Gingrich has a long and fascinating post entitled "What If? An Alternative History of the War since 9/11" up on his web site. I recommend reading through the entire thing as it is very good and consolidates several important ideas into a coherent vision of the Islamic problem facing the U.S. and the rest of the free world.
Six years after the attack of 9/11/2001, the difference between the debate we ought to be having and the debate we are having is staggering.
The gap between where we are and where we should be is so large that it seems almost impossible to explain why the Petraeus Report, while important, will be a wholly inadequate explanation as to what is required to defeat our enemies and secure America and her allies.
Instead it seems more effective to describe this dramatic gap today by imagining how things might have turned out differently had we made different decisions for our national security starting the night of September 11, 2001. What if we had begun a great national dialogue about the nature of our enemies, the seriousness of their intent, the scale of their capabilities, and the requirements of victory over them? What might then have happened?
Good questions. Gringrich goes on to answer those questions in too much detail to recount it all here. Read it.
Beyond the Petraeus Report, we need a report on the larger war with the Irreconcilable Wing of Islam. This enemy is irreconcilable with the modern civilized world because its values would block any woman from being in this room, having a job, voting, being educated. It is irreconcilable because it cannot tolerate other religions or other life styles. It represents what some have called an Islamo-fascist approach to imposing its views on others and as such it is a mortal threat to our way of life, to freedom, and to the rule of law.
[CIA Director] General Hayden summarizes the fight at hand with these words:
We who study and target the enemy see a danger more real than anything our citizens at home have confronted since our Civil War….
This war is different. In a very real sense, anybody who lives or works in a major city is just as much a potential target as the victims of 9/11, or the London subway bombings, or the strikes in Madrid, or any of the other operations we’ve seen in Morocco, Jordan, Indonesia, Algeria, Pakistan, Kenya, and elsewhere.
Our very survival as a free people is challenged by a large threat and defeating it on a worldwide basis is inherently going to involve a large effort. That is why Norman Podhoretz has called it World War Four to compare its scale with World Wars One and Two and with the 44 year long Cold War which he calls World War Three.
At the end of the day are free people celebrating because the American people have sustained freedom against evil. Or, are violent, evil enemies of freedom celebrating because the Americans have been defeated?
Life would be easier if there was a more modulated answer. There is not.
There is much, much more. Read it. (Is the horse dead yet?)
At the conclusion of his post Gingrich says this:
The problem is not with the American people.
The problem is with our politicians, our news media and our bureaucratic elites.
They are afraid to tell the American people the truth.
They are afraid to explain the scale of the threat and the inevitable scale of the needed response.
Unfortunately this is not entirely correct. Yes, our politicians have failed us by avoiding the real issues, making a questionable decision about invading Iraq, and generally concentrating on their own petty power squabbles instead of doing what needs to be done.
But we know that they’re doing it and we don’t care. Why? Because acknowledging the reality of Hayden’s world is simply too frightening an act for many (most?) Americans to undertake. I mean, we’ve got 200 channels on DirecTV and all of them are more fun than trudging off to war in Iran or Syria and we don’t want to be inconvenienced by the necessity of dealing with these people.
In short, Americans are in the same place as the Brits were in the 1930s, appeasing a radical, violent ideological enemy that has no interest in compromise and no ability to conceive of their own wrong-headedness. Naturally Gingrich does not miss this obvious parallel. Nor should we.
Cross-posted at The Van Der Galiën Gazette.