The United States and its allies are losing the war with radical Islamism and must design a strategy to tackle a global movement intended to destroy Western civilization, said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
In an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal
, Gingrich said that Congress should take the lead, first to assess the scale of the threat and then to hold a series of hearings bringing experts together to develop a set of strategies.
"On Sept. 11, 2001, a remarkably sophisticated effort by Islamist terrorists killed nearly 3,000 Americans in New York City, Washington, D.C., and western Pennsylvania.
"In response to the worst attack on U.S. soil since Pearl Harbor, President George W. Bush told a joint session of Congress: 'Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated,'" he wrote.
"We have clearly failed to meet that goal."
Gingrich noted that 13 years of war in Iraq, the loss of thousands of American soldiers, and trillions dollars spent on the effort have not stopped the advance of radical Islamism, as evidenced by the rise of the Islamic State, violence by Boko Haram, and ongoing killing by al Qaida in Somalia, Yemen, and beyond.
He said that while the French Prime Minister Manuel Valls declared war on radical Islam following the attacks in Paris, France does not have a strategy for victory, and the U.S. must step up to tackle it.
"Congress should lead the way, first by convening hearings that outline the scale and nature of the threat. Additional hearings should seek advice from a wide range of experts on strategies to defeat radical Islamists," he said.
"Understanding the global threat, outlining strategies that might lead to its defeat, identifying the laws and systems that need to be changed to implement those strategies — all are complex problems that will require months to sort out.
"But the American people will rise to the challenge if they are given the facts about the real dangers we face."
Gingrich outlined a series of seven different topics that Congress should investigate, starting with the current strength and growth rate of radical Islamists around the world and a country-by-country assessment of the danger.
He said Congress should also look at the role of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the sources of radical Islamist funding.
And he said America must learn how Arab countries have successfully contained and minimized radical Islamists. Taking a look at radicalization within mosques and on social media, as well as the Islamist cyberthreat, are the other two areas that need to be investigated.
"The terrorists are immersed in Islamic history and doctrine. It is extraordinary that the political correctness of Western elites has discouraged the study of what inspires those who dream of slaughtering us," he wrote.
"Congress should hold hearings on the historic patterns, doctrines, and principles that drive the radical Islamists. No doubt these facts will make some of our elites uncomfortable. They should.
"We must understand the deep roots of Islamist beliefs, like the practice of beheading, if we are going to combat them."
If the current administration doesn't embrace the strategy developed by Congress, he said, then it should become a central issue for the 2016 presidential campaign.
"Who wants to get America on offense, with a coherent and intelligible strategy, against those who would destroy us?"
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