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"America Is in a Real War" By Hon. Newt Gingrich

Reviewed by James L. Abrahamson, contributing editor

Text of the speech reviewed for this article is at:

In a speech to the Jewish National Fund at the University of Georgia's Selig Center, former Speaker of the House and onetime professor of history Newt Gingrich described America's present security situation as "very stark," though not yet "desperate." He noted that violent jihadis operating out of Waziristan in northwest Pakistan not only sustain the effort to overthrow Afghanistan's elected government but also dispatch terrorists to Britain and threaten the stability of Pakistan--a Muslim government that already possesses the nuclear weapons that Iran seeks. The oil wealth that finances worldwide jihadi terrorism flows through Saudi Arabia--an ostensible ally that in Pakistan uses some of that same wealth to establish hate-preaching Wahhabi mosques and madrasas, and in the United States creates Arab studies institutes whose Ph.D.s "cheerfully ... say whatever it is that makes their funders happy." Out of hatred for the Bush administration or fear of attack, Hollywood produces films that distort the truth by depicting billionaires or CIA agents--not terrorists--as the enemy. Though General Petraeus openly tells Congress "Iranians are waging a proxy war against Americans in Iraq," the United States and the West fail to respond vigorously against a country busily enriching bomb-quality uranium and already identified as the world's leading exporter of terrorism.

Despite such dire straits, Gingrich thinks Americans show little eagerness to hear, know, and act upon the truth: the United States is in a "real war," a "total war." Only one side--the jihadis or the West--will win. Most of Islam will sit on the sidelines until the winner becomes clear. The United States currently pursues an inadequate strategy. Yet, if the president acknowledged these facts, half the country would refuse to listen. The policies of the political left are even worse, though they seem to have much support despite the fact that Americans tell pollsters that they regard al Qaeda as an enemy (89%), and want to defend the United States and its allies (85%) and defeat their enemies (75%)--all presumably without making any personal sacrifice. Unless Americans abandon their tolerance for lies, demand to know the truth, and make the needed effort to win, Gingrich told his audience, they must learn "to live a life of cowardice" as they sleepwalk their way "into a nightmare."

The choice, according to Gingrich, is not between "cowardice or total war." The United States might, for example, promote a change in the Iranian government by taking down--covertly, quietly, without overt war--that country's single refinery which produces sixty percent of its gasoline. Our navy could thereafter intercept tankers attempting to deliver refined oil products to Iran. If Iranians want to continue killing Americans in Iraq, Gingrich would force them to "walk to the battlefield." The United States must not await a nuclear holocaust in American cities, he warns, but instead must reshape the international situation before Iran gains the power to create one.-

Reviewed by James L. Abrahamson
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Author:Abrahamson, James L.
Publication:American Diplomacy
Article Type:Critical essay
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 11, 2008
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