The Missiles Are Flying. Hallelujah!


Glenn Greenwald twists the knobs on the Wayback Machine and finds this interview of Newt Gingrich by Hugh Hewitt, where the radio host asks the Speaker how he'd handle the Iranian hostage kerfuffle.

HH: Now let's get to the first major issue of the day, which is Iran. Mr. Speaker, if the United Kingdom feels obliged to use force, if diplomacy fails to get their people back, will you applaud?

NG: I think there are two very simple steps that should be taken. The first is to use a covert operation, or a special forces operation to knock out the only gasoline producing refinery in Iran. There's only one. And the second is to simply intercede by Naval force, and block any tankers from bringing gasoline to Iran —

HH: Would you do, would you urge them —

NG: And say to the Iranians, you know, you can keep the sailors as long as you want, but in about 30 days, everybody in your country will be walking.

HH: So how long would you give them, to give them that ultimatum, the Iranians?

NG: I would literally do that. I would say to them, I would right now say to them privately, within the next week, your refinery will no longer work. And within the following week, there will be no tankers arriving. Now if you would like to avoid being humiliated publicly, we recommend you calmly and quietly give them back now. But frankly, if you'd prefer to show the planet that you're tiny and we're not, we're prepared to simply cut off your economy, and allow you to go back to walking and using oxen to pull carts, because you will have no gasoline left.

It's not wholly clear whether Gingrich is saying "I would use force right now" or "If I had to use force, here's what I'd do." He really dives headfirst into the wargaming, though. And that bit about "you're tiny and we not" is seriously bellicose. The whole conversation is here, so I don't think the context is getting lost. It's a big problem with Gingrich: When he talks foreign policy, he has a way of sounding like Greg Stillson.

My Newt skepticism is collected right here.