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America at Risk: Camus, National Security, and Afghanistan

Location: Washington, DC

Former Speaker of the House and AEI senior fellow Newt Gingrich insisted that America must have an honest debate about a grand strategy for victory against the irreconcilable wing of Islam. Such a victory, Gingrich said, must be won in Afghanistan, where President Barack Obama's withdrawal deadline risks a disastrous defeat with worldwide consequences.

This effort will take place on many fronts and will include stopping a nuclear Iran and defeating radical Islam in the United States and Europe. America's elites have been blind to the mortal threat posed by both stealth and violent jihadists, leaving America at greater risk than at any time since 9/11. Harkening back to the prescient warnings of Camus and Orwell, Gingrich illustrated the dangers of a government that uses language to obscure problems rather than to define them.

Recalling America's legacy of victory in World War II and the Cold War, he juxtaposed the confused and vague language of the Obama administration with the bold moral and intellectual clarity of America's greatest wartime statesmen, including George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and John F. Kennedy.

* "We cannot afford defeat in Afghanistan. The moral effects around the planet, the increase in morale of the radical jihadists, and the damage to Western civilization would be incalculable. Great powers should be careful about starting, but once they start, they should be relentless and unblinkable about winning, and it is very dangerous for us to talk about how we're going to somehow have a magic date at which we leave no matter the consequences, because that means we're not thinking about the consequences."
* "Sharia in its natural form has principles and punishments totally abhorrent to the Western world, and the underlying and basic belief which is that law comes directly from God, and is therefore imposed upon humans, and no human can change the law without it being an act of apostasy. It is a fundamental violation of a tradition in the Western system, which goes back to Rome, Athens, and Jerusalem, which has evolved and given us freedom across the planet on a scale which we can hardly imagine, and which is now directly threatened by those who would impose."
* "I simply want to say, as an American, these are difficult times. It requires us to tell the truth. It requires us to think carefully and long about a grand, national strategy. It requires us to recommit ourselves to freedom. It requires us to say to radical Islam, as we said to the British government, as we said at a time of disunion, as we said to Nazi Germany, as we said to the Soviet Union, freedom will prevail."
--Newt Gingrich

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