Tom Brokaw: ‘Immoral to Send 1% of Population in a Uniform into Harm’s Way Over and Over Again’


Retired NBC anchor Tom Brokaw says, “It’s immoral for a democracy to send 1 percent of its population in a uniform into harm’s way over and over again.”

Brokaw is also criticizing President Obama’s tepid response to the Paris terrorism attacks and proposing that the war on Islamist terrorism, which he says will be a long haul requiring a huge national commitment, can be financed by a 5 cents per gallon tax on gasoline.

Brokaw appeared with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani on MSNBC’s Morning Joe Wednesday.

“About a week after Paris, there’s still such a disconnect between the president and his own party. He had 47 members of his own party vote with the Republicans to oppose the Syrian refugees coming into the country. At the same time, it’s very unseemly for a lot of Republican candidates to be exploiting this just for getting votes,” Brokaw said.

“I’ve been talking to David Petreaus and Gen McChrystal… they all say the same thing [about the fight against terrorism]. It’s long, it’s hard, and we have to get the whole country behind this,” Brokaw added.

ISIS, the Islamic State, Brokaw said, is “very sophisticated and to clear it out, then you have to hold the territory.”

Giuliani agreed with Brokaw.

“Tom is absolutley right. We have no strategy and that’s exactly what we need,” he said.

As for the Syrian refugees, Giuliani said the United States should establish no fly zones. “The refugees should be in the no fly zones,” he noted.

Giuliani also agreed with Brokaw that the fight against terrorism will take a long time. “Tom is right. This will take five years, this will take ten years,” Giuliani said.

Leadership, Giuliani said, is what America needs to win. “America wanted to quit the Civil War in 1863, but America had a leader who said no,” Giuliani said.

Brokaw hit hard on the need for a national commitment to winning, saying, “I think there has to be real urgency, kind of a sense of alacrity” to get the job done.

That will likely require ground troops, he added.

“If you talk to the national security experts, they say, ‘look we cannot put Saudi troops in Iraq,'” he said, adding that we can get help from Saudi Arabia in other ways, such as bombing terrorists in Yemen.

“Everybody’s saying, ‘oh, we got to send more troops.’ That’s 1 percent of our population—1 percent. I’ve said it here before: I think it’s immoral for a democracy to send 1 percent of its population in a uniform into harm’s way over and over again,” Brokaw told host Joe Scarborough.

“So I would start with a five cent gasoline tax. So every time you go to the pump, you have to think about what’s going on elsewhere. We’re going to have to finance this. It’s going to be very expensive at the same time. And it is long curve.”

Brokaw also criticized President Obama’s response to the Paris attacks.

“There is a clash of cultures going on here. When you look at Paris, the president says he [the Islamist terrorist behind the attacks] wasn’t a mastermind, these are just killers,” Brokaw said dismissively.

“That was a very sophisticated operation. They did a lot of damage, not just physically but emotionally as well. We’re dealing with a very sophisticated group of people here,” Brokaw concluded

One conservative website quickly pounced on Brokaw’s gas tax proposal, ignoring his point on the unfair nature of placing the burden for the nation’s defense on 1 percent of its population.

At Newsbusters, Mark Finkelstein’s headline read “Tom Brokaw Goes Tom Friedman: Raise Gas Taxes to Fight Terror.”

“You name the problem, Tom Friedman’s got the answer: raise taxes on gasoline. Looks like Tom Brokaw’s caught Friedman’s gas tax raising fever,” Finkelstein wrote.

Conservatives generally oppose tax increases of any kind, though there are some recent exceptions.

Fox News commentator Charles Krauthammer has proposed an increase in the gas tax, offset by a decrease in FICA withholdings.

In 2014, the editors at National Review blasted Sen. Bob Corker for his proposal to raise the gas tax in order to bolster the dwindling federal Highway Trust Fund.

You can watch the full segment on MSNBC’s Morning Joe here.