Seldom has a day gone past this summer without a story on ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant), formerly al Qaeda in Iraq, or the Israeli operations in Gaza, making the headlines. That means that seldom has a day has gone past that I’ve not been reminded of these amazingly insightful comments by the former Speaker of the House in 2007. I am certain that once you read them.. you will never forget them either.
“I am really deeply worried. We have two grandchildren who are six and eight, 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.” ~ Newt Gingrich, 2007