If conservatives had any fewer brains, they’d be brain dead. With calls for nuking Iran and killing Iraqi civilians to get the job done, Ann Coulter is not exempt. In her address to the UC Irvine community on May 22 in the Student Center, it was difficult to distinguish between criticism and vicious slander. Her constant references to Senator Barack Obama as “Barouk Hussein Obama” could not even be considered comic relief.
However, she did acknowledge that conservatives are severely lacking in the leadership area—but is this because of the lack of qualified candidates for the Republican nomination or because conservatives are less suited for the highest office in the U.S. government, as shown by our Republican president?
Now that the bitter battle between the Democratic nominees is coming to a close, it’s time for the Republicans to discredit their “soft” opponents. Coulter repeatedly hailed the current administration for preventing acts of terror through the War on Terror.
I think her credibility was lost right there. The supposed “success” of the tactics used by the current administration has come at the cost of basic human rights allotted to American citizens at the constitutional level. Furthermore, the administration has humiliated individuals held at Guantanamo Bay without formal charges and due trial, a fact that Coulter denies.
Instead, Coulter compared Guantanamo to a hotel with footbaths and toilets. When she heard of Qurans being flushed down toilets at Guantanamo, she was surprised at the luxury of Guantanamo having toilets rather than latrines.
Coulter accused liberals of adopting a “do-nothing” strategy. “Obama is now proposing he’ll sit down and have talks with Iran and Syria. First of all, we have the ability to talk to Iran. [President George W.] Bush has a telephone,” she said.
Although Coulter missed the point completely, I doubt that Senator John McCain would be able to use one at his age. Since McCain will pursue the same policy as the current administration, he may continue to deepen the problems in the Middle East by promoting unequal settlement rather than reconciliation.
Coulter then compared the terrorists in Iraq to Democrats, “The heart of the insurgency in Iraq is composed of people who hate the great Satan, who overnight in bags and are willing to travel to kill Americans. They’re like Democrats with more gumption,” she said.
Let me remind you that this insurgency is a direct result of the invasion of Iraq by a Republican administration. But the battering of Iraq is not enough for Coulter, just as Obama’s plans for communication with Iran are not the solution in her opinion.
Coulter argued we should learn from history. “We didn’t crush the Germans sufficiently the first time—that was the lesson of history. You don’t want them to like you; you want them to fear you. … Nothing produces gentle behavior like enormous physical pain,” she said.
Indeed, Germany was crushed by the First World War and the Versailles Treaty. This “crushing” made its population susceptible to the extreme ideas of the Nazi leadership.
What about the solutions for “rogue nations,” such as Iran? “If we’re going to nuke Iran first and then chit-chat, then I can applaud that,” she said. Coulter’s claim met with applause from the audience, making any sane audience member question what the rest of the public was cheering for.
This was especially true when she called the drawn-out Iraq War “a little too humanitarian,” saying that overthrowing a dictator (which was not the primary goal of the war) was worth the sacrifice of innocent lives. As she invoked her crushing-Germany analogy again, there was more applause from the audience.
While the content of Coulter’s speech indicated her misunderstanding of global problems and inability to comprehend the meaning of diplomacy, the fact that there was an assembly of individuals applauding her calls for nuclear confrontations and increased violence in the Middle East was a rude awakening—the public’s obvious misunderstanding of current American foreign policy cannot be overlooked.
Frida Alim is a first-year political science major. She can be reached at email@example.com.