EDWIN J. FEULNER,
Just as Ronald Reagan made conservative ideas popular at the
presidential level, so too did Newt Gingrich popularize them for
the Congress and for a change in the Congress. In introducing Newt
Gingrich again to a Heritage audience, I would only make three
first point: When he was named Man of the Year by Time magazine in
1995, they said "Leaders make things possible; exceptional leaders
make them inevitable." Newt Gingrich belongs to the category of
exceptional. Time magazine got it right that time.
Number two: Newt Gingrich is a man of
vision and forward thinking. Several of us here in the room
remember a brown bag lunch we had with him in 1978, before he was
elected to Congress, while he was still a professor of history. It
was over at our old headquarters building, and he talked to us
about his vision of a future where stay-at-home moms--a term none
of us had ever heard before at that point--would be working from
computer terminals in their home. This before the invention of the
Apple PC: a man of vision.
man who, if you skip ahead 23 years to the night of September 10,
five weeks ago, I ended up sitting next to, coming back from
Frankfurt Airport to Dulles, rather serendipitously. We had a long
discussion on the way across the Atlantic about national security
issues, about the need for ballistic missile defense, and at one
point he said to me, "You know, you really ought to have your
people over there take a closer look at homeland defense; we need
to be doing a lot more in that area."
next morning, he and I were on the phone after the incredible
tragedies across the river here at the Pentagon, in New York City,
and in that field in western Pennsylvania. Within a couple of
hours, we had both, in our own separate ways but more or less in
concert, called for a declaration of war on terrorism.
brings me to the third point: Newt Gingrich is a man with whom not
everyone agrees, but to whom everyone in the policy arena
Ladies and gentlemen, it's my very great
pleasure to welcome back to the Heritage Foundation our good
friend, Newt Gingrich.
Let me start by saying that I think it's very important
to understand that a state of war has in many ways existed since
1983. If you look at the list of the 22 Most Wanted, it includes
somebody whose first activity killing Americans was the Marine
barracks in Lebanon.
person is still active. According to the summary that was released,
they believe he was also responsible for kidnapping and killing the
head of American CIA activities in Lebanon, that he was also active
in and responsible for kidnapping an American officer serving with
the United Nations and killing him, and that he's had other
activities since then.
here you have a man who has now spent a period of 18 years being at
war with America. And in his mind, he's been actively trying to
figure out how to hurt Americans for 18 years.
you don't want to go back that far, you could go back no further
than 1993 and the first bombing of the World Trade Center. You then
had the bombing of the Khobar Towers barracks in Saudi Arabia; you
then had the bombing of two American embassies in Africa; you then
had the bombing of the United States warship, the USS Cole , in Yemen. These were acts of war
carried out on a continuous basis by people who have, I think,
legitimate reasons for not liking us.
me be clear about this. I think all of the efforts to understand
why they don't like us come down to a very simple model. We are a
free society with a liberated role for women, with a very complex,
open advertising system that creates a range of lifestyle
opportunities, all of which are abhorrent if you are a fanatic who
believes in a medieval version of Islam.
Two Waves of
It's important to understand that we have two waves of
opponents in the Islamic world. We have the modernists, led by
Saddam Hussein, who is relatively secular and relatively modern.
The Ba'ath party was originally in many ways anti-traditional
Islam. And you have the medievalists. I think it's better to
describe them as medieval than as fundamental, because
"fundamental" implies a whole range of connectivity in the United
States that has no parallel.
Afghanistan's Taliban seeks to create a
medieval world in which women are totally repressed. It's been
astonishing to me for the last few years that the feminist movement
in America has not been more offended by the people who are our
need to understand: This is not about appeasing them. You can't
appease them over Israel; you can't appease them over Saudi Arabia.
The core objective reality is that our very existence functions as
an act of war, because our very existence offers to their young a
desirable alternative to the closed society they intend to create.
You have to start with that.
also think it's important to regard September 11 as an opportunity
to come to grips with reality, comparable to 1941 at Pearl Harbor
and to 1947 with the fall of Czechoslovakia. On those two
occasions, the American nation responded to a general state of
affairs. That is, after Pearl Harbor, we didn't just say, "Let's go
sink the Japanese fleet." We said, "We're now at war with the
Axis." We took on Japan, Italy, and Germany simultaneously, and we
said, "Our goal is to win a global war."
After 1947, we didn't just say, "Gee, our
problem is, how do you deal with the Soviet Union in the middle of
Europe?" We said, "This is clearly a general threat, and we have to
create a worldwide coalition, and we have to contain the Soviet
empire until they break," which we successfully did in the 45-year
The Lesson of
I would argue that the biggest lesson of September 11 is
not that there are terrorists who hate us. The biggest lesson of
September 11 is that in the 21st century, our cities are vulnerable
to a variety of attacks.
helped create, with President Bill Clinton, the Hart-Rudman
Commission back in 1997, and we had 14 senior people from both
parties, plus retired military, who worked for three years, looking
out to 2025. When we reported in March, we said that the number one
threat to the United States is a weapon of mass destruction going
off in an American city. I want to repeat that. It wasn't
commercial airliners hitting a building; it was a weapon of mass
destruction: chemical, biological, or nuclear.
estimates were that you had to be prepared in a homeland security
agency for as many as four cities being hit simultaneously with
weapons of mass destruction, and that unless you had a robust
enough system to contain and respond to a disaster of that scale,
you were underestimating the danger.
There wasn't a great deal of interest back
in March, although I will say that Congress was more interested
than the news media. People were complaining that they weren't
aware of it, and "Gee, nobody thought of these things." It's just
plain not true. Tom Clancy wrote a novel in which a Boeing 747 hits
the Capitol, and in that novel, he describes the impact of aviation
fuel on a building.
ground rule is simple: Those who knew worried, and those who didn't
worry didn't know. Now, on September 11, you have an intersection
where for a brief period, people can worry. The question is, coming
out of that worry, when we're done with this particular period,
will we be, in fact, profoundly different?
want to start with the question of what can happen to our cities?
Because there are essentially three very different kinds of
- First of all, international terrorism in
the Osama bin Laden/al-Qaeda tradition.
- Second, dictatorships with weapons of mass
destruction, in which I would list Iraq and North Korea as the two
- Third, nations that are relatively stable
but that are acquiring weapons that can directly threaten us. Even
in this period of comity, there is considerable effort underway,
for example, in China and Russia to develop weapons that could
defeat American forces at the theater level. These are very
sophisticated efforts by very intelligent people, and I have great
respect for them.
when you start talking about our future at a defense level, I think
you've got to be capable of dealing with all three of these
threats, and you've got to recognize that we literally are always
threatened in our cities. We're threatened by terrorists; we're
threatened by missiles; we're threatened by clever ways of
Need for a
Homeland Security Agency
We said at the time that on the defensive side, you had to
have a homeland security agency. Let me say that the President took
the correct first step, but if it is the only step, it will be a
failure. It is impossible for Tom Ridge's job in its current form
to work beyond the immediate crisis. Impossible.
also constitutionally wrong. A presidential appointee parallel to
the National Security Adviser is not accountable to the legislative
branch. On something as important as the survival of American
cities, the legislative branch ought to insist on accountability.
So it ought to be a legislated office and an office which has to
report to the Congress, and an office which ultimately has to be
approved by the Senate. Anything short of that is an inadequate
level of accountability for future crises.
addition, we argued passionately that you had to have an agency
with budgetary power, and it had to be a Cabinet-level department,
not a White House office. Anybody who has worked with the drug
czar's office knows that the power of jawboning inside the federal
bureaucracy is a stunningly limited power. If you don't have
control over the money, if you can't promote people or fire people,
you don't have real power.
parallel with Condoleezza Rice's job as National Security Adviser
is a false parallel. The National Security Adviser mediates the
relationship between the President of the United States and other
foreign powers, and mediates the relationship between the President
of the United States, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of
Defense, and the Director of Central Intelligence. As a
consequence, the National Security Adviser briefs the President
every day, is in meetings with the President every day, and has a
level of personal involvement that is absolutely unlike what will
happen after you get past the current crisis.
Tom Ridge have a lot of access for 90 days? Yes. Will he have a lot
of access for three years? It is impossible. No presidency could
stand that unless we were under constant attack. So that will
become an office comparable to the drug czar, not comparable to the
National Security Adviser, which is why, to be effective, he has to
have line-item power and he has to have a budget.
strongly felt that that office ought to be built around FEMA,
because the Federal Emergency Management Agency is the logical
day-to-day interactor. Notice that almost all the people who
respond are civilians. They're not military. They're police;
they're emergency people; they're fire departments. So you want
FEMA, which on a normal basis is constantly working with these
people for floods, for hurricanes, for tornadoes, for earthquakes:
FEMA is the logical base around which to build response for a
addition, you want to allocate and dedicate parts of the National
Guard. We need far more robust construction capability, far more
robust medical capability, so that if you did have an outbreak of
smallpox, if you had an outbreak of an engineered anthrax that was
communicable or something else that was truly dangerous, you'd have
a massive capacity to respond with mobile hospitals and with mobile
quarantining. We currently have none of those capabilities.
want the homeland security agency to be able to focus on
reconstruction and minimizing casualties, because you could well be
in the middle of a war overseas when the event occurs in the United
States, and you can't expect the Secretary of Defense to
simultaneously be managing an offensive campaign overseas and a
defensive campaign at home. It's not a doable job. There's too much
involved. That's why I would argue that you have to go to some kind
of homeland security agency.
Let me talk briefly about domestic security. Having nine
incompetent people do what three incompetent people used to do does
not necessarily dramatically increase the capacity for
me start with a simple analysis. To the best of my knowledge, we do
not know of anything we are now doing in airport security that
would have stopped September 11. There seems to be some indication
that the weapons were actually put on board by people who were
working on the airfields; they weren't smuggled through security.
So we are now engaged in a massive increase in the complexity of
airline travel for no known consequence.
would also point out that since we're now dealing with suicide
bombers, the current questions are totally insane: "Did you pack
your bag personally?" "Absolutely. I made sure the bomb was in
there." What is the point of this?
want to draw two distinctions here that are central to how we ought
to think about the next five or 10 years.
There's a big difference between being frantic and being
effective. Frantic is the first-wave response of a bureaucracy that
you knew was incompetent before the crisis but you want to pretend
the next day has been modified radically. Why would you think the
people you complained about the day before the crisis are
dramatically better the day after the crisis because you're now
giving them more power? They're not.
have to really be careful, because you can engage in a lot of
frantic behavior that absorbs a lot of energy. The current plan to
make the Capitol a fortress is one that, as Speaker, I blocked
because the security people have for a decade wanted to make the
Capitol a fortress. The notion that you can't invent a Pennsylvania
Avenue that's safe is just a tribute to the Secret Service's
lifetime desire to block Pennsylvania--and they want to block 17th
Street if they can figure out how to do it--which is nonsense. It
would have had no impact on September 11 because the airplanes
weren't coming down Pennsylvania Avenue.
have to stop and say to yourself, "Tell me the threat you're trying
to stop." Then, when you do, you find out that if you put a bridge
across Pennsylvania Avenue that blocks anything larger than seven
feet, you have a pedestrian bridge that guarantees that no truck is
going to pull up. You could move Pennsylvania Avenue across
Lafayette Square, as has been suggested. There are many things you
attitude of security forces when there's a brief period of panic is
to grab as much space, hang tight, and hope that a bulldog-like
determination will give them the maximum space. That's what we're
going through right now. We closed the one airport no airplane came
out of while opening the airport that produced the airplane that
hit the Pentagon. Think about that. There was zero connectivity
between closing National and opening Dulles in terms of the events
of September 11.
normal terrorist attacks, what we had been doing was perfectly
good. We have not had a major terrorist incident in the air for
many years because against a random, untrained terrorist, the
security system worked fine. It wasn't particularly brilliant, but
it was fine.
So let me talk for a minute about, first of all, the
difference between being frantic and being effective, and, second,
the difference between being serious and being comfortable, and let
me explain the difference.
comfortable organization looks at a new problem and accepts any
strategy which does not require a structural change. You're seeing
this at the Pentagon now. Many modernization programs are now
"transformational" because they've heard both the President and the
Secretary of Defense say the words "transformation of." They took
exactly the same program that last year was not transformational,
put "transformation" on top, and have now resubmitted it. They can
show you the list of transformational programs they have underway,
which is remarkable because they were, in fact, the programs that
they had underway last year before they were transformational.
serious organization looks at the problem it has to deal with, and
then adopts the strategy that will win, and then changes its
structure to implement the strategy. For example, the U.S. Navy
concluded around 1918 that airplanes could fly off of ships. They
began buying aircraft carriers. The Langley was the first one in
1919. They eventually built an entire fleet doctrine around
aircraft carriers, which was a very big change if you were used to
guns that fired bullets or large shells for 20 miles. It was a very
Armor was a very profound change, because
it moved at a pace infantry couldn't keep up with, and it required
very substantial rethinking of the structure. Those are real
About Airport Security
The American model of security is a capital-intensive,
high-technology model. We don't do well when we have poorly paid
people with limited equipment, designed at a minimum-cost basis.
Other countries do that well; we don't. It's not our national
two best places for invisible security, Las Vegas and Disney World,
have very high levels of security, but you don't notice them
because you won't come back if you're scared. They're the model for
Principle number one: Everybody who works
at an airport on a regular basis should have a biometric check,
probably retinal. You walk through; you're an airline pilot; we've
registered who you are. A camera looks at you, and in less than a
second, the computer says you're who you say you are. The retinas
have 256 points of reference. Thumb prints have 36. It is very hard
to deceive a retinal scan. It could be done, but when you get to
that level of terrorism, you have a whole different set of
problems. It's way beyond al-Qaeda.
automatically change the entire security system, and it's faster.
It's exactly like those of you that have a sticker on your car so
you can drive through the toll gate at five miles above the speed
limit or whatever you think you can get away with--which, again, is
the American model.
does not require a national databank. It requires a two-track
system. Everybody who is a frequent traveler, who wants to be
convenient, who would like to not be slowed down, you walk through
Lane A. We know who you are. We record you instantaneously. It's
Everybody who doesn't want to do that,
which is your right as an American in peacetime, there's a line
over here. It may take awhile, but they'll get around to you, and
you'll get through eventually.
will find that about 95 percent of the frequent flyers in this
country will migrate instantly to registering. You look in a camera
one time; they register your retina; you put it in a national base
so that wherever you walk through, they can record who you are.
Similar biometrics which come off facial characteristics ought to
be a standard part of walking through every immigration line.
People say to me, "Does this mean the era
of big government is back?" I say to them that if a government
can't buy a computer to allow the CIA watch list to get through the
FBI to the FAA in six weeks, which is how long they were looking
for the two guys who got on the plane in Boston under their own
names--this was not a false identity card, which at least half of
you used as kids; they got on the plane under their own name
because they were so confident the American system wouldn't catch
them--that's not a very sophisticated model.
we're serious about security, we can be much more secure. Part of
that is to get companies like GE to build MRI systems for container
cargo. We have 3.5 million containers a year that come across our
borders. We don't want to slow that down, and we don't want to
inspect them. We want to have some kind of electronic device that
scans them at very, very high speed, and we want to be able to seal
them in after the scan, so you could actually scan them in Thailand
before they're shipped and have an electronic seal that, if it's
broken, would send off a signal.
can do that, but it requires a capital-intensive, DARPA-style
investment rather than the FAA models. I think that's a very
How to Win the
War on Terrorism
Let me talk briefly about winning the war, and then about
what we do beyond the current campaign. I would just make 10 quick
First, we are at war.
Second, in wars, your enemies are allowed
to be clever, courageous, and determined. In the first couple of
days, we talked about how cowardly they were. These people are not
cowards. They are smart, dedicated fanatics, willing to die to kill
Americans, and we need to assume that our enemies are at least as
smart as we are.
Principle three: In war, the vision of
success is decisive for the rest of what you're trying to
accomplish. I cannot overstate this. Our vision has to be--and,
generally, the President has been right on this, although there has
been some tension between State and Defense on it--that we are
against terrorism internationally; that Afghanistan is the first
campaign; it is not the campaign.
very important for us to come back to this again and again. We are
in the business of making American cities safe. We're not just in
the business of catching Osama bin Laden. Nothing would be more
dangerous for us than to have bin Laden get turned over, announce
victory, and then allow new martyrs to grow up, prepared to pursue
bin Laden's career, and wait for the next wave of attacks. It's
important to take the energy we have now and apply it to winning a
war against the threats to our cities.
Principle four: The stakes are enormous.
As I said earlier, I cannot overstate this. You live in a country
which has to assume that at some point in your lifetime, there will
be a series of weapons of mass destruction used against us. They
exist. They are possible. We have people who hate us. If we do not
take advantage of this opportunity, of this revulsion by the world
against these attacks, and use this period to dramatically change
the balance of terror on the planet, we should expect future
model is simple. Piracy was relatively common in the early 18th
century. By the end of the century, it had been totally wiped out
because it became unacceptable behavior, and people gradually came
to the agreement that we won't tolerate it anymore. We have that
same model here. We have to say supporting and sustaining
terrorists is intolerable.
fifth principle is--and the President has been very good at this so
far--that means a series of ultimatums. Currently, we're involved
in ultimatums with the Taliban. I would hope that, next, we would
go toward Syria or Iraq. Iraq is the more important target, but I
think we have to go through a revolving cycle of ultimatums where
we basically say, "Pick which side you're on, and if you're on the
side of terrorists, you have to be replaced."
Which is my sixth principle: To achieve
victory, you have to plan for a coercive, not a consensual, result.
The difference is powerful. Consensual is, how far can we push the
Syrians? Coercive is, X has to happen. We'd like them to do it
voluntarily. If not, what are we going to do to raise the ante
until they have to do it? And raising the ante may well mean, in a
number of cases, replacing the government.
Principle seven is that the campaign has
to be comprehensive. We need a massive, ongoing public diplomacy
campaign, and it has to be more than government officials talking.
It's very revealing that Nelson Rockefeller recruited Disney to
help do cartoons for Brazil in the Second World War, which actually
became stunningly popular. His goal was to have a variety of
mechanisms to communicate with people.
whether it's in song, whether it's on MTV, whether it's on whatever
the Middle Eastern version is of MTV, you want a continuing pattern
of messages that reach people; that say everybody that wants to
have a secure life, everybody that wants to have a prosperous life,
everybody that wants to live without being afraid of terrorists,
you're on our side; that we are the allies of 99 percent of the
Islamic world. And that message has to come from a lot more than
just government officials.
addition, when we win, we have to be generous. I would argue that
the other part of the comprehensiveness is, if we win in
Afghanistan, which I believe we will, the following week, aid and
reconstruction, new irrigation, new health care, new food. People
around the Islamic world have to see vividly that being on the
American side pays off.
did this before. In 1945, we rebuilt Germany, Italy, and Japan. In
1953, we rebuilt South Korea. The fact is, it has paid off for us
in overwhelming returns, and we should take the same attitude
toward dealing with the challenge country-by-country, starting with
Eight: I think the coalition has to start
with what we're trying to do and has to be as large as will agree
to do what we want to do. We cannot reshape our aims to build the
coalition. In some places, we may literally go it alone.
Technically, we have the power to go it alone against any plausible
country that is harboring terrorists; and in a lot of places where
we couldn't go it alone, none of them harbor terrorists. There are
no countries that currently harbor terrorists that the United
States could not defeat on its own.
notion that we are limited by our allies is exactly backwards. We
have to define the goals. We have in Afghanistan so far. It's
working reasonably well. I think that in the next phase of the
campaign, we have to do it.
ninth principle is, you're going to have to sustain freedom every
day. We've now entered a 21st century in which we are bound to the
rest of the planet. There will always be potential terrorists. The
trick is to keep them as disorganized and as weak as possible.
There will always be potential enemies. The trick is to understand
them and prepare for them. But we will never be able to back off
from the challenge of sustaining freedom.
believe that we're clearly paying some of the price for having
grossly underfunded defense and intelligence. For the first time
since Pearl Harbor, we got below 3 percent of our gross national
product last year in terms of defense and intelligence combined. I
believe, as a general goal, we should be at 4 percent of our GDP
for defense and intelligence. I don't think it is possible
technically to do everything we need to do around the world, to
sustain the force and to transform the force, and to have the
intelligence we need.
give you just one example. People say, "We need more spies and
fewer satellites." No, we need every satellite we have--and we
actually have about 25 percent too few satellites--and we need
human intelligence. We need to decide, as a serious country, that
we're going to do what it takes to be secure, and that means more
intelligence; it means more comprehensive defense capabilities; and
I suspect it means, in the end, a larger force with more modern
systems in order to be able to accomplish what we want to be able
fact is, we are trapped on the planet. None of the terrorists we
have identified so far are Afghan, but we're fighting in
Afghanistan. Just think about the complexity of a world in which,
in fact, we end up in a country we have no particular reason to be
in, chasing people who are largely Saudi Arabian and then other
various nationalities. It's a very complex future, and we can't get
by with it on the cheap, except at great expense.
Finally, we have to develop a method of
reminding the American people again and again what we're doing. We
built after World War II an amazing consensus on managing the Cold
War. It lasted a very long time, and I think that it's the kind of
system we need to go back to.
The Problem of
When we finish in Afghanistan, which I suspect will happen
when the Taliban crumbles and when there is a new post-Taliban
government that's probably a broad coalition and that makes it much
easier to go after the various terrorists, I believe the next stage
has to be Iraq. It has to be Iraq for a couple of simple reasons,
if your goal is defending America's cities, not merely getting even
for September 11.
recently talked with the defector who headed the Iraqi nuclear
program. When he left in 1994, there were 7,000 people working on
nuclear weapons in Iraq. Richard Butler, the Australian who was the
head of the U.N. inspection program in Iraq, says flatly that
Saddam Hussein's government is working on biological, chemical, and
nuclear weapons. He doesn't think it's debatable.
Saddam is a man who proved, both by using
chemical weapons against the Iranians and by using them against a
city in his own country, that he's very prepared to use chemical
weapons. Saddam has proven that he will accept 100,000 dead Iraqis,
which was the cost of the 1991 war. And he will accept 10 years of
sanctions in order to keep building weapons of mass
reasonable person would have to come to the conclusion that this is
a man who intends to use them the first chance he gets. This is
Hitler in 1935. And it would be an act of extraordinary folly for
us to back down after the Afghan campaign and not do whatever is
thought the President took the first step the other night when he
described Saddam as evil and said he had better let the inspectors
back in. But if Saddam is still in power and there are no
inspectors three years from now, then we will have lost this war,
even if we do well in Afghanistan, because Iraq is a vastly greater
threat to our cities than is Afghanistan.
The Honorable Newt Gingrich
is former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and author
of Lessons Learned the Hard Way. Edwin J.
Feulner, Ph.D., is President of The Heritage Foundation.