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Newt Gingrich on War & Peace

Former Republican Representative (GA-6) and Speaker of the House


Deadline for Iraqi withdrawal is legislating defeat

Q [to Dodd]: Should the US set a firm deadline for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq?

DODD: I believe we should. My view is there’s a greater likelihood that the Iraqis, if they understand that this is not an open-ended process here, and that we’re willing to help train troops and help on counter-terrorism, but that come the first of April next year, our military participation is over with.

GINGRICH: I disagree deeply. There are young men and women risking their lives in uniform who are dramatically going to be demoralized by the idea of who’s the last person to die trying to win in Iraq. If we have to set a deadline, then let’s set it for next Tuesday. Let’s get out of there. Because I think the idea that we’re going to set a magic moment a year from now or 11 months from now or 10 months from now basically says we are prepared to accept defeat if the deadline’s real and we can’t find a way to get to victory, then we will have legislated defeat.

Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series May 20, 2007

Even if Iraq IS a civil war, people have won civil wars

Q [to Dodd]: If you withdrew American troops by a date certain, what happened if total civil war erupted?

DODD: I don’t think you have to ask the question hypothetically, that’s what’s going on today. We’re in the middle of a civil war.

GINGRICH: Even if you accept that this is a civil war, people have won civil wars. And the fact is, civil wars are hard. The Second World War was hard. Guadalcanal was hard. If we’d had today’s Congress during Guadalcanal, the number of people who had said beating the Japanese is too hard, let’s find a negotiated peace, would have been amazing.

DODD: I disagree with that.

GINGRICH: We are in a worldwide war, and, and I’m going to use a word that seems to be unfashionable in Washington. We need to think about winning this worldwide war. We need to understand that every week that goes by there are more young people recruited into al-Qaeda and into the various Iranian terrorist organizations.

Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series May 20, 2007

Pressure Iran to cut off Iraq, including blockading Iran

[We should] say to the Iranians, “If you don’t cut off everything you’re doing, we’ll begin to bring enormous pressure to bear with you,” if necessary, blockading the flow of gasoline into Iran, which has to import 40% of its gasoline because it only has one refinery in the entire country.
Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series May 20, 2007

Iraq & Syria are enemies--ok to talk if we understand that

GINGRICH [to Dodd]: The Baker-Hamilton Commission suggested that we engage Iran & Syria, who are our enemies in the region. The fact is the Iranians want us defeated. The Iranians are providing weapons, training and money to defeat us. This would be like saying, “Why don’t we turn to Nazi Germany to help us manage fascist Italy?”

DODD: The idea we don’t talk to the Syrians & Iranians in a moment like this, I think, is terribly naive and dangerous for the country, in my view.

GINGRICH: I’m perfectly happy to talk to Syrians and the Iranians. We’ve had a number of secretaries of state who’ve gone to Damascus, several of whom have been snubbed. Our secretary of state was snubbed the other day by the Iranians. I just want us to understand who we’re talking about. Reagan had no doubt that the Soviet Union was an evil empire. He had a clear vision of the Cold War. He said, “We win, they lose.” And he did what you’re calling for. They unraveled the Soviet empire, largely without firing a shot.

Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series May 20, 2007

French didn’t abandon colonies in 1776; even when losing

GINGRICH: Prime Minister Maliki is doing the best he can in a chaotic environment. Imagine we were the French in the 1700s, saying, “Well, should we really send aid to these guys? I mean, they’ve lost New York. George Washington’s lost all these campaign & had no major victories. I mean, why are we sending money over there? This is just bad money after good.”

DODD: Equating the American Revolution with a civil war in Iraq today, please....

GINGRICH: No, it’s exactly the same point. We went from 1775 with the first Continental Congress to 1789 when we adopted the Constitution. We had 14 years of confusion. Now, if you were advising the French in late 1776, what would you have said then?

DODD: We had people who knew what they wanted in the end. The Iraqis don’t, apparently. A survey said over 50% of Iraqis thinks it’s all right to kill Americans. If we go back to the American Revolution I doubt you would have had 51% of the Americans saying it’s all right to kill the French coming here.

Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series May 20, 2007

Iraqi Army risk their lives & take more casualties than US

Q: Why are the Iraqis apparently unwilling to step up and shed blood?

A: We have these stunningly self-destructive reporting systems. The fact is there are about 139,000 Iraqi troops who are out on patrol with Americans who are risking their lives. The fact is the Iraqis are taking a lot more casualties than we are. And there’s something wrong [when] people who are standing next to us getting killed are dishonored. We say, “Oh, that’s not really good enough.” Look at all the Iraqis who walked to vote risking death. Look at all the Iraqis who have now twice voted, including Iraqi women who were engaged. The same thing in Afghanistan where women knew the Taliban was going to target to kill them. Imagine in the Second World War, you say, “Well what have the British done recently? Why are we helping Great Britain, or what, what have the Greeks done or the Poles done or the Belgians done?”

Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series May 20, 2007

Date for withdrawal means terrorists exalt & follow us home

Q: If we set a firm date for withdrawal of US troops in Iraq, what happens?

GINGRICH: I believe we send a signal to enemies to wait patiently and destroy the country as soon as we leave. A signal to our own troops to cease patrolling and do everything you can not to be the last person killed on behalf of something that Congress has decried will be a defeat. A signal to our allies around the world that we’re unreliable. And we will have dramatically expanded the incentives of the terrorists. And I think you’ll see a dramatic upsurge. If this Congress passes a definitive end of American involvement, every enemy we have on the planet will exalt & claim it’s an enormous victory, and they will increase their recruiting. They don’t plan to stop in Baghdad. They are coming here as soon as they can get here.

DODD: We’re bogged down in a situation here where we’re losing credibility, we’re losing our moral value. The great moral reputation of the US has suffered terribly as a result of this.

Source: Meet the Press: 2007 “Meet the Candidates” series May 20, 2007

War on terror is transformational, and will take many years

Pres. Bush told us the truth: It will be a hard campaign, a long war, and we will suffer setbacks on occasion. Transformational wars always take time, and always mean overcoming setbacks: It took Washington from 1776 to 1783 to win the Revolutionary War. It took Lincoln four years to finally hit on a winning strategy to win the Civil War. And the Cold War lasted more than 40 years until the Soviet Empire collapsed. We have risen to the challenge before and we can do so again. So too can we win this war.
Source: Gingrich Communications website, www.newt.org Dec 1, 2006

Defend America & allies from those who would destroy us

We must implement policies that will ensure America’s leadership, safety, and prosperity. To achieve this future we will defend America and our allies from those who would destroy us. To achieve security, we will develop the intelligence, diplomatic, information, defense, and homeland security systems and resources for success.
Source: Gingrich Communications website, www.newt.org Dec 1, 2006

Critical of how Iraq war has been fought

The former House speaker has been critical of the war and the way it has been fought. He has said the United States should withdraw most of its troops from Iraq, leaving a small force behind similar to the postwar forces in Korea and Germany.
Source: People’s Daily (China), “Contenders views on the war” Nov 23, 2006

Iraq policy is a mess

Newt Gingrich said yesterday that the Bush administration has gone “off a cliff” in postwar Iraq and that “the White House has to get a grip on this.” In a blunt critique by a leading Republican, Gingrich said the administration has failed “to put the Iraqis at the center of this equation. The key to defeating the bad guys is having enough good guys who are Iraqis,” he said. The administration did not send enough Iraqi Americans there after the war, Gingrich said. On the main online site of the US occupying authority, he added, “up until last week you didn’t see a single Iraqi on that Web page, ”and now there is only one.“

The White House Chief of Staff defended the administration’s policy. ”I think things are going very well in a very tough situation in Iraq. Newt Gingrich is not all-knowing,“ he said.

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D,NY), who recently returned from Iraq and Afghanistan, said she agreed with Gingrich. She blamed the administration for ”miscalculation“ and ”inept planning“ in Iraq.

Source: Howard Kurtz, Washington Post, Page A07 Dec 8, 2003

Move the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

Gingrich introduced the Jerusalem Embassy Act

Corresponding House bill is H.R.1595. Became Public Law No: 104-45.
Source: Bill sponsored by 77 Senators and 78 Reps 95-S1322 on Oct 13, 1995

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Page last updated: Feb 08, 2010