It's hard to see into another man's mind, but I expect that he's thinking of a Band of Brothers reenactment.
That must be the World War that he's dreaming of. Not the First World War, with 5 million military dead and 4 million civilian dead. Not the Second World War with 25 million soldiers and 37 million civilians dead.
Newt, in his call for World War III, referred to himself as a historian. Indeed, he got his PhD from Tulane in Modern European History. But maybe he was absent that day, the one where they talked about the dead people.
Actually, according to Newt, we're already in it, we just haven't labeled it.
I thought it was sort of covered by the "War on Terror." But I guess after five years, longer than our involvements in either World War, it just doesn't cut it as a campaign platform anymore.
Though Newt doesn't say it exactly this way, the problem is that reality has poked its way through the "Hoo-ha! Rah-rah!" of the White House, Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. Obviously the war in Afghanistan didn't get Osama bin Laden or stop al Qaeda and the War in Iraq had nothing to do with self-defense. As chaos reigns and militias murder every day, it is also clear that we haven't brought a functioning democracy to Iraq, stability to the region and hope to the moderates, thereby establishing a real alternative to neighboring despots and Islamic fundamentalists. It has not, we are forced to notice, brought reconciliation to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Nor has it, according to my gas pump, brought crude oil down to $20 a barrel.
Newt's thinking is that five years of false promises, failures, ineptitudes, errors and omissions, is hard to swallow as a mere War on Terror, but that as World War III it would all be just dandy. Suffering, sacrifice and stupidity should be part of such a grand drama and we'll all gather round, cheer, salute and vote Republican in '06.
To demonstrate that we're already in a world war but just haven't figured it out, Newt cites Afghanistan, Iraq, the bomb attacks in India, North Korean nuclear threats, terrorist arrests and investigations in Florida, Canada and Britain, and violence in Israel and Lebanon.
We already have troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. So that's nothing new.
But now that we know its really World War III we could attack North Korea and maybe they would actually use their nukes which would be very dramatic indeed. We could attack Iran, by land, sea and air. We could occupy them the way we've occupied Iraq. Meantime, we could join India in making war against its internal Islamic enemies. Which hopefully would provoke Pakistan into making war on its internal Hindu terrorists. That could spill over into full scale fighting between India and Pakistan and the United States could fight on both sides. We could join the Israelis and put boots on the ground in Lebanon, and from there, on, on into Syria. Contingents of the National Guard could invade and occupy Florida and Canada, and in Britain we could unleash Tony Blair on his own people.
We're a wee bit short of troops, but we should see that as an opportunity. The draft was a bonding experience for so many men. If you doubt it, rush out to rent Saving Private Ryan and countless other films in which the Italian wise guy from New Jersey and the Jew from New York fought side by side with the laconic Texan and the Tennessee mountaineer.
Newt missed such experiences. He is, of course, a chicken hawk.
That is not meant to impugn Newt's personal courage or commitment to the defense of the country we all love.
Here's what he said would happen if we changed the title of the War on Terror to World War Three. After he explained that, "Israel wouldn't leave southern Lebanon as long as there was a single missile there," he went on to say, "I would go in and clean them all out and I would announce that any Iranian airplane trying to bring missiles to re-supply them would be shot down."
I would more than vote for that. I mean it. If Newt wants to go and doesn't want to wait for the declaration of WWIII, I will pay his airfare. From my own pocket. I will hire a video crew to memorialize his exploits, going to door to door, cleaning them all out. Though when he tells the Iranians about shooting down their planes, I would like him to specify that it's not the United States, necessarily doing it, and it's certainly not me, but it's himself, Newt Gingrich, the John Wayne of WWIII, who will be behind the ack-ack gun.