Is the Palestinian Authority more worthy of funding than the Coast Guard?

Robert Morrison Senior Fellow, Family Research Council
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The Obama administration’s Office of Management and Budget has decided to reduce costs by cutting the U.S. Coast Guard’s Offshore Patrol Cutter. The new cutter was supposed to replace the Reliance class of 210-foot cutters. I know something about the Reliance. I trained on that venerable cutter — 35 years ago! The USCGC Reliance, though a relatively new craft at the time, had been in service for about ten years even then.

The Coast Guard is famous for getting the last nautical mile of service out of its ships. I can remember standing watch on Sunday morning, December 7th, 1975. The Reliance was tied up next to the cutter Taney. That ancient vessel was the last U.S. warship on active service that had been at Pearl Harbor on that other December 7th, 34 years earlier.

Aren’t liberals the ones who always tell us they want to fund “first responders?” They generally mean firefighters, police, and EMTs. (Those organizations, it just so happens, are heavily unionized, so funding them makes sense. Their unions generally endorse Democrats, so when liberal politicians funnel money to those groups, they’re really funding themselves.)

But who among first responders responds before the Coast Guard? The Guard’s duties include drug interdiction, search and rescue, anti-piracy, homeland security patrols, immigration enforcement, and oil cleanup. Remember Katrina? Remember BP? Almost no one was mad at the Coast Guard in those much-criticized federal operations.

Cutting out the Offshore Patrol Cutter program could save taxpayers $300-$400 million “over the life of the program.” This means the annual cost of equipping the Coast Guard with these new ships would be much less.

Among programs the OMB will probably sign off on is the administration’s request for $600 million from U.S. taxpayers to go this year to something called the Palestinian Authority (PA), and President Obama and Secretary Clinton want to give an additional $160 million to the PA.

The PA is the successor to the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), which was founded by Yasser Arafat. He invented airline hijacking for terror purposes. Arafat is also the man responsible for the murder of U.S. Ambassador Cleo Noel in 1972. Noel and his driver were shot, not once, but repeatedly. Their assassins — on direct telephone orders from Arafat — shot these Americans up their legs and torsos before finishing them off.

Arafat is dead, but he’s still a living memory for Mahmoud Abbas, who was at his side throughout his long career of murder and terror. Abbas is the leader of the PA. He’s the one who cashes the checks our State Department doles out.

Arafat’s people gave candy to their children when the Twin Towers fell in Lower Manhattan. Their women ululated their ecstasy in the streets as we Americans dug through the rubble for the bodies of our loved ones.

Secretary Clinton assures us that the hundreds of millions we will give the Palestinians on her watch will go to “humanitarian purposes,” but the PA builds schools that it names for suicide bombers and Palestinian kids dress up as suicide bombers to entertain parents at back-to-school nights. And those ambulances — the ones with the approved Red Crescents — are a dandy way to transport rockets that will be fired into Israel.

Let’s hope the new House majority thoroughly reviews the budget. I hope they won’t look only for the trillion- and billion-dollar programs to cut. We need an agonizing reappraisal of everything that we are funding. We need to see how much damage our own out-of-control spending is doing to our economy and national security.

The Coast Guard may have to suck it up. Maybe there are more urgent national priorities.

But I’m not willing to concede that funding the PA is one of them. By the way, it is not true that this administration and this Congress are spending money like drunken sailors. As Ronald Reagan reminded us: Sailors spend their own money!

Robert Morrison is Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at the Family Research Council, and served for nine years in the Coast Guard.