Intimate Conversations with America’s Change-Makers

Burn the Boats is an award-winning podcast featuring intimate conversations with change-makers from every walk of life. Host Ken Harbaugh interviews politicians, authors, activists, and others about the most important issues of our time.

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Rep. Jason Crow: Political Courage

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Representative Jason Crow is a former Army Ranger who served three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and represents Colorado’s Sixth Congressional District. He was in the Capitol building during the January 6th insurrection, and has been hailed as “one of the heroes of that day” for guiding fellow members of Congress to safety.

In this interview, Rep. Crow discusses Space Command remaining in his state, right-wing extremism, and the lack of political courage shown by Republican politicians.

We previously interviewed Rep. Crow just a few months after the January 6th insurrection, which he experienced first hand. Listen here.

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Jason Crow:

So, when you have somebody saying something crazy, maybe on a soapbox in the town square or yelling on the street corner, that's one thing.

When you have somebody saying something crazy, sitting at the podium on the floor of the House of Representatives, that's something entirely different. It has an impact.

And that's the combination of all those things converging is making this moment in time unique and more dangerous, in my view.

Ken Harbaugh:

I'm Ken Harbaugh, and this is Burn the Boats, a podcast about big decisions. My guest today is Representative Jason Crow.

Jason is a former Army Ranger who served three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and represents Colorado's 6th congressional district.

Jason, welcome back to Burn the Boats.

Jason Crow:

Good to be with you, Ken.

Ken Harbaugh:

Great to see your face. It's been a while. We have to catch up, and I want to start with Biden's decision to keep Space Command in Colorado instead of moving it to Alabama.

The president was, according to a statement by the White House, following the advice of the head of Space Command, General James Dickinson, who made the case that moving his command to Alabama would quote “jeopardize military readiness.”

Can you decode that for us? Because I think we both appreciate the subtext there.

Jason Crow:

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Well, there's no doubt in my mind that was the right decision. They've been pushing for it for a very long time.

And listen, every member of Congress is going to advocate for his or her state and district. That's actually the job. The job is to advocate and try to get things in your state and in your district. And of course, we're always going to do that.

But in this instance, there was total overlap between what's in the best interest of national security, what's in our service member's best interest, and what's in Colorado's best interest.

So, there's a couple of things happening. Number one, if you do move Space Command at this point, you're going to have to have a huge civilian workforce move with it. There's about 1300 highly skilled, high technical workforce members that would have to move.

And those folks have a vote. They can get a job anywhere and everywhere. A lot of them said outright, they were not going to move to Alabama if the Space Command moved. So, you'd have to reconstitute that workforce, and we just don't have the time.

The speed of which China is actually building out space capabilities. The idea that we would move a command, lose a whole bunch of the workforce and have to recapitalize that workforce over the next couple of years, just made no sense whatsoever.

The president did say that the abortion issue had no bearing on the decision. I believe him on that. Although, I will say personally, I think that also, was a really important factor.

You have civilian workforce, you have a very high percentage of female service members that are assigned to Space Command. And we just shouldn't be moving those folks to states where they don't have equal rights, period.

That's just a firm belief of mine. So, this is the best thing for Space Command and for our nation.

Ken Harbaugh:

I sympathize with the position you're in saying that you believe the president on that, but it has to be the case that the women who make up such a huge chunk and vital part of that workforce, not to mention our fighting force, Spacecom itself, moving to a state that denies them equal access to healthcare, that treats them as second class citizens, has to be a huge factor here.

And I just can't imagine that the head of Space Command's conclusion that readiness would be affected by that move, didn't account for that as well.

Jason Crow:

Yeah, I'm with you. I would imagine it played a role. It should play a role. I mean, I outright told the White House and the Department of Defense that it should play a role because you can't separate the rights and the quality of life of our service members from our readiness. You just can't.

As you know well, Ken, people have to feel as though they're a part of a team, that they have equal rights, that they do have equal rights, they have access to healthcare. If you don't have those things, then you just don't have an effective fighting force.

Ken Harbaugh:

Do you think the Alabama delegation saw this coming? Because I get the sense watching Senator Tuberville, that his antics are political theater with a total lack of awareness of consequences.

What would you say to him if you bumped into him in the halls of Congress right now?

Jason Crow:

Well, I'm not going to purport to get inside of the head of Tuberville and I don't know what's going on there, because you're right, the best guess is it seems like it's political theater because it's certainly not in the best interest of our national security.

I mean, we have over almost 300 very, very critical national security positions that are now, being held up because of his grandstanding in the Senate. This is awful for our national security. I mean, we're our own worst enemy here. When our adversaries are moving fast and furiously ahead, we're slowing ourselves up.

So, I don't know what's going on inside of his head, but I can say I think the Alabama delegation did see this coming. That's why you saw Chairman Rogers do the things that he did in the House Armed Services Committee markup for the NDAA trying to fence off funds and prohibit any movement of Space Command.

Of course, the Senate stepped in and pulled that back, prevented that amendment from making it into the mark. But yeah, I think they saw this coming.

Ken Harbaugh:

Is there any capacity within the Republican caucus on either side to keep its more reactionary members in check, or the members who are just in it for the clicks and the likes, the Tubervilles who, as you put it, engage in that grandstanding?

Is there enough of a leadership caucus within the Republican caucus to actually lead and pull back its members from the fringe?

Jason Crow:

Well, I think so. But I think that that ability is degrading, actually. I think there you have kind of two different Republican parties.

You have the kind of institutional Republican leadership. You have those who are committee chairs. You have those who are running the party right now, at the national level, at the state level.

And then you have the base, the kind of the hardcore Trump base of the party, which is growing.

And what you see is this huge disconnect between the two that is widening right now. You look at some of the primaries that are happening, some of the Senate primaries, the primary in Montana to decide who's going to take on Jon Tester.

And some other primaries where it's become a litmus test. The issue of cutting off Ukraine aid has become a litmus test for those candidates.

So, there's certainly a movement to the far, far right that you see playing out in all of these primaries right now. So, the trend align within the base of the Republican party is very negative.

So, the jury's out, Ken, on how the leadership and those who are running the committees and trying to govern are going to keep the worst impulses of that party at bay and try to reverse that trend.

Right now, they haven't been able to find a way to successfully arrest that very negative trend towards isolationism and extremism.

Ken Harbaugh:

Well, let's talk about those worst impulses, as you put it, especially when it comes to isolationism and cutting off Ukraine.

Is that a real effort by the elected Republicans you work with? Or is it just performative and is it the kind of thing that you often see in the run up to elections and you get through it and then you revert to a more responsible stance?

How worried should we be that they are serious about abandoning democracy in Europe?

Jason Crow:

Oh, it's real, there's no doubt about it. I mean, there is a small but growing cohort within the Republican party that would love to cut off foreign aid, that would love to cut off aid for Ukraine and their fight for freedom.

That would love to just retrench us within the United States, build walls, literal and figurative walls, and see the rest of the world kind of burn on its own.

So, it is small, but it is growing. They punch above their weight right now, within the house because Kevin McCarthy allows them to punch above their weight.

To get their votes for speaker, he bargained away a lot of power, gave them assignments to the rules committee, gave them the ability to kind of call what's essentially a vote of no confidence. It's called a motion to vacate the speaker's chair. Very small numbers of members can do that.

So, he has created this scenario in which these small group of extremists have outsized influence.

And unfortunately, what that's doing is that's allowing them to grow their numbers and influence because they now, have a platform that they otherwise didn't have. That kind of legitimizes these more extreme views in the eyes of a lot of folks.

Ken Harbaugh:

Is that small but growing contingent, leading or following?

And the reason I ask is because I see what happened in the immediate aftermath of Russia's brutal invasion of Ukraine, where you had an overwhelming majority of Americans on both sides. Republicans, Democrats, and Independents offering unqualified support to Ukraine. And that has dramatically shifted.

And I want your thoughts on how that's happened as well. But are the Republicans in Congress who are the loudest on withdrawing support from Ukraine following this shift or are they causing it?

Jason Crow:

That's a good question. It's hard to really pull those numbers apart. Certainly, they weren't in the early stages of this war out there banging the drums trying to get aid pulled back. I think they sat in the wings kind to see what direction this would go.

And when they saw an opening, they've kind of moved into that opening to try to portray themselves as isolationists and America first folks and pull back aid as a result of that.

So, this is largely something that has really grown legs, I would say in the last six to the nine months, not the kind of the first nine months of the war.

But listen, these people generally, they don't have ideas. They don't have ideas of their own. These aren't people that are looking to govern. They're not looking to build. They largely don't have a consistent ideology.

They're just against whatever happens to be what we're talking about in any given day, they're against fill in the blank. This is about otherism, this is about otherizing. This is about being against government. It's about burning the House down.

And that it kind of is that emotional reaction that they're trying to get in folks to give into people's grievances, frankly, which is what makes it so dangerous.

Ken Harbaugh:

You have a colleague in your Colorado delegation that is the exemplar of this.

And I'm recalling our last conversation in early 2021 when I sensed at least a little bit of hesitation to really go after Lauren Boebert. I think that was just professional decorum on your part. That has since been shed, and you are holding her accountable, which I am incredibly grateful for.

But can you just give us a couple of examples of what you're talking about when you say they're not there to govern? I mean, in her case, she doesn't even vote on some of the biggest bills that affect her own constituents.

Jason Crow:

It's interesting that you recognize my evolution on Lauren Boebert, which is true. When she first came to the house …

Listen, I try to assume the best of people and I try to give people an opportunity to grow and evolve, because who doesn't? I'm not the same person I was five years ago, 10 years ago, 15 years ago. I've changed, I've evolved as a person. I mean, you want to be able to change and grow.

So, I wanted to give her that opportunity to turn the page and show a willingness to roll up the sleeves and govern and be a good colleague from Colorado, because that's what Colorado deserves.

And there's a long history and tradition in Colorado, of the Colorado delegation working in a bipartisan way and working together. And I wanted to keep that history of tradition going.

So, you're right, I refrained from attacking her because I wanted to give her that space. I wanted to give her that opportunity to step up to the plate and work with us.

Over time, she proved that she was not willing to do that. And she engaged in more extreme rhetoric. And I'm not going to put up with that.

I'm not going to allow people to say things and do things that undermine our democracy, that undermine my constituents, that are dangerous because we've learned that words are dangerous. They do matter. I'm not going to allow that to go unchecked. So, I've certainly been very vocal and counteracted that.

So, I mean, that's kind of my general approach to these folks and these types of situations.

Ken Harbaugh:

Talk about the effect that extremism in Congress has on America's streets, in America's schools, because we have seen extremists in our country before, we have seen terrorist movements. What is uniquely dangerous about this moment?

Well, not uniquely dangerous. You have to go back to like the KKK and the deep south in the ‘20s, you have to go back a long ways.

But when a major political party endorses and provokes that kind of extremism, we're in incredibly dangerous territory. And you have a colleague who is at the tip of the spear of that.

Jason Crow:

Yeah, there's no doubt that there's always been conspiracy theories. There's always been extremist strands, not just within the US, but frankly, any society that exists. It's just a component of human nature.

I think what makes this moment in this toxic stew so dangerous is a factor of a couple of things. You have technology, which of course has been able to connect people, people that were otherwise kind of marginalized and kept in the shadows with their extreme and dangerous views.

They're now, connecting with each other. They now, are platformed in the way that they weren't before. That's number one.

Number two, you have our foreign adversaries and our enemies actually using that technology to reach within the United States and to shake people up and to radicalize them and to take advantage of our divisions of a society. So, you have these very sophisticated state actors that are leveraging it.

And then number three, you have a organized political party, and you have people that are part of that party with legitimate platforms that use those platforms to legitimize illegitimate views.

So, when you have somebody saying something crazy, maybe on a soapbox in the town square or yelling on the street corner, that's one thing.

When you have somebody saying something crazy, sitting at the podium on the floor of the House of Representatives, that's something entirely different. It has an impact. It has a legitimate perspective that people will look at it.

And that's the combination of all those things converging is making this moment in time unique and more dangerous, in my view.

Ken Harbaugh:

When you were serving as a manager during the first impeachment of President Trump, did you ever imagine we would be where we are today?

Jason Crow:

Well, I don't imagine we'd be where we are today, almost any day in the last five years.

Ken Harbaugh:

Yesterday, right?

Jason Crow:

Yesterday, today. Like what is going on? There's been nothing typical. There's been nothing common since I began my political career. Since the day Donald Trump was elected president. It kind of shocked the system here. And we haven't been able to yet find the path forward out of that shock.

And certainly, every day, every week of my time in Congress, there seems to be another shock to that system.

And the world is just a volatile place right now. We're not going through this alone as a country. You look at what's happening in Africa, there've been a number of coups in the last couple of months.

There's instability, there's volatility everywhere. Some of that's being fueled by the rise of authoritarianism, which is also, being fueled by technology.

So, there's a lot of things that are going on all at once. And the United States is certainly not immune to it.

Ken Harbaugh:

How do you process the fact that the leading contender for the presidential nomination of a major American political party becomes more powerful, more popular with every new indictment?

I mean, it suggests that all of this talk of a breaking point has it exactly backwards. This stuff just makes him stronger.

Jason Crow:

Well, I think we have to be really careful when we say it makes him stronger because what I don't think it's doing is broadening his appeal. He's not absolutely broadening his base. It's not growing.

Now, it is deepening within what already exists. I think it's making some folks more extreme, and certainly for those who have already bought into Trump, his hardcore base. These are folks who doesn't matter what you will say, it doesn't matter what he will do.

His quote that he could shoot somebody on the street in New York City and no man would think bad of it, is true with respect to some of his hardcore supporters. It just is.

It doesn't matter what this man will do, and he's done some really crazy, really dangerous stuff and continues to be, they just think it's fake news. They just think it's people coming after him.

So, that is true. So, I'm worried about a deepening and a further extremism within some of that base, but I don't see a broadening of his appeal.

Ken Harbaugh:

There are certainly authoritarians in other countries. There are fanatics committed to those authoritarian leaders. But one of the things that sets our country apart is the prevalence of firearms.

And this has been a leading cause of yours, I have to imagine, because your district includes Aurora and I want to talk about that specifically in a second.

But can you just opine for us on the toxic mix of extremism, of authoritarian tendencies, and the ubiquity of weapons of war?

Jason Crow:

Well, Ken, our relationship with firearms and kind of gun culture has changed radically in my lifetime. And I've seen this because I've had a close relationship with guns most of my life.

I had my first gun when I was 12. I started hunting when I was a young teenager. Deer, duck, rabbit. We'd go shooting all the time. I'd go hunting all the time. I'm a gun owner now. I've used guns at war. I've had them used against me, as you know, and you're familiar with that experience as well.

So, I've been very familiar with gun culture, and I've seen in that time, it radically change from this culture that you have the right to responsibly own firearms, to bear arms. And you'd have a shotgun and a hunting rifle, maybe a pistol, and you would keep that safely stored.

You'd take your hunter safety class. You had a relationship of responsibility with your weapon. There was a gravity with your firearm that you would have.

Like when you hold that gun, when you take it on a range, like there's a weight that you feel to use it responsibly to make sure it's pointed down range to comply with the safety rules.

Now, what you've seen is this fast change from people owning a few firearms to actually lower levels of gun ownership. Fewer Americans own guns than really for most of our history. Gun ownership as a percentage of the population has gone down drastically. But those who do own guns own a lot more.

So, it's gone from an average one or two guns per American, where over half of America owned guns to a lot less than that. But now, people own 10, 11, 12, 13 guns. So, you have to ask yourself what's going on?

And the nature of those guns have changed to assault weapons, to weapons with all the kit that we would use to carry in the military.

So, there is this sense that the relationship with guns have changed, and it's become more of this relationship around I can do whatever I want, I can own whatever I want.

I can be irresponsible with them. I can put my assault weapon around my back and walk around open carry and flaunt it and make other people feel uncomfortable and intrude upon their space and make other folks very uncomfortable.

It's just this idea of intruding and asserting yourself publicly as opposed to a kind of a deep responsibility that you feel and a responsibility to others.

So, it's really up in 180-degree change, which I think has largely been driven by the gun lobby, frankly.

Ken Harbaugh:

Indeed. We had Ryan Busse on, former top level gun executive who talked about that shift not long ago. I mean, in recent memory, gun shows in this country found the tactical aesthetic like anathema. They thought it was silly and irresponsible and made a mockery of it.

And now, that is the leading driver of sales in the gun industries, down to tactical underwear. I mean, it has become a lifestyle thing. Not a sporting thing, not a self-defense thing. It has become a projection, right?

Jason Crow:

And it is to make money. I mean, I think the gun industry realized that gun ownership is going down. And they had to come up with a different business model, a different way to brand gun ownership.

And you're right, it's a lifestyle issue. And it's about the tattoos, and the food, and the energy drinks, and the clothes that you wear. It's the whole. And it's all fairly new in the last few decades.

Ken Harbaugh:

Black Rifle Coffee. If you're morning coffee is tied to projecting your aggression through the AR 15 logo, something's wrong.

One of the things that I really lament about being lost in the conversation about gun violence is the long-term impact on the communities and the people affected by it.

We have tried to fight that here. We've had my good friend, Fred Guttenberg on the show often to talk about the long-term effects of gun violence. He of course, lost his child, Jamie, at Parkland.

When you talk to the victims of the Aurora shooting, when you spend time in that community, what do they say to you? Because there's always another mass shooting. We're always focused on the immediate occurrence, and we don't think about the legacy.

Jason Crow:

Yeah. Well, I have the terrible distinction. It's an awful distinction of having more mass shootings in my district than any district that I'm familiar with.

Columbine happened in my district there. Aurora theater shooting happened in my district, STEM High School shooting happened in my district, Arapahoe High School shooting happened in my district. And those are mass shootings.

We always don't talk about the fact that two thirds of gun deaths are actually self-inflicted. These are suicides. And of course, all the street crime and shootings that happen all the time as well.

So, it's been awful. It's been an awful history from my community, there's no doubt about it. And what I see is there's actually this mass community trauma that my community has suffered that sticks with us.

When I go around to schools, I have kids that say they're afraid to go to school now, they say that when they're at a pep rally and a balloon pops, they jump out of their seat.

I mean, literally, a mass trauma within our community as a result of these incidents and all of these shootings. And that is what we are raising our children in right now. We've lost this innocence and we've allowed our children to be deprived of a normal childhood.

When you and me were growing up in the ‘80s, we didn't think about this stuff. We had other things and issues to think about, but we sure as hell weren't thinking about, “What am I going to do if a mass shooting happens? How am I going to escape from my math room?”

So, it's absurd to me that we have been told that the supposed cost of freedom is that we have to allow this mass trauma to happen to our children in our communities, BS.

There's cost of freedom. We've seen that on the beaches of Normandy. We've seen that in various battlefields around the world.

It has nothing to do with what's happening in our classrooms. And this ridiculous argument that we've been fed by the gun lobby, that somehow someone's right to own whatever they want, however they want, and do whatever they want with it is the cost of a free and safe childhood for our children. It's crazy and it really makes me mad, as you can tell.

Ken Harbaugh:

Me, too. It's heartbreaking. I had a conversation with a dad about the school year that's coming up, and he was talking about his kid was nervous about starting.

And growing up as we did, my assumption was that's nervousness about making friends or what to wear. And it was nervousness about being shot, which is insane.

Surely, you have Republican colleagues with kids in school who think about this as well. Now, I know some of them, one of them at least famously said, “I don't have to worry about it because my kids are homeschooled,” which is outrageous.

Maybe you can remind us who that was. Said it on the capital steps on camera.

But there have to be others who privately agree with you.

Jason Crow:

Yeah, there are. Right after January 6th, I had some really private conversations with some of my Republican colleagues who came to me and said, “You know what, you were right that this got out of hand. And this is what you've been saying.”

And I said, “Yeah. That's why it's important for you to stand up and do something about it, because they don't want to hear it from me.”

“They just write me off as another Democrat that's going to come at them and try to undermine their dignity and their place and attack their beloved ex-president. They want to hear it from a member of their own tribe. That's so much more powerful.”

And the response, I remember our conversation, I'm not going to say what member it was because I value those relationships and I think it's important we keep those alive.

But this individual said to me, he's like,Jason, if I stick my head out of the foxhole though, and it gets cut off, the person who's going to replace me is not going to be sitting here even having this conversation.”

And I said, “Well, maybe so, but you keeping quiet and being complicit with it, it’s going to get us there anyhow. And if political sacrifice and maybe losing your job, which a few members of courage have, Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger, and then a few others.”

“If losing your job is what your country needs you to do, to stand up and say, ‘Enough is enough. This is not okay.’ Then that's a sacrifice worth making, I think.”

We're not asking you to storm the beaches of Normandy or to give your life like so many Americans have for their country. We're just asking you to have some political courage and to take a stand. And if you lose your job, you're going to be okay. You'll find something else.

If you're sitting here in Congress, in Washington DC and you're more afraid of losing this job than you are of anything else, that says something, and you probably shouldn't be doing this work.

Ken Harbaugh:

Yeah. I've talked with a few of your colleagues about that mindset. And the members who are toughest to work with are the ones who love being a member more than anything else, Member of Congress.

And the attitude of the ones that I really respect is, we'll have to put the explicit rating on this, but a few have said to me, “I got better shit to do.” And that's in no way diminishing the job. But look, if I have to sacrifice my honor to keep this job, I got better shit to do.

Jason Crow:

Yeah. I always encourage people to ask their elected officials what is the one thing — there should be at least one, maybe there's more for some people. What is the one thing that you would do that would cost you this job? They should be able to answer that.

Ken Harbaugh:

Switching gears because I saw that you were leading this effort for decades under multiple administrations. The United States has really resisted cooperating with the International Criminal Court, the ICC.

That has very recently changed under the Biden administration as it has begun to share information with the ICC to try to someday hold Russia accountable for its horrific crimes in Ukraine.

You recently tweeted, “Russia has committed horrific crimes in Ukraine and must be held accountable. That's why I've been leading a bipartisan coalition urging POTUS to share US intel with the ICC. Thank you, President Biden.”

Tell me a little bit of the backstory and what you're hoping for there.

Jason Crow:

Yeah. So, the United States is not a party to the ICC due to our concerns that our service members overseas conducting operations, it'll be subject to the jurisdiction of a non-US court. And I understand that, I share some of those concerns.

But in this particular case, we worked really hard on a bipartisan basis. And Lindsey Graham over on the Senate actually took a lead on this. And he is a lifetime JAG officer, so he knows something about military law.

And I've been leading on it on the House side, and we've been working together, House and Senate to build a bipartisan coalition to say we passed this law last December of ‘22, that allows the United States even as a non-party to share intelligence with the ICC only with respect to Russian war crimes for accountability purposes.

Because we all believe that to help Ukraine defeat Russia and to prevent Russia's aggression writ large, that there needs to be a couple of things. Number one, they need to be defeated on the field of battle by Ukraine.

And number two, there needs to be accountability. Officers, not just Vladimir Putin, but field commanders and others have to know that if they ordered their troops to commit war crimes, that they're never going to be able to leave Russia again. That they're going to have to be there for the rest of their lives.

And even so, if Putin ever loses power and there's a change in regime, then they will risk imprisonment and accountability for these crimes.

Because accountability is so important. People need to know that if you're going to do this, you're going to have to be held accountable for it. That the rest of your life, there is that specter of accountability.

And that's how you prevent these things from happening. So, that's why accountability is so important to me.

So, we passed this law, that allows the sharing. We sent letters. I led a House letter, Lindsey Graham led a Senate letter to the president a couple of months ago saying we passed the law. We want you to use the law that we passed and actually share this intelligence.

There was a disagreement within the interagency. So, you had a situation where it was my understanding that Lloyd Austin was fighting this, but the rest of the interagency said it was fine, that it would not change precedent. This was the right thing to do.

So, it went to the president to resolve the interagency dispute. And he just last week made the decision to do it and then move forward. And it was the right move.

Ken Harbaugh:

What's your assessment of Ukraine's progress with the counter offensive and our level of support for them? Is DoD under SecDef Austin doing enough? Are our other agencies doing enough?

Jason Crow:

Well, you have the quantity piece, and then you have the quality piece. The quantity is unbelievable. Since World War II, we've never shipped as much into Europe for, what is it? Grinding war of attrition in 80 years.

And so, the fact that we've created this logistical supply chain in a matter of weeks and months, in the early phases of the war, we've expanded it. And as much as we're sending there is truly unbelievable.

And I give the president a ton of credit. I give Secretary Austin for leading the Ukraine Defense contact group, a ton of credit.

What I would like to see more of though, is some of these more advanced systems. That's why I've been pushing the administration to provide the F-16s earlier, to provide attack on at least the longer range rockets, to expedite the shipment of the Abrams tanks, to provide more than the 31 tanks that we've already agreed to, and to provide them faster.

You can't tell me, number one … and I've driven around military posts, army posts, and seen these huge yards filled with Abrams tanks. We're probably not going to use those.

Ken Harbaugh:

And if we are, we're going to use them against Russia, right?

Jason Crow:

Yeah, exactly. If we are, it's going to be in Russia for a NATO defense. I'm like, “Guess what? There's a war in Europe now, against Russia, so let's ship the tanks.”

And they were in Ohio getting retrofitted for the last four or five months.

And in World War II, 80 years ago, we were building a liberty ship a week. Every week there was a Liberty ship, sometimes more than one ship being launched into the water to move ships and equipment. You can't tell me that 80 years later, we can't retrofit a tank quicker than four months.

So, I want things to be moved a little faster, and I'd like a little bit broader supply of armor, frankly, as well as F-16s. And had we got the F-16 thing going earlier in the year, I think they would already be flying in support of the counteroffensive.

So, that said, the other part of your question was, how is it going? I think it's going pretty well actually. Everyone's like, “Well, it's going slow, it’s tilted, it's a failed counter offensive.”

It's not a failed counteroffensive. The Ukrainians are actually doing exactly what they should be doing. They're probing, they're shaping, they're methodically working their way through the defensive lines, and they're preserving their force.

They're not just throwing tanks in minefields which they shouldn't do. They should preserve their resources. They're trying to push through those defensive lines, those minefields in a methodical way. And once they break through, then they can exploit those gaps.

So, those armchair generals who are sitting in a home saying, “Ukraine should move faster.” I always tell them, “You move faster. You drive a tank through that minefield. Don't tell them to do it. They're doing it the way they should be doing it.”

Ken Harbaugh:

Right. Well, Jason, thank you as always, for your insight and wisdom. Great having you on the show.

Jason Crow:

Yeah, Ken, good to be with you.

Ken Harbaugh:

Thanks again to Jason for joining me.

Thanks for listening to Burn the Boats. If you have any feedback, please email the team at [email protected]. We're always looking to improve the show.

For updates and more, follow us on Twitter @Team_Harbaugh. And if you enjoyed this episode, don't forget to rate and review.

Burn the Boats is a production of Evergreen Podcasts. Our producer is Declan Rohrs and Sean Rule-Hoffman is our audio engineer. Special thanks to Evergreen executive producers, Joan Andrews, Michael DeAloia, and David Moss.

I'm Ken Harbaugh, and this is Burn the Boats, a podcast about big decisions.


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