`Flame' of Freedom Is the Main Course: Keeping Nation Secure Is Policy

Article excerpt

It has been 10 years since Frank Gaffney founded the Center for Security Policy, an information-dissemination network aimed at keeping public debate focused on U.S. interests in foreign and domestic policy. Although the Cold War may be over and the old Soviet Union relegated to the history books, conservatives attending the organization's annual "Keeper of the Flame" awards dinner at the Four Seasons Wednesday night said they believe its work retains great importance as far as national security issues are concerned.

"It's more necessary than ever in today's political climate," said former Attorney General Edwin Meese, "because of the way in which the current administration is jeopardizing our national security through lack of resources instead of emphasizing readiness in the armed forces and through neglecting new technologies such as ballistic-missile defense. We have a national security gap, and the Center for Security Policy brings that to public attention."

Alexander M. Haig, a former NATO supreme commander and secretary of state, lauded the center for its past achievements, saying it was instrumental in preventing the land-mine ban. He characterized the Clinton administration as being plagued with "muddleheadedness" on the issue of national security but said that the problem predates current leadership.

His advice on how to solve it? Spend, spend spend.

"Everything isn't a balanced budget, and even the Republican Party has to face up to that," he said. "We're in a global economic crisis right now, and that's going to require priming the pump, not capping it down like the IMF [International Monetary Fund] has been doing."

"One of the fine ways of doing that is through additional federal spending, and the only place it can go is [the military], where we have a requirement for over $25 billion each year for the next five years."

Donald Rumsfeld, who was honored as this year's Keeper of the Flame, agreed.

"We keep hearing that the defense line's got a top budget that can't be raised, the fact is that the United States of America may not be wealthy enough to do everything in the world everyone in the world wants us to do. We're wealthy enough to do what we need to do, and 3 percent of gross national product is the lowest defense spending in my adult lifetime. …