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Grover Norquist's Call for Retreat from Afghanistan

Norquist may genuinely feel that the war isn’t worth the cost even if the surge is working, though I’d like him to explain how abandoning the country to the Taliban, al-Qaeda, and other terrorists is a cost-saving measure over the long-term. He may just be a political opportunist and feel the Republican Party would benefit from turning against a war on which  public opinion is turning increasingly sour. Or maybe the reason lies in Norquist’s ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Norquist is the man most responsible for giving the Brotherhood-tied organizations influence in the Bush administration. In 1998, he founded the Islamic Free Market Institute with money from Abdulrahman Alamoudi, a Brotherhood member who publicly praised Hamas and Hezbollah and was later convicted on terrorism-related charges. Norquist’s Institute also was created with money from a group identified as a Brotherhood front called the International Institute of Islamic Thought.

A lot of attention has been brought to Suhail Khan, a close friend of Norquist’s who became an official in the Bush administration. New videos have surfaced of Khan from 1999 where he spoke in support of the “mujahideen” that die “for the cause of Islam.” He said Muslims are commanded by Allah to “protect our brothers and sisters” in places like Bosnia, Kashmir, Iraq, and Palestine and claimed that in the U.S., Muslims face “outright hatred” and that “mosques are burned. Islamic centers are vandalized, desecrated.” And he admired how “early Muslims loved death, dying for the sake of almighty Allah, more than the oppressors of Muslims loved life.”

Norquist is almost certainly a convert to Islam, which helps explain his affection for these groups and individuals. His wife is a devout Muslim and they have adopted a Palestinian child. When Paul Sperry asked Norquist if he had converted to Islam, all he would say is that it is “personal.”

He timed his call for a “discussion” of a withdrawal well, hoping to create a fissure in the Republican ranks as candidates for the presidency and Congress are forced to defend an unpopular position. The Taliban will launch its offensives in the spring and as with the surge in Iraq, things will have to become bloodier before they can become better. The death toll will rise and so will the deficit, making the war a tempting target for political points.

The Taliban, al-Qaeda, and other terrorists used Afghanistan as a launching pad for attacks on the West. There is no reason to believe that they wouldn’t do the same again. This is a fight that must be won.