By Newt Gingrich
After the Christmas Day near disaster in Detroit, it is time for Americans to demand effective anti-terrorist actions.
Over eight years after 9/11 and 30 years after the Iranian illegal seizure of the United States embassy and the 444 day Iranian hostage crisis, Washington is still avoiding being intellectually honest about the war we are in.
Our Politically Correct Government is Making Life More Miserable For the Innocent
America is long overdue for a serious global strategy that includes targeting threats such as the terrorist killer at Fort Hood, the individuals recently arrested in Detroit, Denver and New York, and the five Americans detained in Pakistan.
The scale, persistence and sophistication of the enemy requires an honesty, a clarity, and a scale appropriate to the response.
Once again, instead of targeting the source of the threats, our politically correct government decides to make life more miserable for the travelling public by imposing hopelessly meaningless rules such as not allowing passengers to leave their seats in the last hour of the flight. Bound by cultural sensitivities, the default reaction of the bureaucracy is to review the procedures and wring its hands ineffectively.
Today, because our elites fear politically incorrect honesty, they believe that it is better to harass the innocent, delay the harmless, and risk the lives of every American than to do the obvious, the effective, and the necessary.
It's Time to Be Honest About What We Know
Before a lot more Americans are killed we must acquire the courage to tell the truth and to act on that truth.
It is time to be honest about what we know.
We know our opponents are radical extremists of the irreconcilable wing of Islam (Islamists, some would call them).
We know they have an ideology which is anti-female, desires to impose fundamentalist Sharia as a form of law, is hostile to other religions and is prepared to kill the innocent to achieve their goals.
We know how to identify these enemies but our elites have refused to do so.
Protecting the Rights of Terrorists Has Been More Important than Protecting the Lives of Americans
In the Obama Administration, protecting the rights of terrorists has been more important than protecting the lives of Americans.
That must now change decisively.
It is time to know more about would-be terrorists, to profile for terrorists and to actively discriminate based on suspicious terrorist information.
The United States should track down the owners of every website that promotes terrorism and systematically root them out. It should be as dangerous to a person promoting terrorism as it is to execute an act of terrorism.
The same should apply to the electronic communications of every known radical (and using these communications to track down every unknown radical).
The United States Must Actively Root Out Every Terrorist Website
The people behind these websites should be barred from getting a U.S. visa if not in the United States (concurrently, we should make it easier -- not harder -- for non-terrorists to get visas because we want to encourage the law abiding while discriminating against the potential terrorist).
An integrated data base for threats should have been expected, we now learn that it does not exist. This must be fixed.
It should be reasonable for the flying public to have expected that when the Nigerian terrorist's father reported he was going to a terrorist training camp he should automatically have been barred from getting a visa and from flying into the United States.
We Need a "Grand National Strategy" That is Bigger Than the Debate Over Afghanistan
The emergence of Yemen as the new planning, equipping, and training center for terrorism should remind us we need a worldwide "grand national strategy" (to use the World War II term) that is far bigger than our current debate over Afghanistan.
Americans should also note that ABC News is reporting that two of the plotters to blow the Amsterdam to Detroit flight out of the air were released from Guantanamo in 2007, attended an "art rehabilitation program" in Saudi Arabia, were released and took up senior leadership positions in al Qaeda in Yemen. Americans should also know that nearly half of the remaining detainees in Guantanamo are from Yemen.
The recent arrest of five Americans in Pakistan and the report there are 25 British citizens training to be bombers in Yemen should remind us this is a global war.
Moreover, the report that 74 Guantanamo detainees who have been released are back in the war trying to kill Americans should stop any further effort to close Guantanamo or to release terrorists.
The New Honesty Should End Any Thought of a Civilian Trial in New York for KSM
This new honesty about the threat should end any thought of a civilian trial in New York for 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammad with its dangers for exposing American intelligence information. All terrorists including would-be bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab should be tried in military tribunals as part of a serious war strategy.
The Attorney General and every Justice Department appointee whose law firms provided pro bono counsel for terrorists should be fired and replaced with lawyers who believe the lives of Americans are more important than the rights of terrorists.
The United States must have a policy of effective interrogation to understand our enemies and disrupt their planned attacks (read Marc Thiessen's column from yesterday).
We Need a New Homeland Security Secretary Who Knows We Need a New Strategy
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano's claim that the Detroit bomber was allowed to board a plan with explosives hidden in his underwear proved the system worked is proof we need a new Homeland Security Secretary who knows we need a new strategy and a new focus.
These are the first steps toward defeating the extremists.
We should take them before there is a tragic attack that kills a lot of people.
We have been warned. Again.
Will we now act?