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Republicans Should Follow Santorum

He isn’t afraid to call it like it is

How do you garner public opinion when you fail to properly define the terms of debate? The Bush Administration for years has been peddling the concept of a Global War on Terror (commonly referred to with the acronym GWOT). This concept is a logical fallacy, for how can you possibly define an enemy by its tactic? There are environmental terrorists engaging in harmful activity all across this nation, yet surely they are not included under the umbrella of the GWOT.

Speaking to the National Press Club on July 20, Sen. Rick Santorum properly defined the conflict that we currently find ourselves engaged in. “In World War II we fought Nazism and Japanese Imperialism. Today we are fighting Islamic fascism. They attacked us on Sept. 11, because we are the greatest obstacle in front of them to their openly declared mission of subjecting the entire world to their fanatical rule.”

This is a more proper definition of the enemy that we are at war with. The primary failure of the Bush Administration’s foreign policy has been its lack of willingness to properly define the enemy and convince the American people of the necessity of establishing a democracy in the Middle East. Terrorism, while an awful, brutish tactic, is not something which the American people feel can be defeated. There is no real threat from “terrorism” as it is such a generic term as to leave the people confused and uncommitted. Additionally, it functions on the assumption that Americans are ignorant and are not aware of what the true nature of the enemy is.

Thankfully, President Bush seems to be taking cues from Santorum. Speaking on the day that British intelligence agents foiled a terrorist plot, President Bush stated that “this nation is at war with Islamic fascists.” By properly defining our enemy, the Administration can provide a rallying point for Americans. At this point in our conflict, Americans feel disconnected and unconcerned about our security. There has been no attempt to engage the American people in this conflict, and this is largely a failure of communication. If the President and Republicans wish to see a reversal in recent polling trends showing a lagging support of our foreign policy efforts by Americans, they must begin to publicly define and confront the enemy that we all know that we are engaged with.

This will further provide a backdrop for our necessary involvement in the conflict with the nations of Iran and Syria. If we are simply engaged in a war on “terror,” it would take an act of terror being perpetrated on the U.S. for Americans to accept any action against these nations that seek our destruction. This is also, I presume, a fundamental reason that support for the Iraq venture is so flailing. If the war is against terror, our invasion of Iraq seems unfounded in the minds of most Americans. However, if this war is against ideological lunatics that seek our destruction, the case for invasion of Iraq could not be stronger.

With mid-term elections looming, and support of our foreign policy at an all-time low, Republicans must take their cues from Senator Santorum. A more staunch defender of the fight against Islamic fascism cannot be found in Washington. Santorum commands an understanding of the conflict and the ramifications of our lack of will against this enemy that few can rival. Additionally, he possesses an ability to speak on this issue in clear terms that the people can understand and rally behind. The President has begun to recognize that there is no better spokesman for his foreign policy than Santorum, and other Republicans must begin to recognize the same.

Although support for the Iraq war is unpopular in the polls, the conflict that we are engaged is much larger than one armed conflict. Democrats think that they stand to gain seats in November almost exclusively as a result of lagging public support for Iraq. However, Republicans have an opportunity to expand the public’s understanding of this conflict, and to gain support of a nation that sees Democrats as a party that wishes to bury its head in the stand and refuse to confront our national security problems. Especially considering the recently foiled terrorist plot by the British, the national conscience is primed to be convinced that we are in a global conflict with a fanatical enemy, and that this enemy must be defeated if our society is survived. Santorum, in the electoral fight of his life against Robert Casey, Jr., has recognized that the people are looking for a leader. The question remains if other Republicans will pick up this banner and begin to address the enemy that we are actually engaged with, rather than the tactic that they choose to employ.

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Written By

Mr. High is a political activist and editor of FreePA.org.

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