Ted Cruz Chooses His Foreign Policy Advisers and Oh My God We’re So Screwed

Yesterday, Ted Cruz announced his “national security coalition” advisers, and they’re almost as scary as Donald Trump’s chief foreign policy adviser: Himself.


The coalition, which “will advise Cruz on foreign policy issues,” is composed of a variety of former military experts, political and security analysts, and politicians.

They’re well-suited to advising the man who wants to “carpet bomb” ISIS, as support for invading (or at least bombing) Middle Eastern countries is practically a requirement for joining this club. Elliot Abrams, for instance, was not just a major player in the Iraq war, but he’s been yearning for a war with Iran for some time now.

And even when there are dissenters in the “sure-let’s-bomb-them-to-oblivion” crowd, there’s still plenty to give you pause. Like their views on Muslims.

Andrew McCarthy, for instance, the “former Chief Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York,” wasn’t eager to go into Syria; but when it comes to our endless stream of Middle Eastern wars, he doesn’t hesitate to point the finger squarely at an entire religion as the “threat” facing the west. (Guess which one?)

But next to Frank Gaffney Jr., McCarthy’s views on Islam are downright tame.

Southern Poverty Law Center describes the president of the Center for Security Policy in the following terms:

Once a respectable Washington insider, Frank Gaffney Jr. is now one of America’s most notorious Islamophobes. Gripped by paranoid fantasies about Muslims destroying the West from within, Gaffney believes that “creeping Shariah,” or Islamic religious law, is a dire threat to American democracy. In 1988, he founded the neoconservative turned anti-Muslim think tank Center for Security Policy. He favors congressional hearings to unmask subversive Muslim conspiracies, and was even banned from far-right Conservative Political Action Conference events after accusing two of its organizers of being agents of the Muslim Brotherhood.

“Paranoid fantasies” isn’t an exaggeration. Like McCarthy, he thinks that Michele Bachmann was treated unfairly over her accusations that Huma Abedin (Hillary Clinton‘s right-hand woman) was essentially a Muslim Brotherhood sleeper agent.

There’s also the belief that Twitter is in on the freedom-hating-Islam-loving conspiracy. Whatever it is. And since campaign finance reform is also a targeted effort to ban free speech in order to further that same conspiracy, I guess Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren must be the leaders of the movement. Which only makes sense, since feminists, gay people, Jewish people, and the Left in general are in on the plan, too.

Gaffney hates Muslims so much, he invited a white supremacist onto his show to bash refugees, later claiming that he had somehow missed the racism in an article written by that man that warned how

… “a million wretched, brown-skinned people” wanting to “feed on the wealthy white West” will eventually ensure that “Europe is snuffed out”…

That was in the very first paragraph.

Additionally, Gaffney has literally called for a McCarthy-style committee to root out “civilization jihad” in the government (suggesting that President Obama, Hillary Clinton and Eric Holder may be “enabling” the Muslim Brotherhood’s efforts to destroy the United States).

What about the Gay Agenda™? Don’t worry. Gaffney’s didn’t forget about it, like when he stated that “foist[ing] the radical homosexual agenda” on the military by repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell would bring back the draft.

There’s plenty more where all this came from. (Right Wing Watch has 22 pages of Gaffney-tagged items, and a hatred of Islam and Muslims seems to be the overriding theme.)

Gaffney and McCarthy aren’t even the only ones to see an Islamic conspiracy every way they look.

Right Wing Watch notes how Dr. Michael Leeden, a “freedom scholar at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies,” has also spun conspiracies about Obama:

He argued that Obama is in fact siding with the terrorists: “We have a war to fight and this president isn’t going to fight that war. This president is, if anything, on the other side. He doesn’t like us and doesn’t like the America that we grew up living.”

Ledeen also claimed Obama is “seeking an alliance” with Iran, which is ironic seeing that Ledeen was involved in the arms transfers to Iran while serving in the Reagan administration, as detailed in the Iran-Contra report.

Like Gaffney, Leeden sees plenty of other enemies, too. Like those damned “radical secularists”:

We’re at war with a coalition of radical Islamists and radical secularists. It’s not all one thing, nor is Islam all one thing,” Michael Ledeen, a former Reagan administration official and a Cruz campaign adviser, told me.

Some of Leeden’s conspiracies are just so bizarre and off the wall that it’s hard to imagine how they even came up:

During a debate at the Atlantic Council in March 2010, he said that the government had banned the color green after protests following Iran’s 2009 presidential election, due to its use by the opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi.

Obama’s war on Saint Patty’s day, I guess? Speaking of bizarre ideas, there’s also retired Lt. General Jerry Boykin. Boykin is a former Delta Force officer whose career seems like something out of Hollywood, but his ideas, unfortunately, are better suited to the bronze age. He’s the prophet who predicted the return of an enemy-killing, blood-soaked warrior Jesus:

The Lord is a warrior and in Revelation 19 it says when he comes back, he’s coming back as what? A warrior. A mighty warrior leading a mighty army, riding a white horse with a blood-stained white robe … I believe that blood on that robe is the blood of his enemies ’cause he’s coming back as a warrior carrying a sword.

And I believe now — I’ve checked this out — I believe that sword he’ll be carrying when he comes back is an AR-15.

He’s also encouraged people to buy AR-15s as the “Biblical” thing to do. And that was one of his finer moments of activism. The Southern Poverty Law Center lists some of his worse moments:

… In 2003, President Bush publicly distanced himself from Boykin when it was revealed that he had made anti-Islamic statements and cast the “War on Terror” as a religious conflict while giving speeches at churches in full dress uniform, a violation of regulations. Since his retirement from the military in 2007, Boykin has involved himself fully as a Christian far-right activist and anti-Muslim propagandist. He is currently executive vice president of the Family Research Council, which is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

SPLC also documents a number of specific anti-Muslim comments — like his assertion that parts of the Constitution do not apply to Muslim worshipers:

[Islam] should not be protected under the First Amendment, particularly given that those following the dictates of the Quran are under an obligation to destroy our Constitution and replace it with sharia law.”

— Video for Rick Joyner’s Oak Initiative, 2010

RWW watch has 29 pages on Boykin, and much it is some form of anti-Muslim rhetoric or promotion of Christian supremacy (although his anti-trans commentary is also particularly vile).

There are plenty of other names in the list (including several other members of Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy), but one thing is clear: these people would be dangerous as advisers to a local dog catcher.

Advising a president of the United States? It’s hard to articulate just how big of a disaster that would be.

As for Cruz, he is proud of his affiliation with these conspiracy theorists and anti-Muslim bigots:

“I am honored and humbled to have a range of respected voices willing to offer their best advice,” Cruz said. “These are trusted friends who will form a core of our broader national security team. After two terms of a failed Obama-Clinton foreign policy, our allies are confused and frightened, and our enemies are looking for opportunities. This is the moment for all those who believe in a strong America that is secure at home and respected abroad to come together and craft a new path forward.”

All I can say is, if these are the best advisers Cruz could come up with, he must have a strange definition of strength and respect.

(Image via Andrew Cline / Shutterstock.com)

About Rachel Ford

Rachel Ford is a programmer, and since 8:00 to 5:00 doesn't provide enough opportunity to bask in screen glare, she writes in her spare time. She was raised a very fundamentalist Christian, but eventually "saw the light." Rachel's personal blog is Rachel's Hobbit Hole, where she discusses everything from Tolkien to state politics.