The G.O.P.’s Gettysburg

by Frank Gaffney, Jr. –

This week’s anniversary of the sesquicentennial of the battle of Gettysburg is a reminder of the horrific costs of war – and of the dangers of not being prepared to wage and win such conflicts when they arise. It should also serve as a wake-up call about a fratricidal struggle over the failure to learn such lessons that is now going on with the Republican Party.

The latter struggle has not been widely recognized outside of certain conservative and GOP circles. And its mortal peril for the movement and party is going largely unremarked, even as the high cost to the country sure ultimately to be associated with it becomes ever more predictable.

The danger is that the large percentage of Americans who favor what Ronald Reagan aptly described as a posture of “peace through strength” are being disenfranchised. They were long ago abandoned by the sort of “Blame America First” Democrats who took over their party during the Vietnam era – and who populate the Obama administration’s senior echelons.

Now, those voters are being abandoned by many Republicans, too. The GOP leadership is, at best, inattentive and seemingly not personally comfortable with anything but the most platitudinous of national security positions – like “support the troops” and “maintain a strong defense.” At worst, such leaders, and the people they consider most important to the party’s future, are actively embracing libertarian neo-isolationism and the attendant willingness to abandon even these planks.

In short, the GOP and conservative movement are going AWOL on defense, to the point where the brilliant former prosecutor-turned-savant, Andrew C. McCarthy, recently warned in National Review Online: “There is no longer a dominant national-security Right.”

Consider the implications of such a prospect in the era of Obama’s disastrous doctrine of emboldening our enemies, undermining our friends and diminishing our nation:

O    Perpetuating open borders: Last week, the Senate agreed to provide amnesty to way more than 11 million illegal aliens in this country without first securing the nation’s borders. The margin of victory came from fifteen Republicans. To be sure, they thought it important to vote first for political cover to obscure this wholesale dereliction of duty: a “surge” of 20,000 additional border patrol officers and other fig leaf-measures that won’t even close the barn door after the horse is gone.

O    Embracing Islamists: President Obama has gone largely unopposed as he has effected the most sweeping, and catastrophic, realignment of national security policy since Henry Kissinger first touted “détente” as a means of appeasing the Soviet Union. The United States now stands squarely with the Muslim Brotherhood – an organization that the federal government has established seeks our destruction. In some cases, it has even brought avowedly violent jihadists into the White House, most recently Abdullah bin Bayyah, a deputy to the Sunni world’s most influential promoter of shariah, Islamist cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi.

The consequences of this realignment are only beginning to be evident. We are on the wrong side in the effort by secular Egyptians to end the Muslim Brotherhood’s increasingly tyrannical misrule. Four Americans were murdered by the sorts of people we helped bring to power in Libya. And Mr. Obama appears determined to inject the United States into the escalating civil war in Syria – as it happens, in synch with a recent fatwa by Qaradawi calling for jihad against the Assad regime and despite abundant evidence that doing so will require us to help not just the Brotherhood, but al Qaeda.

O Intensifying dangers: Iran, like its strategic partner and technical help-mate North Korea, is amassing the missile and nuclear weapons capabilities needed to execute devastating – and threatened – attacks on the United States. It appears that these will include in due course, if not the near future, the means to wreak “catastrophic” damage by using weapons optimized for electromagnetic pulse (EMP) effects. An attack involving but a single such weapon detonated high over this country could reduce it in short order to an unelectrified and massively depopulated pre-industrial society.

Russia and China have become increasingly brazen in their contempt for an America led by a man their regimes clearly perceive as weak, irresolute and compliant. Both countries are engaged in massive upgrades to their nuclear arsenals and, in the case of the PRC, building as well the capacity to challenge the United States military not just in the Pacific, but worldwide.

O Wrecking our armed forces: The Obama response to such dangers has been a systematic hollowing out of our military, unilateral denuclearization, losing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and dismantling whatever it can of the counter-terrorism capabilities it inherited from the previous administration.

The tragedy – for the nation and for the Republican Party – is that this assault on our national security has gone largely unchallenged by a Loyal Opposition. In fact, it is more and more the case that some self-described “conservatives” and GOP politicians are actively aiding and abetting: the devastation of our immigration laws; the sequestration-impelled evisceration of our defenses via sequestration; the atrophying and dismantling of our nuclear deterrent and missile defenses; and the legitimation and empowering of Islamists, at home and abroad.

Millions of Americans still know enough about history – our own and others’ – to understand that such measures will be formulas for disaster in the future, as they have been in the past. They are entitled to at least one party to represent and act upon such commonsense and time-tested perceptions. If the Republican Party fails to offer that choice, it will neither earn their support nor deserve it. It will be, to paraphrase Abraham Lincoln’s historic observation, a house divided that will not stand. | July 1, 2013


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