Skip to comments.Gingrich says war on terror "phony"
Posted on 08/03/2007 12:48:30 PM PDT by AfterManyASummer
Gingrich says war on terror 'phony' Former speaker says energy independence is key
By BOB DEANS The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Published on: 08/03/07
Washington 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. More Nation/World news
"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. He was unstinting in his criticism of his fellow Republicans, in the White House and on Capitol Hill.
"We were in charge for six years," he said, referring to the period between 2001 and early 2007, when the GOP controlled the White House and both houses of Congress. "I don't think you can look and say that was a great success."
Thursday's National Conservative Student Conference was sponsored by the Young America's Foundation, a Herndon, Va.-based group founded in the 1960s as a political counterpoint to the left-leaning activists who coalesced around the civil rights movement and opposition to the Vietnam War.
Gingrich retains strong support among conservatives and ranked fifth among possible Republican nominees behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, with the backing of 7 percent of those queried in a ABC News/Washington Post poll taken last week. The poll surveyed 403 Republicans and Republican-leaning adults nationwide and has a 5 percentage-point margin of error.
"I believe we need to find leaders who are prepared to tell the truth ... about the failures of the performance of Republicans ... failed bureaucracies ... about how dangerous the world is," he said when asked what kind of Republican he would back for president.
Gingrich has been promoting a weekly political newsletter he calls "Winning the Future." It's available free to those who leave their e-mail addresses at
.net, one of several Web sites he is connected with or operating. Gingrich began writing the newsletter in April 2006, and it now goes out to 311,000 readers each week, said Gingrich spokesman Rick Tyler.
At another Web site www.americansolutions
.com Gingrich is running a virtual political salon, with video clips, organizational information and contacts revolving around his conservative vision for the country's future. It asks supporters to join in an Internet "Solutions Day" on Sept. 27, the anniversary of Gingrich's so-called Contract With America, a slate of conservative policies he led through Congress as speaker of the House a decade and a half ago.
"What I'm trying to start is a new dialogue that is evidence-based," Gingrich said Thursday. "It doesn't start from the right wing, it doesn't start from the left wing," he said, but is an effort to get politicians and voters to "look honestly at the evidence of what isn't working and tell us how to change it."
Gingrich was interrupted with applause once, when he called for an end to the biting partisanship critics say has polarized national politics and paralyzed the workings of government.
"We have got to get past this partisan baloney, where I'm not allowed to say anything good about Hillary Clinton because 'I'm not a loyal Republican,' and she's not allowed to say anything good about me, or she's not a 'loyal' Democrat. What a stupid way to run a country."
He reserved his most pointed criticism for the administration's handling of the global campaign against terrorist groups.
"We've been engaged in a phony war," said Gingrich. "The only people who have been taking this seriously are the combat military."
His remarks seemed to reflect, in part, the findings of a National Intelligence Estimate made public last month.
In the estimate, the U.S. intelligence community concluded that six years of U.S. efforts to degrade the al-Qaida terrorist group had left the organization constrained but still potent, having "protected or regenerated" the capability to attack the United States in ways that have left the country "in a heightened threat environment."
"We have to take this seriously," said Gingrich.
"We used to be a serious country. When we got attacked at Pearl Harbor, we took on Imperial Japan, Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany," he said, referring to World War II.
"We beat all three in less than four years. We're about to enter the seventh year of this phony war against ... [terrorist groups], and we're losing."
Gingrich said he would lay out in a Sept. 10 speech what a successful U.S. approach to this threat would have looked like over the past six years.
"First of all, we have to have a national energy strategy, which basically says to the Saudis, 'We're not going to rely on you,' " he said.
The United States imports about 14 million barrels of oil a day, making up two-thirds of its total consumption.
Yeah, I’m starting to lose patience with Newt. Looks like he’s banging whatever drum he thinks he needs to bang to get attention on him.
Newt Gingrich is really losing it. What a shame.
“weaning the country from its reliance on imported oil”
That much is fairly obvious. But the environuts thwart every possible option.
a big fan ? seriously ?
wasn’t it just a short time ago that newt was appearing in some sort of sham environmental debate vs. kerry ?
total sellout, but either way, gingrich’s days of relevancy are over, whether he runs for anything, and thank god imho.
gingrich = rino
I'm not, and crap like this is why. Newt may or may not actually believe what he says, but it's highly unlikely that the statement has much more than a political intent.
His real purpose in saying it is probably pretty cynical: trying to stake out particular patches of rhetorical territory for himself, in preparation for his (sure-to-fail) presidential run.
Put another way, he's triangulating in the same way that Bill Clinton did: place himself left of most Republicans with regard to the WOT, so that come primary time he might pull in a lot of the more moderate votes.
Won't work, of course: Gingrich has more negatives than the Walgreens photo department.
Newt is a very bright man, who did great things with the Contract with America. He was not especially effective as Majority Leader and let his personal weaknesses (we all have them) undermine his effectiveness and political career. He can render valuable service with reasoned analysis, but his time has come and gone as an elected official, and ranting like this will only distance him from the people he should be trying to influence. He seems to have had one bad judgment call after another for quite a while now.
So does General Gingrich reads the latest intell???
Newt’s evolved into being a frickin idiot. Looks like he’s been borged, right along with Bush and others that formerly “were” conservatives.
To put it very, very mildly. Newt was a disaster as Speaker. His mistakes brought Bill Clinton back from the political dead.
Forgot about that, but it’s pretty despicable.
That said, I still respect him for the Contract with America and for having guts as Speaker in the 90s.
When I was young, I used to think our elders, especially those who held office, must be smart or they wouldn't be where they are. Now I know that those who are smart enough to hold office are too smart to run for election.
I share both your appreciation of Newt ~and~ your reaction to his language.
As Newt himself might say, he uses the most "stupidly hyperbolic language" on the planet.
(He knows he is the smartest kid in the class but does not have the self-control to discipline himself to the demeanor required of a leader rather than a geek.)
I must agree about Newt, he seem to be becoming the political version of Paris Hilton, in that he will do anything and say anything to get his name in the paper.
Et tu, Newt?
It’s the beginning of a long war Newt, and we have witnessed the greatest success in the history of the armed forces (with coalition help) of The United States of America.
What is he smoking?