Given the Democrats' track record of investigating Republican administrations, they will lack credibility when they protest Republicans investigating actions by the Obama administration. Oversight is a primary function of any Congress.
The new Republican House majority is expected to conduct several investigations. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), the new chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has promised to lead six of them, including one that according to Issa's spokesman, Kurt Bardella, will focus on the "institutional culture of waste, fraud and abuse," within the federal bureaucracy. To be credible, these investigations must expose Republicans as well as Democrats because misspending the public's money is one of the few bipartisan activities remaining in Washington.
The investigation that has the potential to produce the most controversy is one promised by Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.). According to the Washington Post, King, who will head the Homeland Security Committee, has promised to examine the "radicalization of some Muslims in the United States and the extent to which American Muslims are cooperating with law enforcement authorities. He also plans to probe homeland security issues."
It is a worthy pursuit, but that examination should also include an investigation of the Obama administration's Justice Department and its approach to rooting out terrorist suspects and how it may have treated them with kid gloves because of political pressure from identity groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
Already one hears familiar cries of "McCarthyism" from the left. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), the first Muslim elected to Congress, was quoted in The Huffington Post as saying the King investigation will "vilify" the Muslim community: "I got so concerned that when I heard about it I actually approached Congressman King on the House floor and told him that, you know, look, we all need to be concerned about violent radicalization, but not just against Muslims, against anybody."
On MSNBC, Ellison elaborated: "What about the guy who flew a plane into the IRS or what about the guy who killed a guard at the Holocaust museum?" Um, excuse me. Those were individual acts and not part of a worldwide movement that, rightly or wrongly, is conducted under the banner of radical Islam with constant references to the Koran and justifications for mass murder. Anyone who doesn't see the difference is either attempting to divert the attention of the targeted or is in complete denial.
Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum, should be included among the witnesses King calls. Pipes wrote in 2002 that, "Islam, the most political of religions, now enjoys a privileged place in Washington, just as it does in almost every capital around the world." And that is why, he thinks, a more serious response needs to be taken toward this political religion.
In a 2004 critique of the U.S. Institute of Peace, Pipes wrote, "Over and over again, branches of the American government have been embarrassed by their blindness to jihadist Islam." He gave four examples of this pattern -- a presidential candidate (George W. Bush), the Department of Defense, the New York State prison system and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Since that critique, Pipes' list has grown. Read it at http://www.danielpipes.org/blog/2004/06/the-us-governments-poor-record-on-islamists.
The Obama and Bush administrations all but predicted another terrorist attack. Isn't it better to investigate how well the government is doing in preventing it, then to point fingers after the fact?
So, let the investigations begin into waste, fraud and abuse and into plots to unleash more terrorism inside America. The one can save our money. The other might save our lives.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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