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Coulter: Let's fight wars for oil

Writer Ann Coulter outlines her worldview, and why liberals are always wrong on defense.

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Political commentator Ann Coulter attends Time's 100 Most Influential People at Jazz at Lincoln Center on May 5, 2009 in New York City. (Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

BOSTON — How might the Tea Party use the world’s most powerful army?

For now, that remains a mystery wrapped in slogans and three pointed patriot hats. But it may be a serious topic of conversation if Republicans choose a populist conservative to run against U.S. President Barack Obama in 2012.

Author Ann Coulter provided some clues in a speech last week at the staid Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.

Wearing her trademark black cocktail dress, with a small gold crucifix hanging from a chain around her neck, Coulter outlined a vision for American power that amounted to this: do unto others as you’d like, so long as it directly benefits America’s short-term material well-being.

“Of course we should go to war for oil,” Coulter told an audience of gray-suited national security analysts, speaking in a room decorated with portraits in gilded frames. “It's like saying, you're going to war just for oxygen, just for food. We need oil. That's a good reason to go to war.”

She added that she supported keeping U.S. troops in Iraq “because we wanted a puppet government, or at least a friendly government … [one] that will not shelter terrorists who will fly planes into our skyscrapers.”

In a half-hour speech organized by the New America Foundation and billed as a way to bring populist ideas into the Washington policy debate, Coulter quoted Sen. Joe McCarthy. She suggested Saddam Hussein was an Arab Hitler who needed to be stopped. And she defended such disgraced leaders as the Shah of Iran, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and deposed Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak.

She expressed sympathy for the Taliban, asserting that the U.S. should abandon its war in Afghanistan. “Afghanistan, unlike many Muslim countries, has never exported violence, to go out and kill the infidels. Their various tribes fight one another, but they don't export terrorism,” she said. “The Taliban had invited Osama bin Laden into Afghanistan to help deal with the Northern Alliance. They didn't want to attack the United States. [Taliban leader] Mullah Omar had no idea what was coming” when bin Laden attacked the U.S.

That view echoes the pacifist left, and stands in stark contrast to the principle governing former President George W. Bush's global war on terror, namely that “you are either with us or you are with the terrorists.”

She referred to the conflict as “Obama’s war in Afghanistan,” distancing conservatives from the war Bush launched after 9/11. “America's only interest in Afghanistan was to take out the Taliban, kill or neutralize Osama bin Laden, take out Al Qaeda's bases, and quarantine the entire country. We had accomplished that by the end of 2001,” she asserted. “So why is Obama sending more troops to Afghanistan now?” (Bush had continued fighting until Obama took office, largely because the government of Hamid Karzai failed to control the country, surrendering large parts of it to the Taliban.)

As usual, Coulter lambasted Democrats as clueless on foreign policy and defense. “The Democrats idea of the military is that they are well-dressed and well-armed boy scouts out doing charitable work.

“Since Vietnam, the Democratic party has supported foreign intervention only if it serves no interest of the United States. If it serves our national security interest, they are hysterically opposed to it,” she declared. “The reason liberals can never explain their approach to foreign policy is that is that if they said it out loud, Americans would burn them in oil.”