The Problem Is Obama, Not Huma Abedin
Why should anyone worry about agents of the Muslim Brotherhood creeping in the back windows of the State Department, when President Obama has invited them to the front door of the White House? This is a time to unify the Republican Party, not split it, and Rep. Michele Bachmann's misstep in the Huma Abedin affair weakened the Republican side. The way to win is to attack Barack Obama directly for coddling the Muslim Brotherhood. Nobody said it better than Caroline Glick in the Jerusalem Post:
Two weeks ago, in an unofficial inauguration ceremony at Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt’s new Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Mursi took off his mask of moderation. Before a crowd of scores of thousands, Mursi pledged to work for the release from US federal prison of Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman. According to The New York Times’ account of his speech, Mursi said, “I see signs [being held by members of the crowd] for Omar Abdel-Rahman and detainees’ pictures. It is my duty and I will make all efforts to have them free, including Omar Abdel-Rahman.”
Otherwise known as the blind sheikh, Abdel Rahman was the mastermind of the jihadist cell in New Jersey that perpetrated the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. His cell also murdered Rabbi Meir Kahane in New York in 1990. They plotted the assassination of then-president Hosni Mubarak. They intended to bomb New York landmarks including the Lincoln and Holland tunnels and the UN headquarters. Rahman was the leader of Gama’a al-Islamia – the Islamic Group, responsible, among other things for the assassination of Anwar Sadat in 1981. A renowned Sunni religious authority, Rahman wrote the fatwa, or Islamic ruling, permitting Sadat’s murder in retribution for his signing the peace treaty with Israel. The Islamic group is listed by the State Department as a specially designated terrorist organization.
After his conviction in connection with the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, Abdel-Rahman issued another fatwa calling for jihad against the US. After the September 11, 2001, attacks, Osama bin Laden cited Abdel-Rahman’s fatwa as the religious justification for them. By calling for Abdel-Rahman’s release, Mursi has aligned himself and his government with the US’s worst enemies. By calling for Abdel-Rahman’s release during his unofficial inauguration ceremony, Mursi signaled that he cares more about winning the acclaim of the most violent, America-hating jihadists in the world than with cultivating good relations with America.
And in response to Mursi’s supreme act of unfriendliness, US President Barack Obama invited Mursi to visit him at the White House.
UPDATE: Mohammed Morsi has just pardoned 25 convicted Egyptian terrorists from Jama'a al-Islamiya and Islamic Jihard, according to the Egypt Independent:
Mohamed al-Zawahiri, brother of Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, has said that the 572 military detainees pardoned by President Mohamed Morsy on Thursday included 25 leaders of Islamic Jihad and Jama'a al-Islamiya [the organization led by the "Blind Sheikh" Abdul Rahman, convicted of the first World Trade Center bombing].
Jama'a al-Islamiya engaged in armed confrontations with security forces in the 1990s, aiming to depose the Mubarak regime and establish an Islamic state. In the late 1990s it renounced its violent, jihadist ideology, and apologized for its attacks that had killed hundreds. Its members were targeted by the intelligence services, but since the 25 January uprising many have been released from prison and it now has a political arm, the Construction and Development Party. Islamic Jihad, which was led in the 1990s by Ayman al-Zawahiri, also renounced violence some years ago [and if you believe this, there's a bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to sell you].
Morsi supports the deadliest terrorist in an American jail, and has just pardoned two dozen of his convicted terrorist minions. Obama invites him to the White House. That's something the voters can understand. And that's where Republicans should focus their fire, not on the murky case of Hillary Clinton's long-time assistant Huma Abedin. Unless Rep. Michele Bachmann et. al. have a smoking gun case against Ms. Abedin, they should stop wasting their time. Yes, Ms. Abedin has family connections to the Muslim Brotherhood. But she's also married to a liberal Jew, former Congressman Anthony Weiner, with whom she is seen pushing a baby carriage in a photo in the July 18 New York Post. The Weiner-Abedin household made it into a People magazine profile this weekend. That's what the voters will see, to the extent they bother. The fact is that no-one cares about Ms. Abedin. For that matter, no-one cares about Hillary Clinton. There's one issue in this election, and that is Barack Obama.
Inviting the blind sheikh's backer to the White House: there's no ambiguity there. It speaks for itself. Barack Obama wants the Muslim world to succeed as an article of faith, and will embrace elected Islamists no matter how outrageously they behave towards the United States. By embracing the odious Mr. Morsi, Obama is doing the Republicans a big favor. If he offers Morsi any aid, he'll be doing us an even bigger favor.
Morsi's visit to the White House also puts the likes of John McCain on the defensive--to the extent that matters. The failed 2008 presidential candidate came off as a gentleman and man of honor defending Ms. Abedin against what seem to be rather murky and indirect charges. The bad news is that McCain still believes that Arab democracy will support American interests. Along with Sen. Joe Lieberman, he sent a congratulatory message to Morsi the moment that election results were announced June 24:
Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) on Sunday congratulated Mohammed Morsi on his election as the new president of Egypt.
"The Egyptian people have spoken," the senators said in a joint statement, "and we respect their choice and look forward to working with President-elect Morsi in a spirit of mutual respect and in pursuit of the many shared interests of the United States and Egypt."
The good news is that no-one cares about McCain. Like George W. Bush, he remains beguiled by the mirage of Arab democracy. As Bush wrote on May 17 in the Wall Street Journal,
America does not get to choose if a freedom revolution should begin or end in the Middle East or elsewhere. It only gets to choose what side it is on.
The day when a dictator falls or yields to a democratic movement is glorious. The years of transition that follow can be difficult. People forget that this was true in Central Europe, where democratic institutions and attitudes did not spring up overnight. From time to time, there has been corruption, backsliding and nostalgia for the communist past. Essential economic reforms have sometimes proved painful and unpopular.
It takes courage to ignite a freedom revolution. But it also takes courage to secure a freedom revolution through structural reform. And both types of bravery deserve our support.
Much as I like the man personally, George W. Bush was a disaster for his country and his party, squandering the enormous mandate he received after 9/11 to the point that a first-term senator from Illinois could walk into the White House. The delusion that democracy can be exported help cost the Republicans the 2008 election. McCain continues to push for U.S. intervention in Syria, despite massive public opposition to an American role. Intervening in Syria is the dumbest thing America could so. As I argued in this space on June 13, we should neutralize Iran and let the Syrian business play out as it might. We don't want the pro-Iranian Alawite regime to keep control, and we don't want an opposition dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood to take power. The solution that best corresponds to American interests is "none of the above," and we should do our best to arrange that.
The best way to deal with the rancid leftovers of the Bush Freedom Agenda and its affection for elected Islamists is to ignore them. There is no consolation for the Republican establishment. After more than 6,500 American dead and nearly ten times that number wounded, not to mention scores of thousands of disrupted lives, and a trillion-dollar expense, we might say that the supposed universal human yearning for freedom was a weak hook on which to hang American foreign policy. If you sent the soldiers off to die and spent the taxpayers' money, though, it's hard to admit that this is your legacy.
Put the onus on Obama. Let McCain explain, if he wants to, why it doesn't bother him that Morsi wants to spring the blind sheikh of the World Trade Center bombings. No-one will care what McCain says. As for Ms. Abedin: she might be a threat to national security in her State Department perch, but she'd have to take a number to do any harm. There are a couple of dozen Obama appointees at State who worry me a great deal more, not to mention a president.
This is an election, not a battle of the blogs. Obama is soft on the declared enemies of the United States. Hit the hot button and stay on message.