John McCain is supposed to be the presidential candidate best equipped to tackle what he calls “the transcendent challenge of our time: the threat of radical Islamic terrorism.” His speech yesterday to the LA World Affairs Council demonstrates, however, that McCain doesn’t get it.
I have called for major changes in how our government faces the challenge of radical Islamic extremism by much greater resources for and integration of civilian efforts to prevent conflict and to address post-conflict challenges. Our goal must be to win the “hearts and minds” of the vast majority of moderate Muslims who do not want their future controlled by a minority of violent extremists. In this struggle, scholarships will be far more important than smart bombs.
There’s plenty of evidence out there that the most extreme “extremists” are those who’ve been most exposed to the west – and western education: from Osama bin Laden (summer school at Oxford, punting on the Thames) and Mohammed Atta (Hamburg University urban planning student) to the London School of Economics graduate responsible for the beheading of Daniel Pearl. The idea that handing out college scholarships to young Saudi males and getting them hooked on Starbucks and car-chase movies will make this stuff go away is ridiculous – and unworthy of a serious presidential candidate.
Yes, it’s part and parcel of the same idiocy that leads the State Department to embrace “spa days” to “build bridges” with the Arab world and President Bush to open up our aviation schools to Saudi students to “improve understanding.”
Memo to the McCain camp: Go to the dunce corner, read “How Khalid learned his ABCs,” and take that stupid scholarships/smart bombs soundbite out of your boss’s speeches.
While we’re on the subject of Johnny Mac not getting it, if what Heath Shuler says is true, McCain remains as committed as ever to open borders no matter what his lips are telling you:
U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler says he believes Republican presidential candidate John McCain blocked his immigration bill from getting a vote on the U.S. House floor. McCain’s staff denies it.
The Waynesville Democrat spoke to the Rotary Club of Hendersonville on Tuesday. He said the Republican leadership tried to bring the Secure America Through Verification and Enforcement Act to the House floor. They used a provision of House rules called a discharge petition, in which a simple majority can bring to the floor a bill that is stuck in committee.
The petition had 181 of the 217 signatures needed to force a vote on the bill.
“It was going great until McCain blocked it,” Shuler said.
McCain, a U.S. senator from Arizona, called Republicans in Congress and asked them not to sign the petition, Shuler said. He said after McCain’s intervention, Republicans in the House were less willing to sign onto the bill.
“We’ve really slowed down in the last week in Washington,” Shuler said.
A spokesman for McCain denied any involvement, saying the senator has neither taken a position on the SAVE Act nor tried to block anyone from signing it.