As the United States participates in a multilateral effort to establish a no-fly zone over Libya, the conservative media fearmonger that the Obama administration may use the "Gadhafi Precedent" to use military force against Israel. However, Obama has said "[t]he United States is going to be unwavering in its support of Israel's security" and his administration has repeatedly showed support for Israel.
What do you get when you combine the wits of ridiculous conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney and ridiculous conspiracy theorist Andrew Breitbart? You get a wild, obviously baseless theory that, using the precedent of the United Nations Security Council resolution to impose a no-fly zone over Libya, President Obama may one day order a military strike on Israel.
Writing on Andrew Breitbart's website Big Peace, Gaffney states: "There are many reasons to be worried about the bridge-leap the Obama Administration has just undertaken in its war with Muamar Gaddafi. How it will all end is just one of them. What I find particularly concerning is the prospect that what we might call the Qaddafi Precedent will be used in the not-to-distant future to justify and threaten the use of U.S. military forces against an American ally: Israel."
As best I can make out, Gaffney's theory is that Obama will soon agree to a Security Council resolution recognizing Palestine as an independent state. If Israel does not immediately dismantle its settlements in Palestine, Obama will threaten "U.S.-enabled 'coalition' military measures aimed at neutralizing IDF [Israel Defense Forces] forces on the West Bank - and beyond, if necessary." Gaffney then foresees the possibility of "the United States ... actually raining down cruise missiles on Israeli targets in the West Bank, as it has done on Libyan ones at the behest of the Arab League and UN Security Council."
Consistent with long-standing U.S. policy, the Obama administration has criticized the building of new Israeli settlements on the West Bank. But the administration also recently vetoed a U.N. resolution seeking to condemn Israel over its settlements and, in doing so, garnered the thanks of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. So, would the Obama administration really make an about-face and authorize the use of force against Israel?
Of course not. Except in the fevered minds of Gaffney and Breitbart.
In a March 7 Washington Times column headlined, "King of the hill; Lawmaker intends to pull back the curtain on Shariah in the U.S." Frank Gaffney wrote that it "is hard to imagine a more timely and more urgently needed inquiry" than Rep. Peter King's (R-NY) upcoming hearings on Muslim radicalization. Gaffney further stated: "If Thursday's hearing takes the nation to school on the source of such extremism - Shariah - and the role played in promoting it by the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as al Qaeda, every patriotic American, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, will owe Mr. King an enormous debt of gratitude."
From Gaffney's column:
On Thursday, Republican Rep. Peter King of New York will convene in his House Homeland Security Committee one of the most anticipated - and controversial - hearings in memory. The subject? "The extent of radicalization in the American Muslim community and that community's response." It is hard to imagine a more timely and more urgently needed inquiry.
For these among other reasons, Mr. King's hearings provide an invaluable opportunity to examine not just the threat of "extremism" posed by al Qaeda, but also that arising from the Muslim Brotherhood's operations at home and abroad. Absent the latter, it will be impossible to understand either the source of much of what has been dubbed "extremism" in the Muslim-American community or the reason that community has been so deficient in systematically, comprehensively and consistently responding to extremists in its midst.
If Thursday's hearing takes the nation to school on the source of such extremism - Shariah - and the role played in promoting it by the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as al Qaeda, every patriotic American, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, will owe Mr. King an enormous debt of gratitude.
From the March 7 edition of Fox News' America Live:
Loading the player reg...
In a Washington Times op-ed, right-wing pundit Frank Gaffney claimed that President Obama's "record suggests he must be seen as a 'friend of Shariah.'" In fact, Gaffney bases this claim, in part, on the administration's support for an initiative that began under President Bush, as well as the Obama administration's ties to an American Muslim group that the Bush administration also promoted.
Recently, The Laura Ingraham Show hosted Rep. Peter King (R-NY) to make his oft-repeated claim that "80 percent of the mosques in this country are controlled by radical Imams." This claim has been repeated in various iterations by numerous right-wing media figures and anti-Islam activists for more than a decade, and the statistic appears to be entirely based on a single, unsubstantiated claim made by a Californian Muslim cleric in 1999. The cleric later admitted that his criteria of an "extremist mosque" was one that was "focus[ed] on the Palestinian struggle."
From the February 2 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
Loading the player reg...
On Fox News' Fox & Friends, right-wing pundit and former Assistant Secretary of Defense Frank Gaffney baselessly claimed that "Muslim Brotherhood front organizations" are influencing the U.S. government and are pushing "subversive techniques" to impose Sharia law in the U.S. Gaffney has a history of using Fox News to push his conspiracy theories about Sharia law.
From the January 31 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
Loading the player reg...
In arguing against New START, Frank Gaffney falsely suggested the treaty is being pushed through Congress without "rigorous vetting." In fact, there have been about twice the amount of questions asked for the record about the new treaty than the original; moreover, there have been at least 20 Senate hearings on New START - comparable to the amount held to discuss the original treaty.
You know how Dick Morris is almost always wrong about almost everything? Apparently that's a quality the conservative movement appreciates in its water-carriers: Morris and his (presumably) better half, Eileen McGann, are set to receive an award from Frank Gaffney's Center for Security Policy:
The Center for Security Policy New York Board of Regents cordially invites you to celebrate the important work of DICK MORRIS and EILEEN McGANN and present them with the 2010 Mightier Pen Award at the National Security & New Media Conference and Mightier Pen Luncheon
The Center for Security Policy's Mightier Pen Award was inaugurated in 2001 in recognition of individuals who have, through their published writings, contributed both to the public appreciation of the need for robust U.S. national security policies and the perpetuation of military strength as indispensable ingredients in international peace.
I'm guessing Morris first caught Gaffney's attention when he declared that the "crazies in Montana who say, 'We're going to kill ATF agents because the U.N.'s going to take over'" are "beginning to have a case."
In a November 23 Washington Times op-ed, Frank Gaffney wrote that repealing the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law could lead to reinstatement of the draft. Gaffney stated: "If tens of thousands choose not to submit [to the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'] and 'vote with their feet,' as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, has called on them to do, it may become impossible to rely only on volunteers to staff our military." Gaffney continued: "In that case, a vote for repeal of the 1993 law barring homosexuals from the military amounts to a vote for reinstating the draft."
Gaffney further equated the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" with TSA's security procedures, stating: "Being forced to submit to a privacy-rending body scan or pat-down - unpleasant as it may be - is not likely to compare to the trauma that can flow from being forced to submit to showering or sharing a bunkroom with someone who finds you sexually attractive."
From Gaffney's op-ed:
Team Obama's line is that "most" in uniform think there will be no problem, or at least "mixed" good and bad repercussions. But if even an estimated 10 percent choose to leave the service - let alone 40 percent of Marines, who, according to the leakers, think repeal will cause problems - the effect will be traumatic, possibly devastating, for the U.S. armed forces. If tens of thousands choose not to submit and "vote with their feet," as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, has called on them to do, it may become impossible to rely only on volunteers to staff our military.
In that case, a vote for repeal of the 1993 law barring homosexuals from the military amounts to a vote for reinstating the draft.
The right-wing media have recently advanced the conspiracy theory that the $1.8 million grant to NPR from the Open Society Foundations -- which were founded by philanthropist George Soros -- is related to Juan Williams' firing. Andrew Breitbart's websites have dramatically one-upped that conspiracy theory, accusing the White House of having a role in Williams' termination and suggesting that Williams' firing is evidence of a "shariah-mandated stealth jihad" -- perhaps part of a "Muslim Brotherhood influence operation."
The New Republic's Jonathan Chait predicts that the if the Republicans retake the House of Representatives this November, Fox News and the conservative media will drive them to impeach President Obama. Indeed, the conservative media has been banging the impeachment drum since as early as March of 2009.
Tomorrow, the U.S. Senate is scheduled to vote on cloture for the annual defense authorization bill. The bill includes a provision that would authorize the repeal of the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy banning open service by gay men and lesbians. Polls show that an overwhelming majority of Americans support overturning that law.
But the Washington Times -- America's foremost anti-gay daily -- isn't letting DADT disappear without a fight. Tomorrow's edition will include two op-eds rife with the sort of misinformation that conservatives have been pushing throughout the debate.
First up, this screed from Reagan administration official and nutty birther Frank Gaffney. Gaffney's hysterical rant, titled "D-day for the U.S. military," is based on the idea that repealing DADT "could break" the armed forces. (Incidentally, I'm pretty sure that D-day was "D-day for the U.S. military.")
As we've previously noted, these fears have been greatly exaggerated by the anti-gay right. In fact, 25 nations -- including vital U.S. allies like the United Kingdom, Israel, Canada, and Australia -- allow gay men and lesbians to serve openly in their armed forces without a problem. Fears in those countries that permitting open service would hurt retention simply never came to pass. That's why military experts like Chairman of the Joints Chiefs Mike Mullen and former chairmen Colin Powell and John Shalikashvili support repealing DADT.
The Times tastefully illustrates the column with a "Future recruiting poster" featuring Uncle Sam telling possible recruits, "I Want YOU To Be FABULOUS!" Classy.
The Times is also featuring an op-ed from retired Col. Robert Labutta suggesting that allowing gay men to serve openly would somehow lead to an outbreak of HIV in the military. There's simply no evidence to support this conclusion -- as Labutta himself noted, active-duty personnel are regularly tested for the disease, and according to a 2003 study of the impact of the decisions to allow gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the military in the United Kingdom, Israel, Canada, and Australia, "Not a single one of the 104 experts interviewed believed that the Australian, Canadian, Israeli, or British decisions to lift their gay bans ... increased the rate of HIV infection among the troops."