A few weeks back, the John McCain & Lindsey Graham roadshow made its way to Brotherhood Central in Cairo, with newcomer Kelly Ayotte in tow. Senator Ayotte appears to have filled the void created by Joe Lieberman’s retirement — after all, when you have Republicans, who needs another Democrat? The former trio is best remembered for its Tripoli triumph of late 2009, when the three kicked back in the Qaddafi compound and toasted our newly cozy relations with the dictator. The bipartisan solons then winged their way home in time to second the Obama State Department’s increase in funding for the Libyan dictator’s regime. After all, they reasoned, Qaddafi was our hedge against Libya’s jihadists. As is their wont, though, the solons soon dazzled us with a 180, suddenly deciding that what we really needed to do was back Libya’s jihadists in their war against Qaddafi. The rest, as they say in Mali, is history.
So the GOP brain trust now brings this Midas touch to Egypt, rallying behind Obama’s cozy relations with the new “Islamic democracy.” That would be the Brotherhood’s rapidly unraveling sharia basket case, into which our own bankrupt government has so far sunk nearly 3 billion U.S.-taxpayer dollars, with more billions soon to come through U.S.-backed IMF loans and, yes, sophisticated U.S. weaponry. Any moment now, as it was in turbulent Libya, the ground in Egypt is certain to shift, or crater. When it does, who knows whose side the senators will have us on . . . and who knows what American enemies may be wielding that U.S. weaponry?
Senator Paul, by contrast, has three ideas that seem positively batty to the McCain gang. First, he thinks that American foreign policy ought to be premised on American national interests, not on the shifting notions of “global stability” popular at the Wilson School and the Council on Foreign Relations. Second, he suggests that when we give aid and arms to anti-American Islamists, bad things tend to happen to America. Finally, Paul believes the foundation of American foreign policy is, of all quaint things, the United States Constitution. The Framers gave Congress not merely the authority but the duty to thwart executive excess. On the international stage, that primarily means the power of the purse, which enables the people’s representatives to defund such madness as the arming of Islamic supremacists.
So Senator Paul tried to stop weapons transfer. His amendment, however, was defeated 79–19, because 23 Republican senators opted to follow the lead of McCain, Graham, and Ayotte. They joined all Senate Democrats (and a couple of nominal “independents” who are, in effect, Democrats) in voting to “table” the Paul Amendment. “Tabling” is a bit of procedural chicanery, allowing senators to defeat Paul’s amendment yet pretend to the folks back home that they didn’t actually vote “against” it.
Don’t be fooled. The choice here was simple: Stand with the Muslim Brotherhood or stand with the American people. Nearly two-thirds of Senate Republicans went with the Brothers.
Let’s be clear about whom Republicans have voted to arm. In late 2010, as I detail in Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy, Mohammed Badi, head of the Muslim Brotherhood, called for violent jihad against the United States and Israel. The “Supreme Guide” gleefully added, “The United States is now experiencing the beginning of its end, and is heading towards its demise.” The Brotherhood took pains to post this speech on its Arabic-language website, reflecting its official position.
Badi’s sentiments would have been no surprise to anyone who had been paying attention. It had not been long, after all, since the Holy Land Foundation trial, in which the Justice Department proved that the Brotherhood regards the core mission of its U.S.-based affiliates (such organizations as CAIR, the Muslim Students Association, and the Islamic Society of North America) to be, as the Brothers themselves put it, “a grand jihad in eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within” by “sabotage.” Prosecutors further demonstrated that the Brotherhood’s principal activity in the U.S. since the late 1980s has been the financing and promotion of Hamas, a formally designated terrorist organization to which it is a serious federal felony to provide material support. Lo and behold, since the moment the Brotherhood took power in Egypt, promoting and legitimizing the leadership of Hamas has been at the top of its agenda.
Mohamed Morsi, a leading Brotherhood official, became Egypt’s president last summer — just as his close associate, the aforementioned Supreme Guide, was railing that all Muslims, including rulers, must “wage jihad in Allah’s way” in order to reverse the “usurpation” of Palestine by the “murdering Zionist criminals.” In his very first public pronouncement after winning the presidency, Morsi called for the United States to release Omar Abdel Rahman. That would be the “Blind Sheikh,” who is serving a life sentence for terrorism convictions, and who has been credited by Osama bin Laden with issuing the fatwa that approved the 9/11 attacks. Al-Qaeda quite sensibly gleaned that fatwa from this statement about Americans that Abdel Rahman made following his conviction:
Muslims everywhere . . . dismember their nation, tear them apart, ruin their economy, provoke their corporations, destroy their embassies, attack their interests, sink their ships, . . . shoot down their planes, [and] kill them on land, at sea, and in the air. Kill them wherever you find them.In addition to calling for the Blind Sheikh’s return to Egypt, where such sentiments are common, Morsi has directed the release of many terrorists who had been incarcerated during President Hosni Mubarak’s tenure — Mubarak having had a close counterterrorism partnership with the United States. Morsi further failed to protect the American embassy from being overrun by Islamist rioters. When, after several calls from an embarrassed White House, Morsi finally dispersed the rabble-rousers, he left intact the longstanding encampment where Egyptians continue to agitate for the Blind Sheikh’s release.
Prior to his election, Morsi promised that his top imperative would be the imposition of sharia, Islam’s totalitarian legal code and societal framework. He has been true to his word, recently orchestrating the imposition of a new sharia constitution — the heavy-handed gambit that has horrified minorities and sent Egypt reeling into its latest chaos. Sharia constitutions are apparently fine with Senator McCain these days, but as we saw in his vertiginous positions on Qaddafi, the GOP’s guru of choice is not exactly a model of consistency on this point.
In a 2011 interview with Der Spiegel, the senator declared, quite correctly, that “sharia law . . . in itself is anti-democratic — at least as far as women are concerned.” Thus McCain then insisted that the sharia-driven Brotherhood — which he accurately described as “a radical group” that “has been involved with other terrorist organizations” — “should be specifically excluded from any transition government” in Egypt. Yet, now that the Brothers are the government, McCain would have us to arm them.
Meanwhile, under Morsi’s leadership, Egypt is seeing the widespread persecution of Christians and other religious minorities. In many areas, police and Islamist vigilantes now enforce sharia standards on the streets, just as they do in Saudi Arabia and Iran. And recordings recently surfaced of Morsi calling Jews the “descendants of apes and pigs” — “blood-suckers” for whom Muslims “must not forget to nurse our children and grandchildren on hatred,” including “hatred . . . for all those who support them.” [Memo to Republicans: “Those who support them” refers to . . . the American people.]
I could go on, but as Beltway supporters of America-hating Islamists like to say, “What difference does it make?” Still, just in case it makes any difference to you, here are the Republican senators who shamefully voted to provide Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood government with F-16s and Abrams tanks: Alexander, Ayotte, Barasso, Blunt, Burr, Chambliss, Coburn, Cochran, Collins, Corker, Enzi, Flake, Graham, Hatch, Hoeven, Inhofe, Isakson, Johanns, Johnson, Kirk, McCain, McConnell, Murkowski, Portman, Toomey, and Wicker.
Kudos to the 18 Republicans who joined Senator Paul in trying to stop the arming of America’s enemies: Boozman, Coats, Cornyn, Crapo, Cruz, Fischer, Grassley, Heller, Lee, Moran, Risch, Roberts, Rubio, Scott, Sessions, Shelby, Thune, and Vitter. Common sense is on their side. Sadly, history is sure to follow, and probably soon.
— Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior fellow at the National Review Institute and the executive director of the Philadelphia Freedom Center. He is the author, most recently, of Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy, which is published by Encounter Books.