There is Evil in the World and You Have to Struggle Against It: People Who Worship Death Not Life
Speech by Deputy U.S. Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz at the Book Party of Hubertus Hoffmann Fritz Kraemer on Excellence
I am pretty certain that I first met Fritz Kraemer at Sven's house, but I don't think he paid me a whole lot of attention. My recollection of the first serious conversation with him is when I went to work in the Defense Department .I had one of those experiences like Ed Rowny described when somebody said, "You had better go talk to Fritz Kraemer!" And I went to that little office, and I became a recipient of his incredible, copious reading of intelligence. I only recall that it always seemed to me that he was one or two steps ahead, if not more than that, of the kinds of products coming out of our official intelligence community. And Fritz was almost invariably right. I was a great beneficiary of that.
And I am sure there are many people in this room-and many people outside of this room-who have benefited from his inveterate teaching, because Fritz was a teacher-he was constantly teaching.
The other thing I remember, he was never interested in being an upper-grade. I think he considered it dangerous to accept any higher commissions.
And the third thing which I remember vividly, though I never saw it, but only heard Sven and Fritz describe it, is that image of the young Fritz Kraemer with his Imperial flag and cross going out in the middle of swastika-bearing, and hammer and sickle-bearing fascists and communists and getting himself beaten up-and doing it over and over again. That is what he was about. That is what his life was about-a recognition that there is evil in the world and you have to struggle against it.
I don’t think it is doing him an injustice to say he seemed always to be a prophet of gloom. He was, I think, a pessimistic man. And it is remarkable, given that outlook, how much of what he spoke for, fought for, and defended ultimately triumphed. I suppose he would say that is because, "I was always thinking about how things could go wrong. And I’m not sure that they didn’t."
The other day, I stumbled by accident on an article from 1984 that appeared in Foreign Affairs. It talks about how, apparently, judging from opinion polls, the Americans think their President is doing a great job and is reasserting American leadership in the face of aggressive Soviet expansion. But what they don’t understand is that he is an idiot and 70 percent of Europeans recognize that he is. And that it is difficult to describe to Americans just how low they have sunk in the esteem of Europeans. If you didn’t know that it was written about Ronald Reagan, you would have said how little things change.
The thing that hasn’t changed, unfortunately, is that there still is evil in the world.
It is a fascist totalitarianism not fundamentally different from the way it was in the last century-no more God fearing than they were.
They are people who worship death frankly, and not life.
People who worship the devil, I believe, and not God.
They are an evil that has to be confronted.
And fortunately, we do have a president that is prepared to see it the way I think Fritz Kraemer would have seen it, and is prepared to confront it. I believe his spirit still lives.
In the Talmud, I think somewhere it says that those who have passed away still live among us in the deeds that they have done and in the hearts of those who have cherished their memories. I know that there are hundreds and hundreds of people who have been touched by Fritz Kraemer and who not only still cherish his memory, but I believe have had their lives effected by his ideas and his example. It is a privilege to be counted among them.
Army and Navy Club, Washington DC, November 15th, 2004