January 8, 2008
Light reading from Newt
This is the text of a speech he gave recently. I couldn't have expressed the disaster the West's complacency about Islamic fundamentalist is setting up in the world. Stop sending our $$ to fund this war against American and democracy around the world. Do you want to be converted to Islam? That is what the fundamentalist want. We are financing their dreams by driving petroleum powered cars and trucks. Do something now. Stop using petroleum.
[Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich delivered the following remarks to a
Jewish National Fund meeting Nov. 15 at the Selig Center:]
I just want to talk to you from the heart for a few minutes and share with
you where I think we are.
I think it is very stark. I don't think it is yet desperate, but it is very
stark. And if I had a title for today's talk, it would be sleepwalking into
a nightmare. 'Cause that's what I think we're doing.
I gave a speech at the American Enterprise Institute Sept. 10 at which I
gave an alternative history of the last six years, because the more I
thought about how mich we're failing, the more I concluded you couldn't just
nitpick individual places and talk about individual changes because it
didn't capture the scale of the disaster. And I had been particularly
impressed by a new book that came out called Troublesome Young Men, which is
a study of the younger Conservatives who opposed appeasement in the 1930's
and who took on Chamberlain. It's a very revealing book and a very powerful
book because we tend to look backwards and we tend to overstate Churchill's
role in that period. And we tend to understate what a serious and
conscientious and thoughtful effort appeasement was and that it was the
direct and deliberate policy of very powerful and very willful people. We
tend to think of it as a psychological weakness as though Chamberlain was
somehow craven. He wasn't craven. Chamberlain had a very clear vision of the
world, and he was very ruthless domestically. And they believed so deeply in
avoiding war with Germany that as late as the spring of 1940, when they are
six months or seven months into they war, they are dropping leaflets instead
of bombs on the Rohr, and they are urging the British news media not to
publish anti-German stories because they don't want to offend the German
people. And you read this book, and it makes you want to weep because,
interestingly, the younger Tories who were most opposed to appeasement were
the combat veterans of World War I, who had lost all of their friends in the
war but who understood that the failure of appeasement would result in a
worse war and that the longer you lied about reality, the greater the
And they were severely punished and isolated by Chamberlain and the
Conservative machine, and as I read that, I realized that that's really
where we are today. Our current problem is tragic. You have an
administration whose policy is inadequate being opposed by a political left
whose policy is worse, and you have nobody prepared to talk about the policy
we need. Because we are told if you are for a strong America, you should
back the Bush policy even if it's inadequate, and so you end up making an
argument in favor of something that can't work. So your choice is to defend
something which isn't working or to oppose it by being for an even weaker
policy. So this is a catastrophe for this country and a catastrophe for
freedom around the world. Because we have refused to be honest about the
scale of the problem.
Let me work back. I'm going to get to Iran since that's the topic, but I'm
going to get to it eventually.
Let me work back from Pakistan. The dictatorship in Pakistan has never had
control over Wiziristan. Not for a day. So we've now spent six years since
9/11 with a sanctuary for Al-Qaida and a sanctuary for the Taliban, and
every time we pick up people in Great Britain who are terrorists, they were
trained in Pakistan.
And our answer is to praise Musharraf because at least he's not as bad as
the others. But the truth is Musharraf has not gotten control of terrorism
in Pakistan. Musharraf doesn't have full control over his own government.
The odds are even money we're going to drift into a disastrous dictatorship
at some point in Pakistan. And while we worry about the Iranians acquiring a
nuclear weapon, the Pakistanis already have 'em. So why would you feel
secure in a world where you could presently have an Islamist dictatorship in
Pakistan with a hundred-plus nuclear weapons? What's our grand strategy for
Then you look at Afghanistan. Here's a country that's small, poor, isolated,
and in six years we have not been able to build roads, create economic
opportunity, wean people off of growing drugs. A third of the GDP is from
drugs. We haven't been able to end the sanctuary for the Taliban in Pakistan.
And I know of no case historically where you defeat a guerrilla movement if
it has a sanctuary. So the people who rely on the West are out bribed by the
criminals, outgunned by the criminals, and faced with a militant force
across the border which practiced earlier defeating the Soviet empire and
which has a time horizon of three or four generations. NATO has a time
horizon of each quarter or at best a year, facing an opponent whose time
horizon is literally three or four generations. It's a total mismatch.
Then you come to the direct threat to the United States, which is Al-Qaida.
Which, by the way, we just published polls. One of the sites I commend to
you is AmericanSolutions.com. Last Wednesday we posted six national surveys,
$428,000 worth of data. We gave it away. I found myself in the unique
position of calling Howard Dean to tell him I was giving him $400,000 worth
of polling. We have given it away to both Democrats and Republicans. It is
fundamentally different from the national news media. When asked the
question "Do we have an obligation to defend the United States and her
allies?" the answer is 85 percent yes. When asked a further question "Should
we defeat our enemies?" - it's very strong language - the answer is 75
percent yes, 75 to 16.
The complaint about Iraq is a performance complaint, not a values complaint.
When asked whether or not Al-Qaida is a threat, 89 percent of the country
says yes. And they think you have to defeat it, you can't negotiate with it.
So now let's look at Al-Qaida and the rise of Islamist terrorism.
And let's be honest: What's the primary source of money for Al-Qaida? It's
you, recirculated through Saudi Arabia. Because we have no national energy
strategy, when clearly if you really cared about liberating the United
States from the Middle East and if you really cared about the survival of
Israel, one of your highest goals would be to move to a hydrogen economy and
to eliminate petroleum as a primary source of energy.
Now that's what a serious national strategy would look like, but that would
require real change.
So then you look at Saudi Arabia. The fact that we tolerate a country saying
no Christian and no Jew can go to Mecca, and we start with the presumption
that that's true while they attack Israel for being a religious state is a
sign of our timidity, our confusion, our cowardice that is stunning.
It's not complicated. We're inviting Saudi Arabia to come to Annapolis to
talk about rights for Palestinians when nobody is saying, "Let's talk about
rights for Christians and Jews in Saudi Arabia. Let's talk about rights for
women in Saudi Arabia."
So we accept this totally one-sided definition of the world in which our
enemies can cheerfully lie on television every day, and we don't even have
the nerve to insist on the truth. We pretend their lies are reasonable. This
is a very fundamental problem. And if you look at who some of the largest
owners of some of our largest banks are today, they're Saudis.
You keep pumping billions of dollars a year into countries like Venezuela,
Iran and Saudi Arabia, and Russia, and you are presently going to have
created people who oppose you who have lots of money. And they're then going
to come back to your own country and finance, for example, Arab study
institutes whose only requirement is that they never tell the truth. So you
have all sorts of Ph.D.s who now show up quite cheerfully prepared to say
whatever it is that makes their funders happy - in the name, of course, of
academic freedom. So why wouldn't Columbia host a genocidal madman? It's
just part of political correctness. I mean, Ahmadinejad may say terrible
things, he may lock up students, he may kill journalists, he may say, "We
should wipe out Israel," he may say, "We should defeat the United States,"
but after all, what has he done that's inappropriate? What has he done that
wouldn't be repeated at a Hollywood cocktail party or a nice gathering in
And nobody says this is totally, utterly, absolutely unacceptable. Why is it
that the No. 1 threat in intelligence movies is the CIA?
I happened the other night to be watching an old movie, To Live and Die in
L.A., which is about counterfeiting. But the movie starts with a Secret
Service agent who is defending Ronald Reagan in 1985, and the person he is
defending Ronald Reagan from is a suicide bomber who is actually, overtly a
Muslim fanatic. Now, six years after 9/11, you could not get that scene made
in Hollywood today.
Just look at the movies. Why is it that the bad person is either a
right-wing crazed billionaire, or the CIA as a government agency. Go look at
the Bourne Ultimatum. Or a movie like the one that George Clooney made,
which was an absolute lie, in which it implied that if you were a reformist
Arab prince, that probably the CIA would kill you. It's a total lie. We
actually have SEALs protecting people all over the world. We actually risk
American lives protecting reformers all over the world, and yet Hollywood
can't bring itself to tell the truth, (a) because it's ideologically so
opposed to the American government and the American military, and (b),
because it's terrified that if it said something really openly, honestly
true about Muslim terrorists, they might show up in Hollywood. And you might
have somebody killed as the Dutch producer was killed.
And so we're living a life of cowardice, and in that life of cowardice we're
sleepwalking into a nightmare.
And then you come to Iran. There's a terrific book. Mark Bowden is a
remarkable writer who wrote Black Hawk Down, has enormous personal courage.
He's a Philadelphia a newspaper writer, actually got the money out of the
Philadelphia newspaper to go to Somalia to interview the Somalian side of
Black Hawk Down. It's a remarkable achievement. Tells a great story about
getting to Somalia, paying lots of cash, having the local warlord protect
him, and after about two weeks the warlord came to him and said, "You know,
we've decided that we're very uncomfortable with you being here, and you
And so he goes to the hotel, where he is the only hard-currency guest, and
says, "I've got to check out two weeks early because the warlord has told me
that he no longer will protect me." And the hotel owner, who wants to keep
his only hard-currency guest, says, "Well, why are you listening to him?
He's not the government. There is no government." And Bowden says, "Well,
what will I do?" And he says, "You hire a bigger warlord with more guns,"
which he did. But then he could only stay one week because he ran out of
But this is a guy with real courage. I mean, imagine trying to go out and be
a journalist in that kind of world, OK? So Bowden came back and wrote Guest
of the Ayatollah, which is the Iranian hostage (event) of 1979, which he
entitled, "The First Shots in Iran's War Against America." So in the Bowden
world view, the current Iranian dictatorship has been at war with the United
States since 1979. Violated international law. Every conceivable tenet of
international law was violated when they seized the American Embassy and
they seized the diplomats. Killed Americans in lebanon in the early '80s.
Killed Americans at Khobar Towers in '95 and had the Clinton administration
deliberately avoid revealing the information, as Louis Freeh, the director
of the FBI, has said publicly, because they didn't want to have to confront
the Iranian complicity.
And so you have an Iranian regime which is cited annually as the leading
supporter of state terrorism in the world. Every year the State Department
says that. It's an extraordinary act of lucidity on the part of an
institution which seeks to avoid it as often as possible.
And you have Gen. Petraeus come to the U.S. Congress and say publicly in an
open session, "The Iranians are waging a proxy war against Americans in
I was so deeply offended by this, it's hard for me to express it without
sounding irrational. I'm an Army brat. My dad served 27 years in the
infantry. The idea that an American general would come to the American
Congress, testify in public that our young men and women are being killed by
Iran, and we have done nothing, I find absolutely abhorrent.
So I'm preparing to come and talk today. I got up this morning, and a friend
had sent me yesterday's Jerusalem Post editorial, which if you haven't read,
I recommend to you. It has, for example, the following quote: "On Monday,
chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said, 'The problem of the content
of the document setting out joint principles for peace-making post-Annapolis
has not been resolved. One of the more pressing problems is the Zionist
regime's insistence on being recognized as a Jewish state. We will not agree
to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. There is no country in the world
where religious and national identities are intertwined.' "
What truly bothers me is the shallowness and the sophistry of the Western
governments, starting with our own. When a person says to you, "I don't
recognize that you exist," you don't start a negotiation. The person says,
"I literally do not recognize" and then lies to you. I mean the first thing
you say to this guy is "Terrific. Let's go visit Mecca. Since clearly
there's no other state except Israel that is based on religion, the fact
that I happen to be Christian won't bother anybody." And then he'll say,
"Well, that's different."
We tolerate this. We have created our own nightmare because we refuse to
tell the truth. We refuse to tell the truth to our politicians. Our State
Department refuses to tell the truth to the country. If the president of the
United States, and again, we're now so bitterly partisan, we're so committed
to red-vs.-blue hostility, that George W. Bush doesn't have the capacity to
give an address from the Oval Office that has any meaning for half the
country. And the anti-war left is so strong in the Democratic primary that I
think it's almost impossible for any Democratic presidential candidate to
tell the truth about the situation.
And so the Republicans are isolated and trying to defend incompetence. The
Democrats are isolated and trying to find a way to say, "I'm really for
strength as long as I can have peace, but I'd really like to have peace,
except I don't want to recognize these people who aren't very peaceful."
I just want to share with you, as a grandfather, as a citizen, as a
historian, as somebody who was once speaker of the House, this is a serious
national crisis. This is 1935 or 1936, and it's getting worse every year.
None of our enemies are confused. Our enemies don't get up each morning and
go, "Oh, gosh, I think I'll have an existential crisis of identity in which
I will try to think through whether or not we can be friends while you're
killing me." Our enemies get up every morning and say, "We hate the West. We
hate freedom." They would not allow a meeting with women in the room.
I was once interviewed by a BBC reporter, a nice young lady who was only
about as anti-American as she had to be to keep her job. Since it was a live
interview, I turned to her halfway through the interview and I said, "Do you
like your job?" And it was summertime, and she's wearing a short-sleeve
dress. And she said, "Well, yes." She was confused because I had just
reversed roles. I said, "Well, then you should hope we win." She said, "What
do you mean?" And I said, "Well, if the enemy wins, you won 't be allowed to
be on television."
I don't know how to explain it any simpler than that.
Now what do we need?
We need first of all to recognize this is a real war. Our enemies are
peaceful when they're weak, are ruthless when they're strong, demand mercy
when they're losing, show no mercy when they're winning. They understand
exactly what this is, and anybody who reads Sun Tzu will understand exactly
what we're living through. This is a total war. One side is going to win.
One side is going to lose. You'll be able to tell who won and who lost by
who's still standing. Most of Islam is not in this war, but most of Islam
isn't going to stop this war. They're just going to sit to one side and tell
you how sorry they are that this happened. We had better design grand
strategies that are radically bigger and radically tougher and radically
more honest than anything currently going on, and that includes winning the
argument in Europe , and it includes winning the argument in the rest of the
world. And it includes being very clear, and I'll just give you one simple
example because we're now muscle-bound by our own inability to talk
Iran produces 60 percent of its own gasoline. It produces lots of crude oil
but only has one refinery. It imports 40 percent of its gasoline. The entire
60 percent is produced at one huge refinery.
In 1981, Ronald Reagan decided to break the Soviet empire. He was asked
what's your vision of the Cold War. He said, "Four words: We win; they
lose." He was clearly seen by The New York Times as an out-of-touch,
reactionary, right-wing cowboy from California who had no idea what was
going on in the world. And 11 years later the Soviet Union disappeared, but
obviously that had nothing to do with Reagan because that would have meant
he was right. So it's just a random accident the Soviet Union disappeared.
Part of the war we waged on the Soviet Union involved their natural gas
supply because we wanted to cut off their hard currency. The Soviets were
desperate to get better equipment for their pipeline. We managed to sell
them through third parties very, very sophisticated American pipeline
equipment, which they were thrilled to buy and thought they had pulled off a
huge coup. Now we weren't playing fair. We did not tell them that the
equipment was designed to blow up. One day in 1982, there was an explosion
in Siberia so large that the initial reflection on the satellites looked
like there was a tactical nuclear weapon. One part of the White House was
genuinely worried, and the other part of the White House had to calm them
down. They said, "No, no, that's our equipment blowing up."
In the 28 years since the Iranians declared war on us, in the six years
since 9/11, in the months since Gen. Petraeus publicly said they are killing
young Americans, we have not been able to figure out how to take down one
refinery. Covertly, quietly, without overt war. And we have not been able to
figure out how to use the most powerful navy in the world to simply stop the
tankers and say, "Look, you want to kill young Americans, you're going to
walk to the battlefield, but you're not going to ride in the car because
you're not going to have any gasoline."
We don't have to be stupid. The choice is not cowardice or total war. Reagan
unlocked Poland without firing a shot in an alliance with the pope, with the
labor unions and with the British. We have every possibility if we're
prepared to be honest to shape the world. It'll be a very big project. It's
much closer to World War II than it is to anything we've tried recently. It
will require real effort, real intensity and real determination. We're
either going to do it now, while we're still extraordinarily powerful, or
we're going to do it later under much more desperate circumstances after
we've lost several cities.
We had better take this seriously because we are not very many mistakes away
from a second Holocaust. Three nuclear weapons is a second Holocaust. Our
enemies would like to get those weapons as soon as they can, and they
promise to use them as soon as they can.
I suggest we defeat our enemies and create a different situation long before
they have that power.
Posted by Martin at January 8, 2008 2:40 AM
TrackBack URL for this entry:
Post a comment
Thanks for signing in, . Now you can comment. (sign out)(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)