With foreign policy statement, Norton stakes out position on far right

U.S. Senate candidate Jane Norton is pushing controversial positions on terrorism and the war in Afghanistan in a foreign-policy statement posted at her website. The statement will likely give conservative voters concerned with the national debt and the authority of the Constitution pause. Norton writes that officials should be granted the power to suspend Miranda rights when dealing with any terrorism suspects and argues against any proposed timetables for U.S. withdrawal from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The positions she describes and the dark internet ad she posted to accompany them seem designed to win over activist GOP primary voters but, given the serious concerns on the broader right with any suspension of Miranda rights and the testimony on Capitol Hill yesterday from Gen. David Petraeus, commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East and South Asia, and Michele Flournoy, the undersecretary of defense for policy– two architects of the administration’s counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan– Norton’s positions seem particularly off key. Norton writes that decisions on war strategy should be based on the recommendations of military leaders on the ground. Does she know that Petraeus and Flourney repeatedly told incredulous Republican lawmakers that they supported Obama’s timetables for withdrawal from Afghanistan?

In fact, the Norton statement is less policy paper than stump speech, attacking the President and “liberals” as a “retreatist” even though Obama has retreated from neither Iraq or Afghanistan and has sent 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan this year.

The opening:

Barack Obama’s retreatist foreign policy and his defeatist tactics in fighting the War on Terror suggest a President more concerned with political correctness than with defeating the radicals, jihadists, and terrorists who hate America and would harm us and our allies….

The liberals in Washington seem to have forgotten the nature of the threat against us. But we haven’t. Fellow Coloradans, this must stop.

That last sentence is repeated in the video ad and heightened by a momentarily blacked out screen and the sound of airliners meant to reference the 9/11 attacks.

“Our immediate objective is clear: to resist the call for an expedient withdrawal and instead redouble our efforts in denying the Taliban a place to hide,” Norton said on Afghanistan.

Petraeus this week, however, was firm in telling lawmakers he believed in the timetables for withdrawal as a strategy and as a means to ramp up Afghanistan responsibility in the conflict. He and Flourney said the rate of troop reductions would be determined by conditions on the ground and that the Afghan government understands the U.S. commitment to a “long-term relationship” with the country in the form of ongoing aid with security, governance and economic development despite the pending withdrawal.

Norton also writes that defense and intelligence officials should not be barred from using “enhanced interrogation techniques” on suspected terrorists, methods that many groups have labeled torture.

“What’s more, with American lives at stake, terrorists should not be read their Miranda rights,” her paper reads. “I fully support giving our intelligence community the tools they need to get the job done.”

Fox News host Glenn Beck was one of the conservative voices railing against that approach in the wake of the arrest of Faisal Shahzad, the American citizen arrested in connection with the attempted Times Square bombing in May. “This is not time to shred the Constitution,” he said.

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About the Author

John Tomasic

Writer, editor, teacher, web wrangler. He has worked for art, business, culture, politics publications, five universities and a UN war crimes commission. @johntomasic
jtomasic@coloradoindependent.com | 720-432-2128 |

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