Praying for a Terrorist Strike:
The GOP's Newest Political Strategy
Former Republican Senator Rick Santorum made the grand crusade against “Islamic fascism” the central focus of his unsuccessful 2006 re-election effort.The Bush administration has not killed or captured Osama bin Laden for one very good reason - they need him to stoke the fires of fear. As Grigg points out this is nothing new.
On numerous occasions the preening Keystone State solon – who couldn't glance at a mirror without seeing Churchill's bulldog demeanor glowering back at him – insisted that it was the “destiny” of “this generation” to fight an apocalyptic war against radical Islam. Unlike his more equivocal comrades in the Republican branch of the War Party, Santorum made it clear that his preferred “exit strategy” for Iraq would be to invade (or at least bomb) Iran.
After long acquaintance with, and scrutiny of, Mr. Santorum, Pennsylvania's voters decided he was more Church Lady than Churchill,* and gave him a chance to pursue new opportunities in the private sector. So Santorum delivered a suitably melodramatic farewell address and retreated into a comfortable sinecure as a Washington lobbyist.
Despair not for Rick Santorum during that bleak season when he, like Churchill before him, toils in the exile into which he was cast by an ungrateful electorate. He has never abandoned the hope that the American public will come to embrace the wisdom of a generational war. It's just that Santorum has now invested that hope in the murderous intentions of the Islamic fanatics he has warned about. To put the matter bluntly, Santorum is obviously hoping, and perhaps even praying, for Americans to die at the hands of Jihadists.
How else are rational people supposed to understand the following remarks offered by Santorum during a July 7 interview on Hugh Hewitt's syndicated radio program:“[C]onfronting Iran in the Middle East as an absolute linchpin for our success in that region.... And while it may not be a popular thing to talk about right now, and I know public sentiment is against it [namely, the war in Iraq and expanding the conflict to Iran] ... between now and November, a lot of things are going to happen, and I believe that by this time next year, the American public’s going to have a very different view of this war, and it will be because, I think, of some unfortunate events, that like we’re seeing unfold in the UK. But I think the American public’s going to have a very different view....”
Revolting and vile as this is, it is not unique. In fact, these repellent people are firmly and squarely in the interventionist tradition of American politics, in which cheerfully anticipating the death of Americans has a long and venerable history.Grigg concludes with this reminder:
Writing in Foreign Affairs a dozen years ago (excerpt), the late Establishment historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. wrote that “it is to Joseph Stalin that Americans owe the 40-year suppression of the isolationist impulse.”
In 1947, Senator Arthur Vandenberg described Washington's foreign policy at the beginning of the Cold War as that of “scaring hell out of the American people.” In the same year, Senator Robert Taft, who yielded to nobody in his detestation for Communism and other forms of collectivism, described himself as being “more than a bit tired of having the Russian menace invoked as a reason for doing any – and everything that might or might not be desirable or necessary on its own merits.”
Interventionists have always known that Americans aren't naturally inclined to go abroad in search of monsters to destroy, unless the monsters in question kill a suitably large number of Americans. That's why FDR, Dean Acheson, and people of that ilk offered a prayer of gratitude for Josef Stalin six decades ago, and why the likes of Rick Santorum are praying for Jihadists to strike today.Yes, it's true, nothing ever really changes.