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Newt Gingrich Contradicts Himself Trying To Present a Kinder, Gentler World War III

Reported by Ellen - July 18, 2006 -

During another night of all pro-Israel, pro-war guests on Hannity & Colmes Monday night (7/17/06), Newt Gingrich got a double segment in which to explain his now-infamous “This is, in fact, World War III” remark on Meet The Press on Sunday. Gingrich did his best to present World War III as a cakewalk, a short little operation for the US, one which didn’t necessarily mean war with Iran and one in which “relatively small numbers of Americans with airpower can have a decisive effect.” He also pretended that he didn't intend to use it as a partisan issue.

As usual when Gingrich is on, there were no opposing views. That might have inconveniently muddled his PR campaign for the US to involve itself in another war. First, Gingrich and Sean Hannity (neither of whom ever served in the military) lumped together the Mumbai bombings, the New York City tunnel plot and the current hostilities between Israel and Lebanon into one big war. Gingrich spoke as though Americans should expect Katyusha rockets to hit New York any minute if we don’t "retaliate" against somebody soon. “It’s clearly worldwide.... It IS a war. We have active enemies, actively trying to kill us and we have to see the violence in the Middle East in the context of an active war and being Americans, we prosecute wars to win them and not to have reasonable response and not to have appropriate levels of retaliation. Our theory is, you start bombing our cities, we’re gonna defeat you and make it impossible.”

Hannity said emphatically, “Mr. Speaker, I agree with all that you just said. I have zero disagreement.”

Once again Alan Colmes was the only voice during the entire show expressing an interest in diplomacy and doing everything possible to avoid further escalation. “Doesn’t the world, especially the United States, have a responsibility to see that this doesn’t become World War III?”

Gingrich replied, “I don’t think that we have any choice… This isn’t an option. This isn’t some diplomatic moment to wring our hands and hope that Hezbollah will become more mature.” However, perhaps eager to prove that he’s not a trigger-happy fanatic, Gingrich added, “That doesn’t mean we have to go to war with Iran. It does mean we have to use the kind of strategy we used in Poland, in Czechoslovakia, in Romania, in Hungary, in Ukraine to help the people themselves get to democracy and replace these terrorist states.”

Sean Hannity, who has long been itching for war with Iran (with other people doing the fighting), tried to draw parallels to World War II with Hezbollah and Iran as Nazis. “There’s a mysterious reluctance to see the truth in all of this.”

“Can you imagine after Pearl Harbor if countries had urged us to be restrained in beating Nazi Germany and Japan? … This is why we need to have this argument,” Gingrich said.

“Commander” Gingrich continued, “I think the time has come, first of all, the United States to say to the Lebanese government, we will help you reclaim south Lebanon. We will help you defeat Hezbollah. For us to say to the Israelis, ‘Finish the job. Don’t be restrained until you finish the job.’ And to say to Syria and Iran, ‘We will not tolerate any more interference in Lebanon from the terrorist alliance that you have forged.’”

With Alan Colmes, Gingrich again downplayed his advocacy of military force, saying he “only” advocated deploying forces in Lebanon – for now. “There are so many steps, Alan – that Ronald Reagan taught us we can have such a huge impact with firmness, with decisiveness and the only place I’ve suggested that force needs to be used over and above Iraq right now would be to help the Lebanese, who are a democratically elected government, have the military capability to defeat Hezbollah and we proved in Afghanistan that relatively small numbers of Americans with airpower can have a decisive effect in enabling people that we’re allied with to win and I think with American help the Lebanese government can in fact defeat Hezbollah and I think we should challenge the Europeans to join it.”

While Gingrich was describing this piece-of-cake scenario, he conveniently forgot that just one week before, he had been advocating a military confrontation with North Korea. In fact, he seemed to have forgotten about North Korea altogether last night in his eagerness to intervene in Lebanon. Unfortunately, nobody asked him about that.

Gingrich also denied to Alan Colmes any desire to politicize the war and use it as a reason to elect Republicans, as has been reported on MyDD and elsewhere. “I think we need a national dialogue as Americans, not as Republicans or Democrats but precisely in the experience of a world war to say what do we do as a people to defeat the terrorist alliance worldwide.” But once again, Gingrich forgot that the same night he advocated confronting North Korea, he blamed Clinton for that crisis and attacked liberals for not taking terrorist threats seriously enough. Nobody brought that up to Gingrich, either.

You can watch both parts of the Gingrich interview on FOXNews.com.

I also commend to everybody this post on Think Progress about how Neocons are resurrecting the same strategy they used with Iraq to bring about war against Iran and/or Syria.