Candidates evaluated on keeping America safe - political jihad expert, Walid Phares

Dr. Walid Phares (an academic, author and analyst at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies) prioritizes the choice American voters face in this treatise published in American Thinker, "Vote for National Survival:

Evaluating the Candidates on Freedoms, and Educating the Public:

For the first time since the end of the Cold War, there seems to be a concern about a scrupulous respect for freedom of the press and of expression in some "ideological" quarters of a potential Obama Administration. Although I do believe that the Senator from Illinois has kept a strong record on the necessity of a balanced debate regarding the nation's fundamental issues, and although Senator Biden has been a proponent of free speech, there are signs that radical groups could use Government positions to harass media that would be critical of an Obama Administration on national security grounds.

What's more is the dangerous possibility that (short of a counter Jihadi doctrine) elements of Wahhabi and Khomeinist advocacy circles would take advantage of a "new direction" to strike at the counterterrorism community in the private sector, targeting the advances made for the last seven years in educating Americans about the threat. Such a development would be a red line for the nation's defense. To be direct about it, already under the Bush Administration, the Wahhabi and Khomeinist lobbies have wreaked havoc throughout the bureaucracy, blocking major reforms needed to educate civil servants and citizens to learn about the threats looming over the country and its next generations.

Under a McCain Administration there are no guarantees that the "Jihad-o-phile lobby" will recede, but chances are much higher for new counterterrorism education to make a breakthrough than under an Obama Administration.

Under the latter, Muslim reformers in America won't have an equal chance with the Jihadi pressure groups to have their message received by their communities. Middle East dissidents will have their stories marginalized in the public sector so that it won't perturb the deals to "be cut with the regimes in the region." All that is predictable and projectable, hence the options are really limited if not set in terms of choice.

The Choice:

On the one hand, Senator Obama has a character to be admired and has skills to make other politicians jealous. He would make America look very good. Had we not been in a confrontation with the Jihadist forces worldwide, I would have gladly voted for him. Strange as it may be for many of my colleagues, his alleged "socialism" doesn't intimidate me, nor does his "radical liberalism." America's society will only absorb what it can digest.

On the other hand, Senator McCain is a national hero and a product of real American traditions. I would have liked for him to have been elected in 2000 so that he would have been the Commander in Chief on September 11 (with all respect due to President Bush). There are other men and women who are also qualified to lead this nation in these politically and economically trying times such as Senator Clinton, Governor Romney and others. But our political process has selected McCain and Obama and one of them has to become the President.

"Primo vivere" says the Roman adage. You've got to survive first and you've got to be free too. I have learned this the hard way. Hence in this 2008 Presidential election, I will vote on national security, that is national survival. All other issues are linked to our ability as a nation to make it through these very critical years.

After having reviewed the two platforms from that perspective, and short of discovering what can change my analysis in the next few days, I wish Senator Obama good luck and, as a registered independent, I will vote for Senator McCain for the President of the United States.

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