Monday, August 13, 2007

Newt: Nat'l Press Club Speech Excerpt / CNN Video Link

MR. ZREMSKI: You mentioned that when it comes to the war on terror, it's really far more difficult than we seem to have believed at this point in time. Could you just elaborate on that a little bit and tell us what we can really expect in the next few years in the war on terror and what we would really have to do to win it eventually.

MR. GINGRICH: I am really deeply worried. We have two grandchildren who are 6 and 8, and I believe they are in greater danger of dying from enemy activities than we were in the Cold War. There are thousands of people across this planet who get up every morning actively seeking to destroy the United States. They are spreading their poison by sermons, by the Internet, by a variety of recruiting devices.

Tony Blair said it very well. The people who did the London subway bombings spoke English, were British citizens, lived in British housing and had jobs, and had decided, because of their relationships, that they were engaged in a war against the very country which had given them prosperity and freedom and safety.

When you see the Taliban kidnap 22 Christian South Korean missionaries who are there to help the people of Afghanistan, and nobody gets up and says this is despicable. Where in the Muslim world has there been any battle cry saying they should be released? Where has anybody gotten up to condemn? When you see a 12-year-old boy in Pakistan saw off a man's head on videotape, where is the condemnation? When you know that the schools recruit suicide bombers. When you know that the Iranian government ran a cartoon last year, for children, aimed at recruiting 10-year-olds to be suicide bombers, on public television. At what point do you have to say enough? When you're lectured by the Saudis about being respectful, when they do not allow any Jew or any Christian to practice their religion in Saudi Arabia, and we tolerate it? When do you draw a line?

Nobody in this society has yet given a speech to outline the scale of this problem, in terms of senior leadership. And yet it's obvious. We haven't won in Afghanistan and we are not currently winning. If you're not winning a guerrilla war, you're gradually losing it. We have not won in Iraq. The Israelis, despite 30 years of work, have not won in either Gaza or the West Bank. And we're sleepwalking. And we've now focused on Baghdad as though somehow we can retreat from history and find an elegant way to get out of this and it won't have terrifying consequences.

I believe we are on the edge of a precipice. The Iranians are desperately trying to build nuclear weapons, and they will use them. This is a state -- look -- read what Ahmadinejad says. He writes poems about the joy of being a martyr nation. He gets to wipe out Tel Aviv; maybe the Israelis use nuclear weapons and wipe out Tehran. He would accept that in a minute because he believes everybody in Tehran goes to heaven and everybody in Tel Aviv doesn't.
We -- it's very hard for secular elites to understand this. Religiously driven people do things that don't calculate in nice academic faculty surroundings, and they don't calculate at the State Department and they don't calculate in a rational way in most of our bureaucracies.

We are in trouble, and somebody had better start talking about it in a blunt way.

I'm going to give a speech at the American Enterprise Institute on September 10th describing the first six years, and it's driven by a simple model. I finished a novel recently called, "Pearl Harbor." You look at the Second World War, from December 7th, 1941 to August 14th 1945 is less than four years. In less than four years, we defeated Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Imperial Japan. Today it takes 23 years to add a fifth runway to the Atlanta airport. We are simply not prepared today to be a serious country.

And my fear is just -- and I gave this speech earlier. I wrote about terrorism and nuclear weapons in a book called, "Window of Opportunity," in 1984. I gave speeches in the `90s on this. I helped create with President Clinton the Hart-Rudman Commission. We warned in March of 2001 about terrorist attacks in American cities. I've been at this a long time. I am genuinely afraid that this political system will not react until we lose a city, and nobody in this country's thought about the threat to our civil liberties the morning after we decide it's that dangerous and how rapidly we will impose ruthlessness on ourselves in that kind of a world.

I think those of you who care about civil liberties had better be thinking through how we win this war before the casualties get so great that the American people voluntarily give up a lot of those liberties. (Applause.)

CNN Video

Entire "Nine Nineties in Nine Speech"


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