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In a presidential election season already featuring a raft of insidious candidate “pledges” pushed by right-wing interest groups hoping to swap endorsements for commitments to their pet biases, it was only a matter of time before what might be termed the “Islamophobia/New World Order pledge” surfaced.
And so it has. It’s being put forth by the Center for Security Policy (CSP), whose founder and president is anti-Muslim propagandist Frank Gaffney (see also here). The 12 points of the latest version of the “Peace Through Strength” pledge sound innocuous on the surface – but a peek beneath the surface reveals a cornucopia of right-wing fears.
This pledge updates a 10-point plan CSP introduced a year ago that was endorsed by a handful of congressional and state candidates. Now, Gaffney has invited all the current presidential candidates to sign this revised oath – but woe to the clueless candidate who does so without first reading the fine print.
Here are its 12 points by title:
1. Maintain a robust defense posture.
2. Invest in our national security.
3. Preserve American sovereignty.
4. Insist that arms control accords enhance America’s security.
5. Preserve and protect the Constitution of the United States.
6. Assure America’s energy security.
7. Secure America’s borders.
8. Protect America from unlawful enemy combatants.
9. Protect the military culture essential to the all-volunteer force.
10. Pursue a foreign policy that supports our allies and opposes our adversaries.
11. Enlist judicial and educational institutions in defending America.
12. Use force only where appropriate and, where that is the case, commit to victory.
Who could be against such modest-sounding concepts? But you might want to take a closer look at the detail provided at the pledge’s website.
Point No. 3, for example, could be subtitled the “Fear of the One World Government Conspiracy” platform. It reads, “Admirers of foreign judicial rulings, international treaties and other ‘transnationalist’ initiatives seek to alter or even supplant the U.S. Constitution and the representative, accountable form of government it guarantees. We must, in particular, thwart efforts like the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST) that would be a building block for world government by turning over control of the world’s oceans to the United Nations.” (This is not true; the Law of the Sea Convention was a multinational treaty that went into effect in 1994 that establishes uniform zones of coastal oceanic jurisdiction. The U.N. hosted the treaty negotiations but does not “control” the oceans in any fashion.)
No. 5 is the inevitable anti-Shariah platform. It drips with hype for the entirely phony threat of Shariah law toppling the U.S. Constitution and turning the nation into a Muslim caliphate. It reads, in part: “Another effort to insinuate foreign law into this country comes from Islamists who seek to bring here the brutally repressive, anti-constitutional doctrine called ‘shariah.’ … One of the most insidious groups promoting this agenda with the express aim of ‘destroying Western civilization from within’ is the Muslim Brotherhood. Even though the Brotherhood’s goal is, therefore, exactly the same as al Qaeda’s, the Obama administration believes we must ‘engage’ the Brotherhood. This is not simply a strategic error of the first order. It is reckless and must be repudiated.” (The Muslim Brotherhood officially renounced violence in the 1970s and is not listed as a terrorist group by the United States.)
No. 7 would mandate the deployment of the military on the U.S. border “where necessary.”
No. 11 would “mandate” what has been unwavering policy in the United States for 220 years: civilian control of the military and military policy. This is an apparent nod to “Patriot” and other conspiracy theorists who believe the government is poised to impose martial law to advance a dastardly plan to destroy U.S. sovereignty.
The CSP pledge request joins a parade of others being peddled this election cycle.
The Family Leader, an Iowa-based conservative Christian group, in July introduced candidates’ “Marriage Vow” pledge to promote traditional marriage. But its original language implying that black families were better off during slavery triggered a controversy that overshadowed its primary purpose – opposing same-sex marriage. Other pledges – to oppose abortion rights, to “investigate harassment of traditional marriage supporters” (presumably by LGBT activists), and to replace the tax code, among others – have been signed by various candidates. All are seeking to replicate the success of Grover Norquist’s 25-year-old anti-tax-increase pledge, which has been signed by 95% of the Republican members of Congress.