Friday, 31 July 2009

NIGERIAN MOSQUE MASSACRE: "VERY WORRYING"

Ken Berwitz

From ABC News:

The leader of the Islamist sect blamed for days of violence in northern Nigeria has been shot and killed while in police custody, officials said Thursday.

 

The police commander of Borno state announced on state radio that Mohammed Yusuf, the leader of the sect some call the Nigerian Taliban, has "died in police custody."

He gave no further explanation, but the state governor's spokesman Usman Ciroma told The Associated Press: "I saw his body at police headquarters. I believe he was shot while he was trying to escape."

Yusuf's death could provoke more violence, though his followers in the Boko Haram sect may be in disarray after troops shelled his compound in the northern city of Maiduguri on Wednesday. Yusuf, 39, managed to escape with about 300 followers, some of them armed. His deputy, Bukar Shekau, was killed in the attack, according to Army commander Maj. Gen. Saleh Maina.

Troops killed about 100 militants by an AP reporter's count, half of them inside the sect's mosque. Soldiers then launched a manhunt, and Yusuf was reportedly found in a goat's pen at the home of his in-laws.

Human Rights Watch called reports of Yusuf's killing "extremely worrying."

Not that I, personally, have a problem dispatching terrorists any way possible, but.....

Charles Johnson of www.littlegreenfootballs.com, says "Imagine world reaction is Israel responded to Palestinian terrorist attacks like this".

Y'know, he's got a point there.

No reason to be concerned, though.  After all, Human Right Watch has called it "extremely worrying".  That should rock the Nigerian government to its core.

Plus, I am certain that the United Nations, ever vigilant in defense of humanity, will be condemning this action in the strongest of terms, just as they would if Israel took out 100 Palestinian Arab militants, half of them in a mosque. 

Any day now.  An-n-n-n-n-y day.


A TALE OF TWO COPS: RACISM IN ACTION

Ken Berwitz

The Gates/Crowley confrontation has spawned two additional stories about Boston Cops.  Both involve racism and, not surprisingly, neither of them is good.

 

The first tale concerns a two-year veteran named justin barrett.

 

From Michael Graham, writing for the Boston Herald:

 

Barrett is the Boston cop who sent an electronic message to The Boston Globe - then forwarded it to his fellow National Guardsmen - calling the Harvard professor a banana-eating jungle monkey. He also said the papers reporting was jungle monkey gibberish, and wanted to ax a question.

 

But, he claimed in a television interview, I didnt mean it in a racist way.

 

Try to wrap your arms around that one.  The idea is that you're not supposed to get upset by barrett's comment, because he says he "didn't mean it in a racist way"?  Ok, sure.  And when hamas calls Jews the spawn of monkeys and apes, they really don't mean it in an anti-Semitic way either.  Honest.

 

Forget the overt racism for just a moment:  the level of sheer stupidity here is so high that I'm not sure I've ever seen anything like it in my lifetime.  If President Obama had used the "acted stupidly" line for this guy, the only criticism he'd have gotten would be that it was too kind.

 

Earlier, I noted that barrett has been on the Boston police force for 2 years.  I wouldn't count on him celebrating year #3.

 

The second tale concerns what, from all accounts, appears to be a genuinely good cop, and a man with the courage to stand by a fellow cop and friend.  His name is Police Sgt. Leon Lashley.

 

Mr. Lashley was one of the officers who responded to the possible breaking and entering at Professor Gates' home.  He was there to see and hear what took place.  Based on what he saw and heard, Lashley backed up Sgt. Crowley and said he was 100% justified in arresting Mr. Gates.

 

And how has this affected Leon Lashley?  From the AP, via the Miami Herald:

 

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- A black sergeant who was at the home of Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. when he was arrested says he's been maligned as an "Uncle Tom" for supporting the actions of the white arresting officer.

Cambridge Sgt. Leon Lashley gave a letter to Sgt. James Crowley to give to President Barack Obama during their so-called beer summit with Gates on Thursday night at the White House.

In the letter, which was also sent to CNN, Lashley says Gates "may have caused grave and potentially irreparable harm to the struggle for racial harmony."

Lashley says he has become known as a traitor to his heritage by some because he "spoke the truth" about the arrest.

Wonderful.  Just Wonderful. 

 

In supporting Sgt. Crowley, Sgt. Lashley displayed two of the most admirable traits there are - honesty and loyalty.  And, for his trouble, he is being called an Uncle Tom and a traitor to his race. 

 

Would Sgt. Lashley be called those ugly names if he took the easy way out and either refused to provide his account of what happened at Professor Gates' home, or just lied about it on behalf of Gates?  Would anyone be calling him those names if Henry Louis Gates was White?

 

Sadly, this is every bit as much a racist event as the idiotic ravings of Officer barrett.

 

So there you have it.  Two additional, racism-soaked tales as a direct result of the Crowley/Gates incident. 

 

I 100% hope they will be the last two.  (And 0% expect that to be the case).


BARACK OBAMA'S ISRAEL CONUNDRUM

Ken Berwitz

I find myself drawn more and more to www.powerlineblog.com, because the three people who write there, John Hinderaker, Scott Johnson and Paul Mirengoff are not just good writers, they are almost always on target in their analyses.

Here is a great example from Paul, who points out, with crystal clarity, the corner President Obama has painted himself into regarding Israel:

A speech I'd like to hear

 

July 31, 2009 Posted by Paul at 4:18 PM

This New York Times editorial calls on President Obama to explain to Israelis why "freezing settlements and reviving peace talks is clearly in their interest." The Times is alarmed because "Israeli leaders do not often risk being at odds with an American president, but polls show broad support for Mr. Netanyahu's resistance" on the settlement issue. Presumably, the Times would like Obama, "a skilled communicator," to speak directly to Israelis through some sort of address, as Israeli leftists have urged.

 

It's a speech I'd like to hear. For in order to persuade Israelis, Obama would first have to connect with them. And to do that, he would have to embrace aspects of the Israeli national narrative.

 

For example, Obama would have to show an appreciation of the Jewish connection to the land of Israel. In his Cairo speech, Obama ignored this history, pointing to the Holocaust as the source of Israel's legitimacy. This didn't bother me. There was no need in that speech for Obama to go back to Abraham, Issac, and Jacob -- it was enough to reaffirm before an Arab audience that the U.S. fully backs Israel's legitimacy.

 

But that wouldn't be enough for an Israeli audience. And it would bring a smile to my face to hear Obama attempt to mollify Israelis by talking about their historical connection to the land of Israel and whatever other conciliatory messages he might throw in.

 

But no amount of flattery is likely to persuade Israelis that they should totally freeze construction in and around well-established settlements in the hope that the Palestinians will one day make peace with them. The Times is correct that Obama is a skilled communicator. He can wow a crowd that is already inclined to agree with him and, perhaps, persuade the undecided. However, he has never shown that he can change the minds of those whose positions have already formed -- a tall order for anyone.

 

The limits of Obama's communication skills are evident in the health care debate. But recall too that even his famous Philadelphia speech about Rev. Wright, however much it was praised by his fans in the MSM, failed to stem the anti-Obama tide that was running through his own party. Obama quickly had to revise his position, and still limped to the finish line, losing most of the important late contests and securing the nomination on the strength of his early successes. And during the general election campaign, Obama wisely focused not on attempting to change the minds of swing voters on key issues, but rather on using his communication skills to make them think he was on their side with respect to these matters.

 

This would not be an option if Obama were to implore Israelis to agree to a total settlement freeze. For a speech to work, Obama would have to moderate his position. There are reports that he is already doing so, in order to reach a compromise with the Israeli government.

 

The upshot is that the speech the Times contemplates is a non-starter. The only speech it makes sense for Obama to deliver in Israel would alienate the Arabs he has worked so hard to win over.

 

As a far more cogent editorial in the Washington Post explains, therein lies the folly of Obama's overbearing demands regarding settlements: it put him in a position where, to be seen in Israel as an honest broker, he now must act in ways that would undermine his status with the Arabs. Had he accepted Israel's concessions on settlements and not overreached, he would not have stumbled into this dilemma.

 

That the New York Times must now ask Obama to salvage the situation by delivering an impossible speech demonstrates not only that the Times is desperate but also that it is clueless.

Unfortunately, President Obama's problem does not appear simply to be bungled diplomacy (though he apparently is something of a master at that).  The problem is that he has found enough ways to give Israel the back of his hand in his short tenure as President so that the only way to extricate himself is by saying things that will absolutely outrage the Arabs he has so carefully cultivated.  As conundrums go, this one is a beaut and a half.

I have often pointed out that, according to the exit polls, 78% of American Jews voted for Mr. Obama last year.  Presumably, most of them support Israel.  While I haven't seen any recent polling by religion, it would not surprise me if his actions are driving Jews away in large numbers (Better late than never, I suppose).

Maybe this will force President Obama to counter his Cairo speech with a Tel Aviv speech.  If so, it would have to be nothing short of amazing.

I agree completely with Paul.  I don't think he can do it.


TROOP SURGES AND US CASUALTIES: TWO TAKES

Ken Berwitz

Take one:

In 2007 then-President George Bush implemented a troop surge in Iraq.  He announced plans for the surge in a speech on January 10, 2007. 

Then-Senator Barack Obama's reaction was:

"I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there. In fact, I think it will do the reverse,"

In actuality, the troop surge was a huge success, US casualties plummeted and then-presidential candidate Obama was able to use Mr. Bush's success to make promises about removing troops from Iraq, which he could not have been done without that success.

Take two:

After his successful presidential campaign, which featured attacks on Republicans for not aggressively going after osama bin laden in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Barack Obama ordered  a troop surge in Afghanistan.  The surge was implemented just months ago.

Now we have this from Reuters:.

KABUL (Reuters) - A U.S. service member was killed as the deadliest month for foreign troops in the Afghanistan war drew to a close, the U.S. military said on Friday, with commanders vowing to continue the fight despite the toll.

The death in southern Afghanistan brought to 40 the number of U.S. troops killed in July, by far the heaviest monthly toll in the 8-year-old war. The worst previous month for U.S. forces was in September 2008, when 26 were killed.

The latest death occurred in a firefight with insurgents in southern Afghanistan on Thursday, the U.S. military said, without giving further details. At least 70 foreign troops have been killed in July.

Britain has suffered its worst battlefield casualties since the 1980s Falklands War, with the 22 troops killed in the month taking its total losses in Afghanistan to 191, 12 more than were killed in the Iraq war.

Casualties spiked after thousands of U.S. and British troops this month launched major operations in southern Helmand province, a Taliban stronghold and the center of Afghanistan's opium production.

There are the two takes.  And here are a few questions:

-Have you heard a word from Barack Obama about finding osama bin laden since the election?

-Is the media treatment afforded George Bush after he announced the Iraq troop surge, similar to the treatment afforded Barack Obama after he announced the Afghanistan troop surge?

-Is the media treatment afforded George Bush after it became clear that the Iraq troop surge was a huge success, similar to the treatment afforded Barack Obama now that the Afghanistan troop surge has not worked at all and things appear even worse than before?

The answers to those three questions go a long way toward explaining the negative (and diminishing) view I have of our media.

But listen to them squeal like stuck pigs if you call them biased.


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