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Rep. King Calls for Scorched Earth

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In today’s Washington Times, one of the last remaining Republican office holders in the Northeast has an immediate response to suggestions that a special prosecutor will be appointed to probe allegations of torture:

Rep. Peter T. King, New York Republican and ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee, called for his party to pursue a “scorched-earth policy” of refusing to cooperate with the administration if it pursues such an investigation, which he called an effort to appease Europeans and U.S. intellectuals. “It’s a wrong and shameful criminalizing political differences,” Mr. King said during an interview with The Washington Times. “I would find it very hard to work with the administration on bipartisan issues if the attorney general and the administration start going after patriotic Americans who have dedicated their lives to protecting us.”

Evidently, in King’s view, only “Europeans and U.S. intellectuals” have any problem with torturing prisoners to death. That’s curious, because in other settings, King has been vocal in standing up for the rights of accused terrorists.

King is easily one of the most colorful political figures in Washington. He recently caused a kerfuffle by launching a tirade against Michael Jackson after receiving word of his death. Said King,

He was a pervert, a child molester, he was a pedophile. And to be giving this much coverage to him, day in and day out, what does it say about us as a country? I just think we’re too politically correct. No one wants to stand up and say we don’t need Michael Jackson. He died, he had some talent, fine. There’s men and women dying every day in Afghanistan. Let’s give them the credit they deserve.

Jackson, of course, was acquitted of charges of child molestation following a trial in 2005. Earlier, King expressed the view that there were “too many mosques in this country.” He suggested that U.S. security forces should be “infiltrating” all the mosques.

However, King shows considerable flexibility on questions relating to terrorism. While he is a staunch opponent of terrorists who can be connected to Islam, he is indulgent with respect to terrorists who battle for Irish independence. For years, King openly backed one of the leading terrorist organizations in Europe, the IRA, and associated himself with NORAID, an organization that raised money and collected arms for the IRA. He also repeatedly expressed his concern for the conditions in which IRA prisoners were confined by Britain. His support for the IRA softened, however, following the conclusion of the Good Friday Accords.

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