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Winning the Future

A 21st Century Contract with America

by Newt Gingrich

Hardcover, 243 pages, Perseus Distribution Services, List Price: $27.95 |


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A 21st Century Contract with America
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Book Summary

The former Speaker of the House shares his vision for America, offering a call to action that explains how to correct the mistakes made in the War on Terror, reduce big government, restore American competitiveness, and defeat the liberal war on God.

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Note: Book excerpts are provided by the publisher and may contain language some find offensive.

Excerpt: Winning The Future

Winning the Future

Regnery Publishing, Inc.

Copyright © 2005 Newt Gingrich
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-89526-042-5

Chapter One

Will We Survive?

* * *

"It is the eternal struggle between two principles, right and wrong, throughout the world." President Abraham Lincoln Debate at Alton, Illinois, October 15, 1858

Imagine the morning after an attack even more devastating than 9/11. It could happen. The threats are real and could literally destroy our country.

There are weapons of mass destruction, weapons of mass murder, and weapons of mass disruption-nuclear is first, biological and chemical is second, electromagnetic pulse (EMP) is third. All are real, and we are lulled into complacency by the fact that none is currently being used. But if any of them were used, the effect could be catastrophic.

Despite spending billions of dollars on our national security, we are still unprepared. Our intelligence capabilities are-at most-one-third the size we need. Consider that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has hundreds of thousands of hours of terrorist intercepts that have not been heard, much less analyzed, because there are not enough translators. Our intelligence community has been studying North Korea for nearly fifty years, yet we know almost nothing about the country. Our civilian national security bureaucracy is so weak, so slow, and so inefficient that only 5 percent of the $18 billion appropriated to help rebuild Iraq has been spent. Even our battle-proven military remains woefully unprepared for fighting the wars of the future.

America's lack of preparation, however, should not discourage us or even surprise us. Americans have had to rethink and reorganize for every major national security challenge in our history. We must recognize that we have three objectives to achieve.

First, we must defeat the radical wing of Islam as represented by al Qaeda and its affiliated terrorist groups, the Wahabbi sect, and terror-sponsoring Islamic states. Second, we must contain powers that could threaten us, including China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, and Pakistan-all of which have weapons of mass destruction. And finally, we must create a broad alliance of countries willing to defend peace and freedom.

As Ronald Reagan won the Cold War, so too can we win this war, as I'll show, by modeling and modifying President Reagan's strategy.

The Threat

The simple fact is: We have been warned. If anyone thinks terrorists don't threaten us, the question is: What would it take to convince you? If nearly 3,000 Americans dying on American soil in one day does not frighten you, what would?

The sobering reality is that terrorist leaders are determined to kill Americans and destroy our government and culture.

Consider the religious fatwa titled "A Treatise on the Legal Status of Using Weapons of Mass Destruction Against Infidels" that Osama bin Laden secured from Shaykh Nasir bin Hamd al-Fahd, a young and prominent Saudi cleric justifying the use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) against Americans, in May 2003:

Anyone who considers America's aggressions against Muslims and their lands during the past decades will conclude that striking her is permissible on the basis of the rule of treating one as one has been treated. No other argument need be mentioned. Some brothers have totaled the number of Muslims killed directly or indirectly by their weapons and come up with a figure of nearly ten million.... If a bomb that killed ten million of them and burned as much of their land as they have burned Muslim land was dropped on them, it would be permissible, with no need to mention any other argument. We might need other arguments if we wanted to annihilate more than this number of them.

Other al Qaeda leaders are equally explicit about killing many Americans. This statement is from Ayman Al-Zawahir: "We have not reached parity with them. We have the right to kill four million Americans-two million of them children-and to exile twice as many and wound and cripple hundreds of thousands. Furthermore, it is our right to fight them with chemical and biological weapons, so as to afflict them with the fatal maladies that have afflicted the Muslims because of the [Americans'] chemical and biological weapons."

The threat of mass deaths at times becomes a threat of extermination. As Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi stated in June 2003: "Not a single Jew will remain in Palestine."

In the 9/11 Commission Report, the commissioners concluded: "Bin Laden and Islamist terrorists mean exactly what they say: To them America is the font of all evil, the "head of the snake, and it must be converted or destroyed."

Americans cannot negotiate with al Qaeda. We have no common ground with terrorists. Al Qaeda and its affiliates can only be destroyed. We are in a war of survival-and we could lose that war. Our vulnerability is neither exaggerated nor a paranoid fantasy.

If these terrorists acquired nuclear weapons, they would use them against our cities. If they acquired biological weapons, they could kill millions. (One Nobel Prize winner told me that an engineered biological attack could kill 140 million Americans. Even a modest biological outbreak, like the 1918 flu pandemic, killed more people in one year than died in the four years of World War I.) And if the terrorists had chemical weapons, they could kill thousands.

Another threat can be from an electromagnetic pulse weapon-an explosion that could short-circuit our electrical systems. According to the commission of physicists assigned to study it, an EMP attack could collapse America into an 1860 world without electricity and reduce our advantage in military technology to zero. China and Russia have both considered limited nuclear attack options that, unlike their Cold War plans, employ EMP as the primary or sole means of attack. As recently as May 1999, during the NATO bombing of the former Yugoslavia, high-ranking members of the Russian Duma (Russia's parliament), meeting with a U.S. congressional delegation to discuss the Balkans conflict, raised the specter of a Russian EMP attack that would paralyze America.

There are conventional threats too. Terrorists could launch a campaign of bombings and sniper attacks in the United States. The next time you watch a bombing in Israel, an attack in Russia, or violence in Iraq, know that it could happen here.

The Hart-Rudman Commission, a bipartisan commission that spent three years studying American security, warned in March 2001 that the primary threat to the United States was that within the next twenty-five years, a weapon of mass destruction-nuclear, chemical, or biological-could be used against American cities, probably from a terrorist attack. As early as September 1999, the commission warned: "States, terrorists, and other disaffected groups will acquire weapons of mass destruction and mass disruption, and some will use them. Americans will likely die on American soil, possibly in large numbers."

The tragic and shocking events of 9/11 were actually of a much smaller scale than the dangers warned of by the Hart-Rudman Commission. The commission stated: "The greatest danger of another catastrophic attack in the United States will materialize if the world's most dangerous terrorists acquire the world's most dangerous weapons ... al Qaeda has tried to acquire or make nuclear weapons for at least ten years ... we mentioned officials worriedly discussing, in 1998, reports that Bin Laden's associates thought their leader was intent on carrying out a 'Hiroshima.' These ambitions continue."

Thomas H. Kean, the chairman of the 9/11 Commission, said shortly after releasing the report: "Time is not on our side." Every day, terrorists try to acquire weapons of mass destruction and weapons of mass murder. Iran and North Korea continue to develop their nuclear and other weapons programs. There is constant danger of a coup by radical Islamists in nuclear-armed Pakistan.

And the greatest danger for us in meeting this threat is the weakness of our intelligence services. We do not have any significant intelligence on the enemy's plans, networks, and troop strength. We have not even been able to find Osama bin Laden.

Terrorism Is an Act of War

The Clinton administration consistently dealt with terrorism as a criminal matter. President George W. Bush recognized immediately that the 9/11 attack was an act of war and not the scene of a crime. He responded with military force-not detectives.

President Bush told us the truth: It will be a hard campaign, a long war, and we will suffer setbacks on occasion. "This war will not be like the war against Iraq a decade ago, with a decisive liberation of territory and a swift conclusion.... 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."

Even after the initial military victory in Iraq, President Bush reiterated:

We have difficult work to do in Iraq. We're bringing order to parts of that country that remain dangerous. We're pursuing and finding leaders of the old regime, who will be held to account for their crimes. We've begun the search for hidden chemical and biological weapons and already know of hundreds of sites that will be investigated. We're helping to rebuild Iraq, where the dictator built palaces for himself, instead of hospitals and schools. And we will stand with the new leaders of Iraq as they establish a government of, by, and for the Iraqi people.... The transition from dictatorship to democracy will take time, but it is worth every effort. Our coalition will stay until our work is done. Then we will leave, and we will leave behind a free Iraq.

Transformational wars always take time, and always mean overcoming setbacks: It took George Washington from 1776 to 1783 to win the Revolutionary War. It took Abraham Lincoln four years (1861 to 1864) to finally hit on a winning strategy to win the Civil War in 1865. And the Cold War lasted more than forty years.

We Must Know Our Enemies

To win the war we must know our enemy.

We have two immediate opponents, the irreconcilable wing of Islam and the rogue dictatorships that empower the radical Islamists. The irreconcilable wing of Islam considers America the great Satan. The Islamists cannot reconcile with a secular system of laws. They cannot tolerate a West that maintains a presence in the Arabian Gulf or that would defend Israel's right to survive as a country. They cannot tolerate freedom of speech, freedom of religion, or freedom for women. In short, their demands are irreconcilable with the modern world.

Politically correct secularists cannot understand that we are participants in a global civil war between the modernizing and irreconcilable wings of Islam. While the irreconcilable wing must be fought militarily, this is also a cultural, political, and economic war (as was the Cold War). This war is not primarily about terrorism, it is about an Islamist insurgency against the modern world.

A reasonable estimate would be that this war will last until 2070 (the Soviet Union lasted from 1917 to 1991, or seventy-four years). An optimist could make a case for winning by 2025 or 2030. Alternatively this conflict could be a fact of life for several centuries (as the Catholic-Protestant wars were during the Reformation and Counter Reformation).

Because secular post-modern analysts refuse to take religion seriously, we describe "suicide bombers" while our opponents describe "martyrs." We see them as psychologically deranged where they see themselves as dedicated to God. We focus on body counts while our opponents see their dead as symbols for recruitment. We focus on weeks and months while our opponents patiently focus on decades and generations. We think of trouble spots while they think of global jihad. We are in a total mismatch of planning and understanding.

We are hunting down al Qaeda (a loose grouping of 3,000 to 5,000 people) while our opponents are vastly larger. As one counter-terrorism analyst suggested to me "about the time we wipe out al Qaeda there will be five to ten new organizations of equal or greater size." We can reasonably guess that about 3 to 4 percent of the 1.3 billion Muslims on the planet are potential terrorist recruits-a pool of 39 to 52 million young men. There might be more than 10,000 potential recruits for every current member of al Qaeda.

Virtually every expert believes the number of militants available to the Irreconcilables is growing much faster than we are killing them. We have no effective communication counter-strategy to the television stations like Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya that serve as multimillion (maybe multibillion) dollar force multipliers for the insurgency. Consider the tiny cost bin Laden pays for an audio tape that these stations broadcast to more than a third of the Arab world at no cost to al Qaeda.

The challenge of these potentially violent Irreconcilables is compounded by what George Tenet, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, described as the Gray World.

The Gray World

Even small terrorist organizations can have global reach through the global criminal system of the Gray World: illegal narcotics and drug-dealing, illegal transportation across borders, international arms dealers, traditional international crime, and people smuggling.

Every year at least 800,000 slaves-mainly from Eastern Europe, Asia, and Africa-are smuggled into other countries, including democracies like Holland and the United States. About 90 percent of these slaves are women, many are children, and most are sold for sexual purposes. A system that can smuggle slaves can also smuggle terrorists.

This Gray World is made even more dangerous by the fact that it can produce income for the terrorist networks. The dramatic increase in heroin production in Afghanistan is a major threat to the pro-Western government in Kabul. In 2004, heroin producers were probably earning as much foreign currency as the Kharzai regime. It is likely over the next few years that Afghan heroin processors will increase their purchasing power and technological reach much faster than the bureaucracy in Kabul. Unchecked, this Gray World could become a major threat to the efforts to create a free, modern Afghanistan.

There is another complication arising from the Gray World. As international criminals of all types become wealthier and more sophisticated, they can corrupt law enforcement, politicians, and to some extent an entire society. As Mark Bowden illustrated in his book Killing Pablo-about the hunt for the billionaire cocaine lord Pablo Escobar in Medellin, Colombia-Escobar's wealth made him a local folk hero and bought him protection from the police.