Dear Newt: Please run!
Vail CO, Colorado
I speak for the good people of the Vail Valley when I say that we are proud to be hosting another American Enterprise Institute conference.
More importantly, Former House Speaker Newt Ging-rich is in town for this year’s conference, and chances are he probably reads the local papers. So, here goes:
Dearest Mr. Gingrich: Please run for president.
Don’t get me wrong. I like John McCain, I like Mike Huckabee, and I find good in Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. But why settle for good when we can have the best?
The Democratic candidates have mastered the art of blaming everything on President Bush, while the Republican candidates have mastered the art of pandering to President Reagan. But none is creating an atmosphere in which real solutions are debated and a discussion of technology is driven.
What I like about you, Mr. Gingrich, is that you see a world that can be won through technology, as you have spoken of in your “American Solutions” speeches.
How is it that Google, eBay, Amazon.com and FedEx can coalesce in offering every product in the world, at its cheapest price and best quality, available for over-night shipping, while our federal government still has not installed an electronic health-record database within our Medicaid system?
The list of failure can be extended toward the system management that failed us during Katrina or the inability to use Geog-raphic Information System, or GIS, data for the purpose of fighting crime in our cities.
Advancements in environmental solutions like ethanol and geothermal technologies also have remained too stagnant, at best. Some of the above are only a few examples that are touched upon by your “American Solutions” initiative, with many more in the pipeline, I’m sure.
However, the problem that is most lacking technology today, in one’s opinion, is the way we wage war. As someone who practices the faiths of Judaism, Christian-ity and Islam, I am deeply concerned about the war on terror.
I have visited Waziristan and other parts of Pakistan and have seen the depressed areas that the terrorists feed upon. The tunnels and spider holes that allow these terrorists to hide, tucked away from our missiles and space satellites, are no joke.
Since the 1950s, our federal government has prepared for war, appropriately, against the Soviet Union. The process involved developing missiles that could deliver nuclear blows from hundreds of miles away, vaporizing everything in site upon explosion.
We built aircraft carriers that could keep our good men and women away from the action, protected from the sky, as bombs drop down on our enemies. We created GPS systems that would allow us to track every major road and highway, in readying for an attack against any combatant.
But those days are now over. As Th-omas Barnett makes this point in his book, “The Pentagon’s New Map.” The wars we face today have been greatly reduced in scope to the point that they are fought inside small pockets of cave communities in Afghanistan and Baghdad, not with missiles over the Atlantic.
And the thing that gives one the most anger is that these terrorists hide out among children and innocent women, daring us to bomb entire communities, with the goal of uniting the entire Muslim world against us.
The terrible irony is that these terrorists go against every grain of the Islamic religion, while we exercise compassion in not dropping bombs on innocent people.
Last fall, I had the good fortune to spend time with retired Brigadier Gen. Pat Foote, a Distinguished Ser-vice Medal recipient. In our conversation, Gen. Foote confirmed that our military technologies are severely behind in the war on terror.
Take the modern U.S. soldier on the ground in Iraq, for example. Chances are he is wearing a similar uniform, similar helmet and carrying a similar gun to that of the 1960s ground soldier in Vietnam.
With the exception of night vision, we have seen minimal technological improvement on the ground. Such little improvement has no excuse.
Since the 1960s, we have perfected the nuclear bomb, created the neutron bomb, built nuclear-powered submarines and are now on the verge of a creating a defense shield.
It is an absolute travesty that our enemy’s greatest resource today is not nuclear bombs or missiles but improvised explosive device land mines, a technology that was state of the art in the 1960s.
Wired magazine reported a few months ago about the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, affiliated with our Depart-ment of Defense. The agency is developing ground technology that will offer our soldiers greater protection and mobility within the badlands of Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet, why isn’t Congress pushing such projects more fervently?
We need a president who can embrace big ideas, communicate them to the people and have the management ability to implement them; three things you proved capable of in passing the Contract With America. Such a presence would keep the current debate accountable by forcing every candidate to start pandering to intelligent ideas, not party partisanship.
The final result would be a win for the U.S. people, no matter individual result of vote tally.
Mr. Gingrich, I humbly submit that you are needed in this presidential race.
The Hasan Family Foundation is a partner in funding and developing Newt Gingrich’s American Solutions program, a bipartisan initiative intended to push the government to adopt more technological-based solutions. Visit http://www.AmericanSolutions.com for more information.
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