Now, with the whole world watching the unfolding chaos, would be an excellent time to start that public education process. The president should give a series of major speeches on the nature of the worldwide threat. He must rise above his previous efforts with more blunt, honest and detailed analysis -- not merely well-worn phrases.
But much more is needed. The Senate and House Foreign Relations Committees should hold extensive, high-octane, public, joint, select hearings in the next two months on the nature of the threat. Let the best advocates for each perception testify. Former presidents, princes, generals and specialists should all come and testify. Congress can and must give both depth of analysis and sustained public attention to such a presidential initiative.
The media should give major front-page and top-of-the-news attention to such a great debate. It is not enough for Fox, the Washington Times, The Wall St. Journal editorial page, talk radio, selected authors and the blogs to carry on the debate. The mainstream media should join in giving prolonged prominent coverage in conjunction with such hearings.
In five years we have, remarkably, never had such a sustained effort to publicly debate the nature of the danger. At the outset of the Cold War, Congress spent years holding hearings on the "red menace." Some people think they overdid it. I do not. But it required that sort of an effort to establish the public support and bipartisan judgment over 50 years that communism was, in fact, a worldwide threat to civilizations. It was such a threat; and it was defeated. But only because the public, for 50 years, understood the danger and voted for politicians who were prepared to vote trillions for defense.
Until the American and European publics have become convinced of the present danger to them, we will continue to stumble, take half measures and fail to adequately defend ourselves. Before action, must come belief; before belief must come understanding; before understanding must come education and debate. In the beginning was the word. It is time to begin.
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.