Jewish World Review Sept. 28, 2010 / 20 Tishrei, 5771
The Peace Through Strength Pledge
By Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Last week, Republicans in the House of Representatives unveiled with much fanfare their "Pledge to America." It is intended by the GOP leadership to serve as both a campaign platform for winning a new majority and as a program for governing should they succeed.
The document transparently is designed to appeal to those Republicans, Tea Party activists, independents and conservative Democrats who are rallying to the defense of the U.S. Constitution at a moment when it is under assault, in the words of the congressional oath of office "from enemies, foreign and domestic."
Just as the framers saw the need for the immediate amendment of the original Constitution with the Bill of Rights, however, the Pledge to America cries out for a strengthened national security plank. Call it a "Bill of National Security Rights" or, better yet, "the Peace Through Strength Pledge."
As it stands, the House GOP's Pledge treats the Constitution's obligation to "provide common defense" as a kind of afterthought. Just 758 words - a little under two pages of the forty-five in its glossy blueprint for "a governing agenda" - are devoted to mostly hortatory statements about demanding policies, "getting all hands on deck" and passing "clean" troop-funding legislation.
The "Plan for National and Border Security" reads like focus group-tested themes embraced as a sort of issue box-checking exercise. What the times require, though, must be a key element of a defining - and differentiating - platform for a would-be governing party.
There are considerably more pictures in the Pledge booklet than there are substantive commitments on why we need a different approach to national security than has been the practice under Democratic control, and to what end.
A modest suggestion would be to flesh out the Pledge to America with a real national security platform - one that has the advantage of addressing more comprehensively and more definitively the choices facing the country in this critical election.
To this end, leaders of six preeminent national security-minded public policy institutions - including the Heritage Foundation, the Claremont Institute, the Foundation for Defense of Democracy and my own Center for Security Policy - came together earlier this year to define such an agenda. As it is rooted in the tradition and vision of Ronald Reagan, we call it the Peace through Strength Platform.
Some of these points are touched on in the Pledge to America; others are not. But taken together, an amended and augmented Pledge would provide a far more firm basis for appealing to the American electorate. It would also ensure that those elected this Fall have a mandate for leadership in this most important of portfolios, one that promises to stand the country in far better stead during the difficult months and years ahead. One that would be worthy of broad-based political support - and likely to secure it.
To paraphrase President Reagan, if not we, who will offer the leadership necessary truly to meet the constitutional obligation to provide for the common defense? And, if not now, when?
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JWR contributor Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Forces and Arms Control Policy in the Reagan Administration, heads the Center for Security Policy. Comments by clicking here.
© 2006, Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.