Before the upcoming election, the GOP is looking to restore its traditional polling advantage on national security with virulent criticisms of President Obama’s handling of foreign affairs. But as MSNBC’s Chuck Todd pointed out last September, “No president since George H.W. Bush has had more foreign-policy successes happen under his watch than President Obama,” and Americans have given Obama high marks for his counter-terrorism strategy.
So when some Republican officials and conservative activists need to lash out at President Obama’s foreign policy credentials, they turn to right-wing talk show host and anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney for help. Gaffney uses his Secure Freedom Radio program and Washington Times column to level outlandish charges against the president, including calling Obama “America’s first Muslim president” and alleging that he is likely a secret Muslim and raising doubts about his birth certificate.
On Wednesday, Rep. Allen West (R-FL) joined Gaffney in distorting a quote from an anonymous State Department official regarding the successful dismantling of Al-Qaeda and the administration’s aversion to using the phrase “war on terror.” West told Gaffney that the official’s words meant Obama had “signed a surrender agreement.” Later, he pointedly used the president’s middle name in calling for the defeat of “Barack Hussein Obama” and said that the president has been “absolutely horrible as far as the national security of the United States of America and the foreign policy relations in the Middle East.” Rep. West also suggested that “radical Islamist groups” have seized control of Libya after the rebellion and NATO effort which toppled Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, even though Libya’s National Transitional Council explicitly banned religious parties.
Gaffney: Congressman West, just in the past twenty-four hours as you know there is an unnamed State Department official who kind of has personified this witlessness or worse this submission to the Brotherhood with the comment, ‘the war on terror is over.’
West: I know, I’m going to pop a bottle of champagne tonight, I guess we just raised the flag. I don’t know who signed the surrender agreement but I guess it’s all done.
Gaffney: Well if anybody has I’m afraid it’s us, but the question I’m working to get at is, can we realistically expect from an administration that seems to be indulging in this idea, the sort of leadership that you’re talking about on so many of these fronts?
West: No. That’s the short answer to your question. The Obama administration has been absolutely horrible as far as the national security of the United States of America and the foreign policy relations in the Middle East, especially with these actors like you say, with the Muslim Brotherhood, totally misread what was happening in Libya, now we have more radical Islamist groups that are controlling these countries throughout the Maghreb, which is North Africa. So this is why we have to have a sure shift in the leadership of this country and it starts on high with President Barack Hussein Obama and we have to have him replaced.
Last week, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) appeared on Gaffney’s show to discuss a recent executive order regarding INTERPOL. In the interview, Paul attempted to link INTERPOL to Egypt’s prosecution of American NGO employees, who have since left the country. Paul blatantly distorted the executive order by insisting that Obama gave INTERPOL “diplomatic immunity.” ABC’s Kristina Wong points out the executive order does not give INTERPOL agents diplomatic immunity and only extends to them privileges regarding different federal taxes and custom duties.
Paul also suggested that INTERPOL is involved in investigations of “religious crimes,” even though the group is prohibited from “political, military, religious or racial” interventions and on Monday “refused a request by Egypt to issue worldwide arrest warrants” for the fifteen US employees. The senator later claimed that Obama “has very little regard for the rule of law or for the Constitution”: very little regard for the rule of law or for the Constitution”:
Paul: As you’ve pointed out in some of your articles that INTERPOL’s been given diplomatic immunity here, INTERPOL has also extradited religious people who are accused of religious crimes from other countries.
Gaffney: This business about the executive order that the President issued concerning INTERPOL is again a place where we have I think we have very, very much the same concerns. Do you believe Senator Rand Paul that we are looking at a President who is disposed, at least in principle, to having this extra-constitutional role played by INTERPOL, perhaps in this case, perhaps in some others, might result in American citizens not being allowed to have the protections that the Constitution affords them from unreasonable search and seizure, among other things.
Paul: Yeah, I think this President has very little regard for the rule of law or for the Constitution.
In another case of right-wing paranoia, sports-reporter-turned-“terrorism analyst” for the Christian Broadcasting Network Erick Stakelbeck told Gaffney in an interview yesterday that Obama is intentionally bringing the Muslim Brotherhood to power in the U.S. and abroad so he and “the rest of his compadres on the radical Marxist left” can work with “hardcore Islamists” to push “the downfall of Judeo-Christian Western civilization.” Gaffney agreed and went even further, saying that Obama has “not only a deep background in the radical left but also of course considerable experience with Islamists, certainly with Islam himself” and is the “personification” of the “Red-Green” axis between the left and radical Islamists:
Stakelbeck: They are welcomed in to the inner sanctum and they are whispering in our leaders’ ears, telling them, ‘Hey the Muslim Brotherhood has reformed, they have renounced violence, we can deal with these guys, you need to embrace them and use them as a counterweight against the really bad guys and Al-Qaeda.’ That’s exactly what’s happening, our leaders are letting them in through ignorance in many cases, but in other cases and I believe in the case of President Obama, he knows exactly what the Brotherhood is all about, and for him and the rest of his compadres on the radical Marxist left, empowering Islamists is just a case of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Hardcore left, hardcore Islamists, both seek the downfall of Judeo-Christian Western civilization, so they must be embraced by the left.
Gaffney: Wow. This is of course a very powerful indictment, Erick Stakelbeck of ‘Stakelbeck on Terror,’ and I must tell you the only quibble that I guess I would have with what you’ve said is the President brings to the party of course not only a deep background in the radical left but also of course considerable experience with Islamists, certainly with Islam himself, and in a way he kind of is the personification of what’s been called the Red-Green axis, it comes together with him.