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.
He is a very smart, conservative man, however.
I am a reformed Fredhead (thanks to his association with Spencer Abraham), however, I think a Fred/Newt (Beauty/Brains) ticket might be the only thing that can stop Hillary.
Newt Gingrich always reminded me of Bill Clinton -- narcissistic, arrogant, and self-centered. (This seems to be a definitive feature of "boomers," especially boomer politicians of both parties.)
That's why Bill Clinton was able to thrash him so regularly -- Clinton recognized that they were kindred spirits, and knew exactly how to manipulate Gingrich, including how to steer him into making disastrous mistakes (e.g., medicare reform and the budget showdown).
I don't think Gingrich ever did recognize the similarities between himself and Clinton: his arrogance led him time and again to act as if he could beat Clinton at his own game.
Very, VERY dumb thing to say. I don't care if it's taken out of context or if it's not what he meant, Newt should know better.
Totally. I like how Newt said recently he'll get in the race if necessary. If someone else emerges who is capable of beating the Dems, he'll sit it out. But if not, he'll graciously step in and save us. As if...
He’s been going in the rino direction for two years.
Someone should show Newt the statistics of global terrorism going way down since this war began.
If I consider Iraq and Afghanistan to be simple battles in an overall effort to eliminate terrorism, then I can see his point. I disagree with him, but I see his point.
His point, in that case, is that we are not taking any long-term actions to stop terror. These are things that Freepers are already aware of:
- We are not eliminating the source of terrorist funding.
- We are not controlling our own borders.
- We are not doing anything about demographics.
But for Newt to call the war “Phoney” is, well, phoney, and meant to grab headlines. The war is real. The stakes are real. And, at present, the battlefronts are on the enemy’s soil and are consuming all of their resources.
I think Newt is bitter. He’s unelectable and bitter and pathetic.
Pretty stupid on Newt’s part - he pulled an Edwards.
“Et tu, Newt?”
Earth to Gingrich: Lay off the peanuts! You are turning into Jimmy Carter!
You are what you eat; goober boy.
“What is he smoking?”
Peanut hulls wrapped in paper recycled from Jimmy Carter’s skid marked drawers.
I've thought a lot myself about this comparison betweent the two of them...the TWO smartest kids in the class.
But Clinton was a master in his "people skills," however much we here despise him and think him phony. His act sold well enough to make him a triumphant politician.
Newt, by contrast, has a need to show off which completely swamps any instincts he has as a politican and leader. Such a waste for our side.
The author has twisted what he said, I think. I don’t think that Gingrich meant that Bush is waging a phony war. He meant that the US in general is waging a phony war. And what he meant by that is that we are pulling our punches. Not that it’s a neoconservative conspiracy.
We say we are fighting a war, and yet, we are not fighting it like we are serious. For example, we now have rules that restrict the president from intercepting terrorist phone calls from Pakistan to the US. I guaranty you that if the Japanese had called someone in the US during WWII, Roosevelt would not have required US intelligence to get a warrant before intercepting the call.
Nostradamus Newt has been itching for headlines for awhile. He said he would not run for President if Fred Thompson ran. Hence, looking for a VP or Cabinet position if FT wins (fred will run).
Now if he continues to speak out against the war, there is an Executive Order that can take away all of his assets and toss him in the brink.
“Newt is a very bright man ...”
However bright he is, he is not nearly as bright as he thinks he is.
I think Gingrich's value to the Republican Party is as a gadfly. But to penetrate the hide of an elephant requries a big stinger.
I like Gingrich, but I don't think he is electable. He speaks too frankly for the mushy middle. And the drive-by media will never treat him fairly. Do Republicans need to distance themselves from George Bush? Yes!