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September 4--  NewsMax reports Newt Gingrich of Georgia says the U.S. has bigger fish to fry than President Obama's proposed attack on Syria.

"Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich urged Congress Tuesday to "vote no" on a military strike against Syria and instead begin debate on what he described as even bigger strategic challenges for the United States and the world.

"The most powerful nation in the world does not need a three- or four-week debate about a limited, symbolic, tactical use of power," the Georgia Republican wrote Tuesday in an opinion piece for CNN, as he urged Congress to "vote no on a meaningless public relations use of military force against [Syrian President Bashar Assad].

"What we do need are three debates about very large strategic challenges," he added, referring to Iran's nuclear program, the spread of radical Islamism, and the vulnerabilities in the U.S. military being created by "budgetary drawdowns."

"Each of these challenges is massively bigger and vastly more important to our survival than the symbolic Syrian attack," Gingrich said.

The former 2012 GOP presidential candidate, now a co-host of CNN's "Crossfire," said that "launching a few missiles at Syria" as a tactical action "will not change history." But he insisted that refusing to address the three challenges he laid out would have much larger repercussions.

Citing what he said were 12 years of doing nothing to address Iran's nuclear development efforts under both Presidents Obama and Republican George W. Bush, Gingrich said the time has finally come for "a national debate about stopping Iran from getting nuclear weapons."

"We did nothing decisive for seven years under President George W. Bush even after he described Iran as part of the axis of evil (along with Saddam Hussein's Iraq and the North Korean dictatorship). In the first five years of Obama's administration, we have continued to do nothing decisive. Meanwhile, day by day the Iranian dictatorship works at acquiring nuclear weapons," he said.

Gingrich called for a similar debate on the "threat of radical Islamism."

"From Benghazi in Libya to the opposition to [Assad] in Syria to the unrest in Egypt, there is overwhelming evidence the death of Osama bin Laden did nothing to defeat radical Islamists," he continued. "There are more of them today than ever and more coming from Western Europe and America to join the fight in Syria.

"When Chechen Muslim terrorists set off a bomb in Boston, there is clear evidence that the war against radical Islamists is going to be bigger and harder than anything for which we have prepared. This is a vastly more important topic [than] a brief missile assault on [Syria]."

Finally, Gingrich said there must be a debate on "the budgetary drawdowns in the American military [that are] rapidly creating a generation of vulnerabilities unlike anything we have seen since Pearl Harbor in 1941.

"For 72 years, we have lived in a world of massive American power. The decline of the Navy, the gradual obsolescence of the Air Force, the shrinking of the Army and Marine Corps, and the emergence of new technologies are all combining to create a national security challenge of historic proportions," he continued, adding that a debate about reforms to ensure the adequate "sizing and funding of American defense forces" is "vastly more important to our survival and safety than a mere skirmish in the Mediterranean against Syria."

"Both parties in Washington are unprepared for the three debates that matter," Gingrich concluded, accusing the nation's leaders of preferring to deal with "trivia to stay busy" so they won't "have to face the really big issues."