This is going to be a terrible column.
People will figure, “If that’s what he recommends while sitting calmly before his computer, what might he call for if he got desperate?” Sorry about that. I will state what I think, not write a mealy-mouth version of what the “pack” thinks in hopes of harvesting your approval. The crisis in Egypt has sent a lesson I learned in 1970 crashing through the years and taking me over.
In 1970 I was running for Congress as a Republican in New York’s old 19th Congressional District. The district was over 80 percent Democratic. The Jewish vote was key. It was a tough sell. I’m not sure I convinced anybody that there could be such a thing as a Jew with a Southern accent! The Democrat, Bella Abzug, won with 52 percent. My campaign manager was my first boss in broadcasting, Tex McCrary, whose other venture into elective politics was to convince Gen. Dwight Eisenhower to run for president in 1952.
One day I was invited to speak before a large Jewish audience. The world was still recoiling from Israel’s spectacular triumph in the 1967 Six-Day War, and I knew no candidate ever went wrong playing the “Jewish Niceness” card, better known as the “Jewish Guilt” card. I played it face-up and stomp-down.
“There is no movement toward peace in the Middle East,” I told them. “We’re the winners. We should start one.” I proceeded to propose that Israel voluntarily and unilaterally withdraw its forces 100 yards from its positions on the east bank of the Suez Canal, giving Egypt the chance to come in and re-open the canal, thereby winning at least a smile from the Arabs and much gratitude from the merchants of the world whose shipping costs skyrocketed with the closing of the canal.
After the speech, McCrary came storming in with fury warping his voice and his tail over the dashboard. “Where-in-hell did that unilateral withdrawal from the east bank of the Suez Canal come from?” he demanded.
Tex was intimidating enough at room temperature. I gagged a little and finally said, “I wanted them to know I’m fair.” That only made Tex angrier, angry enough to lay this “lesson” upon me, which congealed my liberal soul sufficiently to allow significant parts of the real world to beam through and cure me forever.
“Fair?” Tex screamed. “You wanted them to know you’re fair?” They don’t give a damn how fair you are,” Tex continued to roar.
“They want to know whose side you’re on!”
And there you have it. America clearly belongs on the side of the Egyptian military against the Muslim Brotherhood, energetically and unapologetically. We should be on the military’s side in hopes of annihilating the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood, leading eventually to new elections, which may inspire the Egyptian people – knowing what they now know – to see through the Brotherhood’s “One Man, One Vote, One Time” scam and get on the genuine path to decent government.
Such favoritism toward the military is clearly in the interests of America, the 10 percent Christian population of Egypt, the tattered Egyptian economy and all those clear-headed and courageous enough to stand against Iran and not assist Iran’s ambition to turn the world, from Algeria all the way across the Mideast, down through Pakistan and all the way to Indonesia, into a jihadist caliphate. If you care about the survival of Israel, add Israel to the roll-call of beneficiaries of a pro-Egyptian military policy, along with moderate and endangered Arab states like Jordan, Lebanon and the Gulf Emirates.
Why is there a moment’s hesitation in swinging America all-out in favor of the Egyptian military (aid; support; no American boots-on-the-ground!)?
Well, you see, there’s a law that forbids American aid of any kind to any government that grabs power through a coup d’etat.
And that law has us paralyzed. It’s not just Obama, who invited the politically banned Brotherhood to attend his historic Cairo speech in 2009, and his co-Islamophiles. No-Sir-ee! Republicans, conservatives, patriots, aisle-crossers and others, instead of demanding we support Egypt’s military, call instead for more and more dictionaries and law books and experts, and more prayer, fasting and meditation, to ascertain, really now, did the Egyptian military seize power through a coup, almost a coup, something almost like a coup, something materially different from a coup or, if the public cheers, then maybe not a coup?
I would honk politely and give that law a chance to get out of the way. I could build a case that the heroic Hungarian Revolution of 1956 was an anti-Communist coup. So what? There comes a point when you must decide whose side you’re on. And are you going to allow a lame legalism to annul your support of what civilization clearly nominates as the “Right Side”?
The great Jewish sage Hillel famously said, “If I am not for me, who will be?”
In Hillel’s day it wasn’t necessary to add, “And don’t let shame, political correctness or intimidation lure you meekly to the wrong side or keep you from loudly upholding the right!”