The Corner

McCain & Graham [Heart] the Muslim Brotherhood

Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham have taken time off from helping install an Islamist government in Libya (mainly the Muslim Brotherhood, with some help from al Qaeda) and calling for the arming of the Syrian “rebels” (mainly the Muslim Brotherhood, with some help from al Qaeda) to heap praise on the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

The post-Mubarak regime for which democracy project enthusiasts like McCain and Graham clamored is poised to try Americans they have taken prisoner. This is a particular blow for the senators because they sit on the board of one of the NGOs at the center of the crisis — the International Republican Institute, a progressive endowment that is a clearinghouse for channeling millions of American taxpayer dollars for “civil society development” across the globe. The IRI has served as a McCain fiefdom since he was given control of it 20 years ago. It is one of the organizations whose members have been accused of violating Mubarak-era Egyptian laws that bar NGOs from receiving foreign funding — laws that the Muslim Brotherhood opposed because they made it harder for the Brothers to rabble-rouse under the guise of “promoting democracy.”

The Brotherhood, of course, actually seeks an Islamic state ruled by repressive sharia law. From the organization’s founding in the 1920s to this very day, its motto has remained, “Allah is our objective, the Prophet is our leader, the Koran is our law, Jihad is our way, and dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope. Allahu Akbar!” Only a few days ago, its Supreme Guide in Egypt reaffirmed that the Brotherhood’s goal is to establish an Islamic caliphate. Its chief sharia jurist, Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, who explains that secular democracy is anathema for an Islamic society, has prescribed a gradual transition to sharia. Just three years ago, the Brotherhood’s leadership explicitly called on Egyptian youth to prepare for jihad — “raising young people on the basis of the principles of jihad so as to create mujahideen who love to die as much as others love to live, and who can perform their duty toward their God, themselves, and their homeland.”

The Brothers, furthermore, have unmitigated contempt for the West and seek the eradication of Israel. Qaradawi promises that Islam will conquer America and Europe and has issued fatwas approving suicide bombings in Israel and against American troops in Iraq. The terrorist organization, Hamas, is the Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch. The Brotherhood’s agents in America have written that their mission here is a “grand jihad” to eliminate and destroy Western civilization from within by sabotage. 

But why should any of that preclude warm words from the ummah’s favorite Republicans? As the Wall Street Journal reports:

Mr. McCain (R., Ariz.) and his delegation of four other senators, three of them Republicans, also hinted at warming relations between conservative American lawmakers and the Muslim Brotherhood, an Egyptian Islamist group whose triumphant performance in parliamentary elections rattled U.S. nerves among U.S. policy makers.

The warm comments mark a climbdown from previous threats by congressmen from both parties that the prosecution of American NGO staff will endanger the $1.3 billion in aid that Washington has given Egypt’s military each year since 1987….

Muslim Brotherhood leaders in Egypt’s newly elected Parliament also told the lawmakers that they would redraft a restrictive NGO law that the deposed regime of President Hosni Mubarak used to repress civil-society organizations.

“After talking with the Muslim Brotherhood, I was struck with their commitment to change the law because they believe it’s unfair,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), who was traveling with Mr. McCain. Mr. Graham and other lawmakers praised the Brotherhood, whose Freedom and Justice Party won a plurality of nearly 50% of the seats in Parliament, as a strong potential partner for the future of U.S. relations with Egypt.

That marks a dramatic change from several months ago, when some Republican politicians reacted warily to the Brotherhood’s rising clout. In April 2011, Mr. Graham said he was suspicious of the Brotherhood’s “agenda,” and that “their motives are very much in question.”

“I was very apprehensive when I heard the election results,” Mr. Graham said on Monday. “But after visiting and talking with the Muslim Brotherhood I am hopeful that … we can have a relationship with Egypt where the Muslim Brotherhood is a strong political voice.”

Well, isn’t that just ducky! Not that we should be surprised, given that the senator has echoed the Brotherhood on everything from the purported need to close Gitmo to suggesting that First Amendment free speech should be curbed to avoid offense to Muslims. Never mind that even the Islamophilic New York Times is less delirious than Graham about the prospects that the Brothers will help resolve the NGO impasse. The Gray Lady notes that while the senator “praised the moderation of the Muslim Brotherhood officials the delegation met,” a spokesman for the Brotherhood “warned the United States against trying to interfere in Egypt’s justice process. ‘Would America allow any foreign agenda of country to interfere in its affairs like this?’”

Well they probably would if they were as dependent on American taxpayer billions as Egypt is. Which reminds us: Why is our country, which is $16 trillion in debt and sinking deeper by the second, giving a dime to Islamist countries that despise us? We can’t afford it. Plus, the more we spend on the region, the more anti-American the region becomes. And why is that? Because, though we may realize that outfits like IRI (and its Democratic counterpart, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs) are outrageously overfunded sinecures for apparatchiks who are between government gigs, mainstream Muslims perceive them as a Trojan Horse designed by the West to corrupt Islamic values and undermine Islamic civilization.

Meantime, as he steers the GOP toward Obama’s goal of cozier relations with Egypt’s Islamists, we are again reminded of how lucky we are to have elected to the senate a real statesman like John McCain — as opposed to one of those rightwing whackjobs like J.D. Hayworth, who clearly lack the foreign-policy depth and nuance to appreciate how moderate the Brotherhood truly is.

Don’t say you weren’t warned. Back in 2008, I argued that McCain’s reputation as a tower of national-security strength is a myth, that “in reality, a McCain presidency would promise an entirely conventional, center-left, multilateralism” — i.e., “the same agonizing over European and Islamic perceptions of America; the same doctrinaire commitment to the alchemy of democracy promotion; and the same fondness for heaping more unaccountable bureaucratic sprawl atop the already counterproductive agencies and multinational institutions that frustrate the United States at every turn” that are staples of Democratic party dogma, and that were on display in the second Bush term.

We did not get the McCain presidency, but we have gotten the McCain foreign policy where truckling to Islamists is concerned. When it comes to the Muslim Brotherhood, it turns out that mavericks and community organizers are on the same page.


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