More than a Global War on Terror

On Tuesday, the Iranian Hezbollah group released a statement embracing the prospect of a third world war. The group, which has ties to the Lebanese terror faction currently lobbing rockets at Israeli civilian centers, claimed it was ready to dispatch 2,000 terrorists “to every corner of the world to jeopardize Israel and America’s interests.”

World War III? Are we really on the precipice of a global conflagration? Yes, according to some conservatives.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich began making this argument on Sunday’s edition of Meet the Press. In his interview Gingrich described a connection between unfolding world events that he contends add up to the early stages of a third world war.  

Gingrich rattled off a laundry list of developments. “The North Koreans fire seven missiles on our Fourth of July; bombs going off in Mumbai, India; a war in Afghanistan with sanctuaries in Pakistan …The Iran/Syria/Hamas/Hezbollah alliance. A war in Iraq funded largely from Saudi Arabia and supplied largely from Syria and Iran. The British home secretary saying that there are 20 terrorist groups with 1,200 terrorists in Britain. Seven people in Miami videotaped pledging allegiance to al Qaeda, and 18 people in Canada being picked up with twice the explosives that were used in Oklahoma City, with an explicit threat to bomb the Canadian parliament, and saying they’d like to behead the Canadian prime minister. And finally, in New York City, reports that in three different countries people were plotting to destroy the tunnels of New York.”

Indeed, these developments cover the globe.  And the instigators all have one thing in common: they hate America and western values.

Gingrich’s arguments were bolstered on Thursday by the third-ranking Senate Republican. Pennsylvania’s Rick Santorum delivered a major policy speech in Washington at the National Press Club. Santorum told attendees that “the biggest issue facing our children’s future is a war.  Not, as so many describe it, the War on Terror. Not the war in Iraq or Afghanistan. But the world war, which at its heart is just like the previous three global struggles.”

Santorum went on to point out that the United States fought World War I and World War II because we had to. Those wars were “imposed on us, not chosen by us — we’re either winning or losing, because there was no way out.” Similarly, today’s conflict is one in which enemies like Hezbollah, al Qaeda and the militant fundamentalist Islamists will never back down. Like Stalin, Lenin and Hitler, our enemies today are bent on the annihilation of their foes: us.

History demands that we take the rise of Islamic fascism very seriously. “If we have learned anything from the twentieth century, it should be this lesson,” Santorum said. “When leaders say they are prepared to kill millions of people to achieve their goals, we must take them at their word. Particularly in this case, when the enemy sees dying for their cause as a desired objective as opposed to a tragic consequence.”

Santorum’s speech, which was delivered to capacity crowd, was a desperate plea for America to wake up. Though Islamic fascists have made no bones about their intent to destroy Israel and America, many in the U.S. are having a difficult time grasping that basic fact. The Pennsylvanian argued that if we really understood the nature of this conflict we would not be complaining about government monitoring of terrorist finances or phone calls. Instead “we’d be screaming and hollering that these programs are being compromised” by a press corps that’s fundamentally failing American interests.

As if irresponsible media reporting was not enough, Santorum identified additional institutional challenges that must be overcome if America is to win the war. Bureaucrats who leak classified information to the press for political purposes are as dangerous as a press corps with no concept of national security. But perhaps even more dangerous, according to Santorum, is the “paralyzing effect of moral equivalence” in which public figures find it nearly impossible to call evil by its name.

Lest politics be ignored, Santorum talked about a choice facing voters in the upcoming fall elections. Voters, said Santorum, must choose between those who see “the role of Congress as raising objections — finding reasons not to do things” and those who “want Congress to contribute to victory.” Members of Congress have “a duty to think independently and speak clearly — not to evade, not to mumble.”

Both Gingrich and Santorum have sounded an alarm.

“You have to win the argument,” says Gingrich. “Is this the real world or is this a paranoid fantasy?” Gingrich thinks that when presented with the facts about the interconnectivity of events, the American people will recognize it is the former. Despite the difficulties envisioned, Gingrich is optimistic. “We can win this campaign, but we have to understand it is a campaign,” he says.

Santorum is hopeful too. “Historians may write of this time in American history that we were not the greatest generation- that we fell short on many fronts. But may they also write that like our ancestors we too fought for freedom, that we too confronted evil, that we too endured a great trial and won a victory for the future of mankind.”