Have Our Leaders Lost Their Minds?

I have two grandchildren, ages 5 and 7. If you’re a parent or grandparent yourself, I challenge you not to think about a child you love when you read what I’m about to tell you.

I challenge you not to share my disgust with the barbarians who use the blood of innocents to further their political agendas.

And I challenge you not to share my contempt for the bureaucrats who think they can appease them.

For the governments that think their actions don’t have consequences.

For the politicians who think that something – anything – good can come from allowing the killers of children to walk free.

Child Killers Sent to "Protest" the Camp David Accords

Smadar Haran, her husband Danny, and their two daughters, ages two and four, were at home in their apartment in northern Israel on the night of April 22, 1979. They were asleep in their beds around midnight when they awoke to gunfire and grenades exploding.

Terrorists, sent by terrorist leader Abu Abbas to protest the signing of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty at Camp David the year before, were breaking into their building.

Desperate to hide, Smadar carried her two-year-old into a crawl space above their bedroom. So terrified was she that her baby girl would cry out and alert the terrorists to their hiding place that Smadar held her hand tightly over the girl’s mouth. Too tightly. By the time they were rescued hours later, the little girl was dead. Smadar had accidentally smothered her own child.

But the horror doesn’t end there.

Kuntar Smashed a Four-Year-Old Girl’s Head Against a Rock Until She Was Dead

While Smadar and her child hid in the crawlspace, Danny and the four-year-old ran out of the apartment for the safety of an underground shelter. They didn’t make it. The terrorists took Danny and the little girl down to the beach where one of them, Samir Kuntar, shot Danny in front of the girl. His goal, according to Smadar, was that the sight of her father being killed "would be the last sight she would ever see."

Then Kuntar smashed the little girl’s skull against a rock until she was dead.

Last week, in a deal brokered by the Israeli government with the terrorist group Hezbollah, Samir Kuntar, a cowardly child killer, walked out of an Israeli prison.

Israel Didn’t Cave to Terrorists in 1985 But It Did Last Week

The deal the Israeli government made with Hezbollah included the exchange of the remains of two Israeli soldiers killed by Hezbollah in return for five live terrorists in Israeli prisons, including Kuntar.

And Kuntar was no ordinary terrorist prisoner. Abu Abbas was so impressed with Kuntar’s savage child-killing tactics that Abbas masterminded the hijacking of the cruise ship Achille Lauro in 1985 – including the killing and dumping into the ocean of the defenseless, elderly, wheelchair-bound Leon Klinghoffer – to secure Kuntar’s release.

Israel didn’t cave into terrorists in 1985, but it did last week. And the deal it struck with Hezbollah will have disastrous consequences for Israel and the world.

The concession, writes the Jerusalem Post’s Caroline Glick "will cement Iran’s control of Lebanon through Hizbullah. It also all but guarantees that any future Israeli soldiers taken hostage by Hizbullah will be killed on the spot. Why care for hostages when you can murder them and expect to receive the same payoff you would get if you kept them alive?"

Kuntar Receives a Hero’s Welcome in Lebanon

Kuntar Receives a Hero's Welcome in Lebanon

Photo Credit: AFP

But possibly even more disappointing than the Israeli government’s willingness to make deals with terrorists is the reception that greeted the release of Samir Kuntar in parts of the Middle East last week.

Columnist Mona Charen reports that Kuntar literally received a red carpet reception in Beirut. Charen writes:

The government closed all offices and declared a national day of celebration. Tens of thousands of Lebanese cheered, waved flags, threw confetti, and set off fireworks as Hezbollah staged a rally to celebrate their "victory" over Israel. Mahmoud Abbas, the "moderate" leader of the Palestinian Authority, sent "blessings to Samir Kuntar’s family." PA spokesman Ahmad Abdul Rahman sent "warm blessings to Hezbollah . . . on the return of the heroes of freedom . . . headed by the great Samir Kuntar."

This barbaric display enrages me and it should enrage all Americans.

Both the Palestinian Authority and the Lebanese government are recipients of U.S. taxpayers’ money through foreign assistance. Political leaders – and the people they lead – who cheer the release of despicable child murderers are unworthy recipients of our assistance.

Congress should insist that the Lebanese government and the Palestinian Authority retract their support for Kuntar or it should cut off U.S. assistance to them.

Appeasement Comes Home to America

As if the news from Israel weren’t bad enough, the seemingly irresistible urge among some foreign policy elites to appease our worst enemies came home to America last week.

The State Department sent its third most senior official to sit in on nuclear "negotiations" with Iran, even as Iran continues its relentless pursuit of a nuclear weapon.

In the past, President Bush had a label for such a move. He called it "appeasement." Last week, his own State Department succeeded in taking the first steps in a futile attempt to appease a dictator who has called for the destruction of Israel and defeat of the West. His stated goal? A world without America.

And so I ask again: Have our leaders lost their minds?

"Hitler Tamed By Prison" – The Unexplainable Desire of Elites to Lie to Themselves

As a historian, I look for clues for how to manage our present from how we’ve managed our past.

One thing history shows is that some elites have a dangerous and unexplainable desire to lie to themselves.

A case in point: In 1924, Adolph Hitler was released from a German prison after serving time for conspiracy to overthrow the German government.

Nine years before he took power and led Germany on an irrevocable course toward world war and a campaign of systematic genocide against Jews, Gypsies, Catholics and others, the headline in the New York Times was:

"Hitler Tamed By Prison"

Read closely. The article concludes on this deluded note: "[Hitler’s] behavior during imprisonment convinced the authorities that [he], like his political organization, known as the Volkischer, was no longer to be feared. It is believed he will return to private life and return to Austria, the country of his birth."

When the Negotiations Don’t Work, What Are We Prepared to Do?

As America looks ahead to the swearing in of a new president next January, we need now, more than ever, leaders who resist the temptation to delude themselves about the nature of our enemies.

As a young Senator with little foreign policy experience, Barack Obama faces a unique challenge. As I write this, Senator Obama is traveling abroad seeking to convince the American people that he has the leadership ability to be commander in chief.

Senator Obama has also repeatedly assured us that he, too, will negotiate with regimes like Iran. But the question we owe to ourselves is to ask Senator Obama and our current State Department:

When negotiations don’t work, what are you prepared to do?

Talking isn’t a policy, it’s a process. And talking to people who have vowed your destruction is at best a futile and at worst a dangerous process.

Just ask the Israelis. After greeting Samir Kuntar with a hug and a kiss when he returned to Lebanon last week, Hezbollah leader Sheikh Nasrallah declared, "The time of defeat is long gone. Today is the time of victory."

A Sad and Fond Farewell to Tony Snow

I’ve had some strong words today for Israeli and U.S. leaders. But I want to end today on a loving note. I want to say a fond farewell to a magnificent friend and colleague.

Last week, America lost a principled advocate and loving family man, Tony Snow. My sympathies go out to the entire Snow family for the loss of this generous and brave man. Despite Tony’s passing, the Center for Heath Transformation will continue the "Eliminating Cancer as a Cause of Death and Suffering" project that Tony began.

In addition, the Center has started the "Tony Snow Family Trust" to help his wife Jill pay for the education and expenses of their three children, Kendall, Robbie and Kristi. For more information and to donate, please click here.

Your friend,

Newt Gingrich

P.S. — All summer long we have heard certain politicians in Washington argue against opening up new drilling offshore or in ANWR because, as they claim, everyone knows drilling now won’t have any impact on today’s oil prices. It turns out two economists recently conducted a study to examine what the impact of opening up ANWR would be on today’s oil prices. Their conclusions speak for themselves: "We find that oil that is expected to reach the market some years hence has an immediate impact on oil prices," and that "if oil firms were allowed to drill in ANWR and many of the other areas that are currently off limits to oil production, it is possible that these areas together might have a significant impact on world oil prices."

And when these two authors – both economics professors – submitted their findings for publications to a prestigious energy journal, what was the response from the rarified world of economists? It was rejection — but not for the reasons opponents of opening up new areas for oil and gas exploration would like to believe. No, their study was rejected because their conclusions were so obvious and so well-known – and have been for so long in the field of economics — that the two authors were not offering up anything new that merited publication. Because The Energy Journal wishes to publish only original work, it rejected the request to publish the study because the two economists had nothing new to say.

This is how the rejection letter reads in part: "Basically, your main result (the present impact of an anticipated future supply change) is already known to economists (although perhaps not to the Democratic Policy Committee)." Read the full rejection letter here.

This just shows how in the world that works, the facts and how markets work are well-known and indisputable while in the world that fails (the one certain liberal members of Congress seem to be living in), a denial of common knowledge, a denial of reality, and a denial about how the world works prevail. Opponents of expanded drilling would be wise to get in touch with reality and Drill Here, Drill Now so we can Pay Less."