Gingrich Says War on Terror ‘Phony’
Newt Gingrich issued his sharpest attack yet on the Bush administration, terming the war on terror “phony.”
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Thursday the Bush administration is waging a “phony war” on terrorism, warning that the country is losing ground against the kind of Islamic radicals who attacked the country on Sept. 11, 2001. A more effective approach, said Gingrich, would begin with a national energy strategy aimed at weaning the country from its reliance on imported oil and some of the regimes that petro-dollars support.
“None of you should believe we are winning this war. There is no evidence that we are winning this war,” the ex-Georgian told a group of about 300 students attending a conference for collegiate conservatives.
Gingrich, who led the so-called Republican Revolution that won the GOP control of both houses of Congress in 1994 midterm elections, said more must be done to marshal national resources to combat Islamic militants at home and abroad and to prepare the country for future attack
To be fair, the president announced a major new energy initiative this past January, albeit one that went largely unnoticed. But, surely, it was far too little, too late.
Now, whether “energy independence” is a chimera is another question entirely. But one would think we could undertake a national mission comparable to that which put us on the moon and at least make a dent.
Further, even if we somehow managed to ween ourselves from Middle Eastern oil, it’s far from clear that our problems with the Islamist terrorists will go away. There’s the Israeli-Palestinian question and a whole bevy of other issues.
Still, even by the standards Bush himself set in his address of September 20, 2001, we have not made much progress against the terrorist enemy, or even made much of an effort to do what we said we would do:
- “Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.”
- “Our response involves far more than instant retaliation and isolated strikes. Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen. It may include dramatic strikes, visible on TV, and covert operations, secret even in success. We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place, until there is no refuge or no rest. And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. (Applause.) From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.”
Neither of those things has happened.
One presumes from the boldness of this speech that Gingrich is still toying with jumping into the presidential fray. For a variety of reasons, I can’t imagine him ever getting my support. But he might force a more serious discussion of some major issues.