistan and all of these other countries bordering Afghanistan and I’ll never take him anywhere again.  He would disappear all night meeting with nefarious characters, and his wife was drinking beer out of a can, smoking cigars and wearing pedal-pushers in front of Muslim clerics who were already looking at us with hate.  This is incredible.  This man is a threat; I’ll never take him anywhere again.”

Now, Henry Hyde, who is the chairman of Foreign Relations—on which Dana serves—took him to China, and Henry Hyde’s chief legal council told me that Chairman Hyde will never take Dana Rohrabacher on a trip again, saying:  “He embarrassed us in Korea; he embarrassed us in China.  He’s the worst person for diplomacy in the Congress.” 

To come back to your question, did Rohrabacher kill Russian soldiers?  That would be a violation of international law.

FP: He’s lying of course.  But does he believe what he’s saying to you?

Dornan:  That is an important question because some people call me and say that he is seriously delusional.  No, I don’t believe that he believes it.  I don’t think he’s delusional in that way.  It is not "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty."  It is best expressed by the old saying: what a tangled web we weave when we practice to deceive.  His lies compound his lies and he gets himself all mixed up.  The reason I know he didn’t believe it is that he sent me a letter and on the draft dodging point he admitted that if he had not brought that old x-ray, he would have been taken into the military. He said: “Bob, maybe I do all these dangerous things because of guilt of not serving in the military.  But don’t take them away from me.”

FP: So he’s overcompensating for a sense of guilt – and it’s also political opportunism.

Dornan:  A full measure of both.  But he often realizes the danger of his statements.  He said that he killed Russian soldiers, but later tweaks it to me by saying that, the Russians he fired upon, it was with missiles.  Here is another one I learned this morning.  This is since 9/11.  He says, “when I was in Afghanistan” using the affectionate short form, the Muj, for the Mujahadeen, “the Muj, the combatants I was with, pointed to this encampment and said, ‘you see that encampment; we don’t go near that camp; there’s a really bad man in there.’”  Guess who this was.  It was Osama bin Laden.  He then remarks to the audience, “that’s how close I was to taking him out.” 

FP: But at that time, bin Laden was not his enemy.  They were allies in fighting the Soviets.  So why would he be “taking out” his allies?  It doesn’t make sense.

Dornan:  Exactly, this is historical revisionism because in that time Osama bin Laden was known not as a fighter but as a financier.  He’s totally out of time and place on this one. 

FP: Who is Rohrabacher trying to impress with this?

Dornan: The fellow who told me this story told me that he was dumbfounded by Rohrabacher’s statements. But nevertheless, Rohrahacher got a smattering of applause from various businessmen who were there.

A month ago, Rohrabacher goes to a Fountain Valley Chamber Mixer, an evening for the Chamber of Commerce.  Dana’s the speaker and he’s before the audience and upset because someone is passing out a story calling him Mr. Taliban and accurately taking apart many of his statements.  So Rohrabacher goes on the offensive, saying that the story is from a pornography magazine, which was a total distortion.  He then said, and these are his words:  “When I was on a combat mission advancing on Jalalabad…” then diverting the story into some other flight of fancy.  The crowd, as many have told me including my son, Mark, was astonished by his statements.

The problem for him is that he gets caught up in his lies.  For instance, the first time he was on with Brit Hume, Brit inquires whether or not he fought in Afghanistan, and Rohrabacher responds that he was under siege in Jalalabad.  But he made the statement as I just told you that he was advancing on Jalalabad, so how can he be under siege if he is besieging the place! 

But here’s the most dangerous one of all.  He stated that he warned the White House about 9/11.  Now this is the ultimate delusion or pathological lie.  He said he came back on one of these Islamic terrorist funded trips and they tipped him off, telling him that they know there’s going to be an attack.  He calls the White House and demands a meeting with Condoleezza Rice.  At this point, it diverges into two stories.  One is that they wouldn’t take his calls.  They have denied that to me in the Political Affairs section of the White House, saying that “never happened.”  But the version that I’m looking at is that Rohrabacher said that they finally gave him an appointment.  When he tells this story, he pauses for dramatic effect and says: “2 o’clock in the afternoon, Sept 11, 2001, I woke up like all of you to our skyscrapers on fire and my meeting was cancelled.”

The reason that this is dangerous to his party and his country is that it gives the impression that Howard Dean’s rants are correct, that the President knew.  But when Dean is pinned down, he gets out of it by saying that they are rumors that deserve analysis.  And who picks this up, a four star general that graduated from West Point, Wesley Clark; he wants to go beyond Dean and say that the President did know and misquotes the Kean Commission on 9/11.  And you have this Republican, Rohrabacher, ceding all of this fabrication.

FP:  What always fascinates me about this is how this sort of accusation is never thought through.  What is the psychology behind the accusation that Bush knew about 9/11?  Why would he allow it to happen? What is the meaning underlying this lie about Bush?  What, he just sits around waiting for it to happen knowing that the planes are going to crash into the World Trade Center? What’s the objective here?

Dornan: They don’t have an answer for that.  It is similar to the conspiracies about FDR, that he wanted to be a wartime president and get us into WWII and so he allowed Pearl Harbor but he didn’t want it to be as bad as it was. 

FP: What kind of person does one have to be to make such groundless accusations? What kind of integrity can such a person have?

Dornan: Well, with the Bush accusation, it’s worse than any of those made against Roosevelt because in the end they want to say that Roosevelt wanted to get involved to help Churchill and crush Hitler and Mussolini.  But in the case of spreading this foul lie against President Bush, the underlying accusation is that Bush did it out of self-interest so that he could save his presidency, to give him a cause to feed off of so that he could get people’s eyes off of domestic issues and get them to focus on terrorism.

In the end, it takes absolutely zero integrity; it takes a foul spirit and an evil heart to make that kind of a challenge because it feeds the lies being pumped out of Cairo, Riyadh and, at one time, Baghdad.

FP: What does it say then about the state of the Democratic Party?

Dornan: That they are morally and absolutely bankrupt.   

FP: You’re right too that they are regurgitating the conspiracy mentality of the Arab World.

Dornan: In reading one of your fascinating interviews, Jamie, one of my favorite authors, Kenneth Timmerman, challenged Peter Jennings to talk to real people on the Arab street, like Cairo, and ask them whether they believed that the Jews struck New York or, worse, we allowed it to happen – as is either argued or suggested by some of these Democratic Candidates and Dana Rohrabacher – in order to blacken the image of Arabs around the world.  It is largely believed in Cairo that all the Jews were ordered out of the building before the planes hit and that Bush allowed it to happen.  This all feeds into this evil assault on the United States – this is why I’ve said Dana feeds the Left with rhetoric.     

FP: So let’s look one more time at Dana Rohrabacher. Are there any principles in his political life?  What motivates him; what drives him?

Dornan: You have asked me a very fair question, and I want to be fair.  His terrible guilt that only he knows as a son of a marine fighter pilot hero, deliberately breaking his father’s heart by ditching military service – his father called it draft dodging – has motivated him to be a strong anti-communist.  When he worked for Reagan, he did some admirable things and as a Congressman he made some wonderful speeches on the House floor.  I have called his office and complimented him, even two or three years ago about his speech on China, telling him that it was the best speech he has ever given.  The anti-communist crusades of his life are a big part of who he is.  Still, Dana tries to take credit for things that he never did, like the statement “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that wall,” even though we know the guy who actually did write it; he’s just written a book and was a guest on my radio show.  But Dana was there backing this guy up, saying, “don’t let them take it out.”  The speechwriter told me on the air that Dana fought to keep that in the speech.

So Dana’s been trying to make it up to his Dad while his Dad was alive, and I believe that Dana believes his Dad’s watching him from heaven and he is trying to please his father with his anti-communism.  But you notice that I didn’t say he had a nefarious heart on this terrorism thing.  It may be a combination of laziness and easy money.  Some of his friends say that he has absolutely zero knowledge of the Middle East, knows nothing about the history of Israel or the 14th century of Islam.  So he gets enamored with this idea that he is, as he himself says, “a peacemaker, meeting with moderate Arabs only.”  Well, some of those moderates are imprisoned with no bail and are about to start their trials.  To that, Dana says he was lied to, but then he turns around to make the case for terrorism; he even met with the Taliban.   

His heart is in a good place on anti-communism… 

FP: But that doesn’t really matter in our War on Terror against Islamism.

Dornan: It doesn’t matter right now because Americans are not fighting Chinese soldiers; they are fighting terrorists in the streets of Baghdad.  He is playing with fire and he has no historical background.  In Kenneth Timmerman’s article, many of Dana’s own friends said that his ignorance of the Middle East plays a big role in this; he knows nothing.  A wonderful doctor who took him to Israel, his first and only trip a few months ago in the fall, said that he broke off the trip to go to Paris, he didn’t see what he liked and that he is ineducable.  

FP:  If you analyze the whole discourse, there are so many comments out of time and place.  For instance, he came close to taking bin Laden out at a time when bin Laden was on our side against the Soviets; that he planned the invasion of Afghanistan when that contradicts who his friends are. .

Dornan: Well, before 9/11, Dana has even stated that the Taliban are devout traditionalists, not terrorists or revolutionaries.  He has been chided by the State Department for meddling in foreign affairs a couple of months before 9/11.  I’ve been in Congress longer than Dana, and I had a two-year gap so it was a twenty-year run, six years in Los Angeles County and twelve in Orange County, and I have never heard of a Congressman meddling in foreign affairs and chided by the State Department.

FP: Mr. Dornan, our time is up. Why don’t you give a final thought?

Dornan: Thanks Jamie. To close, I want to stress that as Americans we need to inquire into the world around us.  On my radio show, I have interviewed 21 authors on Islam and I want to send a list of these books.  Timmerman’s is excellent and another is Paul Fregosi’s Jihad in the West: Muslim Conquests from the 7th to the 21st Centuries.  Every American Senator and Congressman and particularly George Bush should read this book.       

FP: Mr. Dornan, thank you for joining us. I wish you the best of luck.

Dornan: Thank you Jamie. Frontpage Magazine is dynamite. I read it every day.

*

I welcome all of our readers to get in touch with me if they have a good idea/contact for a guest for Frontpage Interview. Email me at jglazov@rogers.com.

Previous Interviews:

Paul Driessen

Stephen F. Hayes

Andrew Sullivan 

Richard Pipes

Rachel Ehrenfeld

Ann Coulter

Laurie Mylroie

Michael Ledeen

Daniel Pipes

Christopher Hitchens

John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr

Kenneth Timmerman


Jamie Glazov is Frontpage Magazine's editor. He holds a Ph.D. in History with a specialty in Russian, U.S. and Canadian foreign policy. He is the author of Canadian Policy Toward Khrushchev’s Soviet Union and is the co-editor (with David Horowitz) of The Hate America Left. He edited and wrote the introduction to David Horowitz’s Left Illusions. His new book is United in Hate: The Left's Romance with Tyranny and Terror. To see his previous symposiums, interviews and articles Click Here. Email him at jglazov@rogers.com.


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