Sunday, August 22, 2010

Republican Fear-Mongers Endanger Our Troops and America

Q: Unwrap the American political party that wraps itself in the flag and what do we find?

A: The Republican Party filled with rabidly anti-American hatred for our country masquerading as "patriotism." Or as Nicholas Kristof writes in the New York Times: "It is mind-boggling that so many Republicans are prepared to bolster the Al Qaeda narrative, and undermine the brave forces within Islam pushing for moderation."

Or as Frank Rich writes:

So virulent is the Islamophobic hysteria of the neocon and Fox News right... that it has also rendered Gen. David Petraeus's last-ditch counterinsurgency strategy for fighting the war inoperative. How do you win Muslim hearts and minds in Kandahar when you are calling Muslims every filthy name in the book in New York?

You'd think that American hawks invested in the Afghanistan "surge" would not act against their own professed interests. But they couldn't stop themselves from placing cynical domestic politics over country. The ginned-up rage over the "ground zero mosque" was not motivated by a serious desire to protect America from the real threat of terrorists... but by the potential short-term rewards of winning votes by pandering to fear during an election season.

As a former Republican, father of a Marine who was deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq, as someone who's pro-military books John McCain once endorsed, a close personal friend of the late Jack Kemp, with famous evangelical leader parents who were visitors to several Republican presidents etc., I still consider myself a conservative. It is the Republican Party that has changed. It is now dangerous to America's well being. (I describe my journey out of the Republican fold in Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All -- or Almost All -- of It Back )

Republicans are no longer conservatives. They no longer even support the military. They are willing to risk American lives by ramping up anti-Islamic fear when this clearly plays into the hands of the people shooting at our sons and daughters.

Since when was true conservatism about stoking paranoia? Or as James Zogby put it so well on Huffington Post: "Seen in this context, the hysteria about the Muslim community center being planned near Ground Zero is not just a protest against a building and a place. It is rather the latest chapter in this evolving campaign that exploits fear by preying on uncertainty and insecurity."

Here's what todays' extremist anti-conservative Republicans "stand" for:

  • The needless killing of 4734 American service men and women in a bogus war in Iraq based on lies

  • Anti-Islamic rhetoric that makes our troops and all American citizens targets. You can bet that Republican "patriots" will be directly responsible for Americans in uniform being killed by terrorists recruited by clips of anti-Islam Republicans -- like Newt Gingrich -- spouting their venom

  • A torrent of lies - "he's not an American," is a "secret Muslim," wants "death panels..." etc., --- about our President

  • Working against the economic revival of America for political - "I hope Obama fails" - reasons

  • Outsourcing and "privatizing" more and more functions of our military, turning our once proud military into a mercenary army outnumbered by "contractors"

  • Leading the racist, xenophobic anti-immigrant charge

  • Trying to repeal the 14th Amendment in order to preserve white power and prevent the "wrong" sort of babies - read brown and black - from becoming citizens

  • Turning the Republican Party over to the likes of Rush Limbaugh and the "Tea Party" rabble of professional xenophobes and haters of the "other"

  • Turning the Republican Party's "foreign policy" strategy over to people who believe that war in the Middle East is a good thing, a harbinger of the "return of Christ" (no kidding)

  • Uncritically linking American interests inexorably to the pro-illegal West Bank settlements far right in the State of Israel and thus keeping America on a permanent war footing with the entire Arab and Muslim world

  • Undermining environmental legislation

  • Turning our democracy over to corporate America by backing the (Republican appointed) Supreme Court's decision to allow corporate money to deform all future elections

  • Backing the fast food and other corporate interests as they invade our cash-strapped schools with advertisements and "sponsorship" programs in order to target children with their "message"

  • Backing the oil companies' rape of the earth

  • Undermining investment in new energy technologies

  • Undermining the renewal of infrastructure

  • Fighting to keep taxes on the rich low and taxes on the middle class high

  • De-funding public transport and setting America decades behind the rest of the world

  • Giving aid and comfort to religious extremists, bigots and racists

  • Selling out to the anti-family "family values" lobby

  • Discriminating against gay men and women even when it undermines the effectiveness of our military


Republicans say they "love America." Then why are they ready to aid and abet terrorists who are killing American soldiers by handing them a propaganda/recruiting victory?

What today's "Republicans" love is a white far right America that has less and less to do with the America most people here and around the world look to for hope for a better humanity. Limbaugh's America, Fox News' America, Tea Party America, is a cranky, oppressive, hate-filled "America" that is crushing the ideals of liberty, fairness, tolerance and community.

In today's morally bankrupt Palin/Gingrich/Fox/Murdoch Republican "America" men and women in uniform are being sacrificed to domestic politics because selling fear works, even when it is against our national interests.

Frank Schaeffer is a writer and author of Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back