Newt Gingrich on Homeland Security
Former Republican Representative (GA-6) and Speaker of the House
We live in a world where there are weapons capable of ending civilization as we know it. And we need to be prepared in a very militant and aggressive way to defend America from having a catastrophic disaster of the first order.
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, & troop strength.
Second, we must contain powers that could threaten us, including China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, & Pakistan--all of which have weapons of mass destruction.
The greatest threat of rogue dictatorships, like Iran or North Korea, is that they will sell weapons of mass destruction. While North Korea--with nuclear, chemical, & biological weapons--is a big threat to South Korea & Japan, it is a very distant threat to the US. But an Iran or a North Korea willing to sell nuclear and biological weapons to terrorists is very dangerous to America.
But I didn't think it was good government to keep signing up for these ridiculous expenditures. Most ridiculous of all, I came to think, was the development of the B-2 stealth bomber. At anywhere from $1 billion to $2 billion per plane, it seemed a colossal misuse of taxpayer monies.
And we weren't talking about just one B-2. Initially, there was to be a squadron of 132 of these bombers, a number that was whittled down to 75 and eventually to 20, although that figure remained open for discussion.
At one point, Dick Cheney made a deal with me to freeze the number of planes o order at 20, in exchange for my agreeing to back down in my fight, which Newt Gingrich and company could then take as my grudging support. We even shook hands on it, and yet a year or so later Cheney was out there thumping for 40.
A: 1) You would empower General Petraeus. You’d pass the supplemental immediately. You’d give him the money. 2) You would encourage the Iraqis to triple the size of their regular army. 3) You would encourage the development of a military tribunal system to lock people up the way Abraham Lincoln would’ve done it. 4) You would establish a nationwide ID card with biometrics so you can actually track everybody in the country. 5) You would make sure that the State Department actually staffed the embassy with people in favor of winning the war and you actually had your fully equipped intelligence and economic development teams. 6) Bring enormous pressure to bear on Iran to cut off everything [assisting with the Iraqi insurgency]. So, we ought to do what it takes to win, not tolerate legislating defeat.
Biological threats for which we have no rapid diagnostic tests & no drug treatments are so great that we should consider the preparation of a biological defensive system the highest priority in the American national security system and the most important
Over the years, I've heard Newt Gingrich say many times that he wishes he had volunteered. Whatever his feelings were in the middle of the 1960s--and if he was like most young men in his age group they changed more than once--Gingrich never was at risk of being inducted. The accusations of draft-dodging by his political foes ring hollow. And comparisons with Bill Clinton, who was consumed by finding the least politically damaging way to avoid service, are an exercise in apples and oranges.
Amid the coverage of the comments, it was next to impossible to find a news story on the effects of extended field duty on female combatants. And it was impossible not to hear Rep. Pat Schroeder lampooning him by suggesting that no men she knew had a desire to hunt giraffes.
"Occasionally you get taken grotesquely out of context, but that's fine," Gingrich said. "It is part of the process of getting the message out."
Gingrich developed the "cheap hawk solution": the nuclear age required a quick-response, mobile military; and such a force could be as effective as the Navy, with its expensive aircraft carriers, and the Army, with its huge, heavily armed divisions.
Gingrich allied himself with the analysts who were developing the fast-attack tenets of maneuver warfare called the AirLand Battle Doctrine. The "cheap hawk solution" became an arrow in the Republican quiver, as it staved off Democratic attempts to cut the Pentagon budget. "Don't try to reform the current system," he said of Pentagon procurement in early 1995. "It is hopeless. It is impossible." The Speaker views many current Pentagon policies as part of the antiquated industrial age.
[As part of the Contract with America, within 100 days we pledge to bring to the House Floor the following bill]:
The National Security Restoration Act:
No US troops under UN command, and restoration of the essential parts of our national security funding to strengthen our national defense and maintain our credibility around the world.
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