Towne blames 9/11 on American foreign policy
Grilled by a conservative talk show host Wednesday morning, the independent candidate in the 15th Congressional District blamed the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on American foreign policy in the Middle East.
“They’re not attacking us because we’re free or we wear blue jeans or we listen to rock music,” Jake Towne said. “They’re attacking us because we’ve been over there. We’ve had troops in Saudi Arabia for many years before that. We were engaged with Iraq, we’ve had an embargo, we’ve been bombing their airspace literally for about 20 years now.”
Towne’s comments came during a somewhat contentious 14-minute interview on WAEB with Bobby Gunther Walsh, a conservative talker prominent in the Lehigh Valley. Towne is hardly alone in his analysis, as more than a few foreign policy experts have noted, among other things, America’s support for the militants during the Soviet war in Afghanistan, some of the same people who came to form Al-Qaeda. Regardless of any merit to Towne’s comments, they seem likely to turn off the kind of conservative voters he is hoping to peel away from incumbent Republican Charlie Dent.
A libertarian-leaning candidate who calls himself a “strict Constitutionalist,” the foreign policy section of Towne’s issues Web site is replete with positions that could anger conservatives, including calling the Iraq War “unconstitutional and illegal.”
Reached by pa2010.com Wednesday afternoon, Towne said that “all I’m trying to do is point out that there are reasons why these things occur. American’s history in Afghanistan and Pakistan needs to be understood. … There’s no one thing we did [to cause 9/11], but we have to be very honest when we look at foreign policy and the American government.”
The radio interview came at a time when he is taking up more media oxygen in the race than some expected, mostly because Dent’s campaign has said it doesn’t want the independent participating in debates between Dent and Democratic challenger John Callahan.
During the interview, Towne was also grilled about the fact that a band scheduled to perform at a campaign event this week, Poker Face, has been condemned by the Anti-Defamation League for anti-Semitic lyrics. Dent’s campaign has pushed the issue in recent days. Towne reiterated that he didn’t know of everything the band has said and doesn’t agree with them, but did not back away from having it perform on his behalf. Walsh was particularly dogged in pushing Towne on the matter, noting that a member of the band once referred to the Holocaust as a “Holohoax.”
“I do find a lot of their comments objectionable and over the top,” Towne said. “But, again, the claims against them, I don’t believe their anti-Semitic.”
Walsh jumped in: “You know what? I don’t beleive you’ve done your homework. And I do believe, quite honestly, that it’s over for you if you don’t do something. And it may already be too late.
Later, Towne and Poker Face issued a joint statement, reported by The Morning Call, announcing that the band would not perform at his campaign event. A local Tea Party group had already criticized Towne for inviting the band.
“In order to avoid distraction from Charlie Dent’s gross incompetence and performance as the people’s employee and undemocratic whining to avoid debating independent Jake Towne,” the statement said, “Poker Face and Towne for Congress have jointly decided to cancel Poker Face’s performance at this Friday’s Freedom Concert.”
Editor’s note: The full radio interview above was compiled from smaller audio clips provided by WAEB. Though it may sound like there are skips or edit points at certain parts of the audio file, nothing was done to change the order, substance or context of the radio interview. Also, this story was updated shortly after publication to reflect Towne’s comments to pa2010.com.
July 28, 2010 at 3:35 pm