ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Friday, May 09, 2008

Captive 220 - Not Surprising

This story about Captive 220, who was released from Gitmo only to strap explosives to himself and kill a number of Iraqis a few months later, is not surprising.

REVIEW & OUTLOOK

'Captive 220'

May 9, 2008; Page A16

It's a fair bet that no high-powered American law firm will lend a caring hand to the relatives of the seven Iraqis murdered last month by a suicide bomber named Abdullah Salih Al Ajmi and two accomplices. That's too bad, seeing as how Ajmi was himself a beneficiary of some of that high-powered legal help.

Ajmi is a Kuwaiti who was 29 when he blew himself up in the northern city of Mosul in April. But before that he had spent more than three years as an enemy combatant at Guantanamo, where he was known as "Captive 220." He was taken prisoner at Tora Bora, Afghanistan, after the fall of the Taliban, in whose service he had reportedly spent eight months. While in detention, he told interrogators that his intention was "to kill as many Americans" as he possibly could.

In April 2002, a group of Kuwaiti families retained the law firm of Shearman & Sterling to represent the Kuwaitis held at Guantanamo, including Ajmi. (An attorney at Shearman tells us the firm donated its fees to charity.) Ajmi was one of 12 Kuwaiti petitioners in whose favor the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2004 in Rasul v. Bush, which held that the detainees were entitled to a habeas corpus hearing.

At the time, we wrote1 that Rasul had "opened the door to a flood of litigation. . . . This pretty much guarantees that the 600 or so Guantanamo detainees will bring 600 or so habeas corpus cases – perhaps in 600 or so different courtrooms, with 600 or so different judges demanding 600 or so different standards of what evidence constitutes a threat to the United States."

The Pentagon seems to have understood this point only too well, because in November 2005 it released Ajmi into Kuwaiti custody before he could have his hearing. A Kuwaiti court later acquitted Ajmi of terrorism charges, and last month the Kuwaiti government issued Ajmi and his accomplices with passports, which they used to travel to Mosul via Syria.

Ajmi's story is hardly unique. Some 500 detainees have been released from Guantanamo over the years, mostly into foreign custody. Another 65 of the remaining 270 detainees are also slated to go. Yet of all the prisoners released, the Pentagon is confident that only 38 pose no security threat. So much for the notion that the Gitmo detainees consist mostly of wrong-time, wrong-place innocents caught up in an American maw.

The Defense Intelligence Agency reported on May 1 that at least 36 former Guantanamo inmates have "returned to the fight." They include Maulavi Abdul Ghaffar, who was released after eight months in Gitmo and later became the Taliban's regional commander in Uruzgan and Helmand provinces. He was killed by Afghan security forces in September 2004.

Another former detainee, Abdullah Mahsud, was released from Guantanamo in March 2004. He later kidnapped two Chinese engineers in Pakistan (one of whom was shot during a rescue operation). In July 2007 he blew himself up as Pakistani police sought to apprehend him.

Ajmi's case now brings the DIA number to 37. It's worth noting that these are only the known cases. It is worth noting, too, that people like Ajmi were among those the Defense Department thought it would be relatively safe to free, or at least not worth the hassle and expense of the litigation brought about by cases like Rasul.

All this should give some pause to those – John McCain, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton among them – calling for closing Guantanamo. The prison is helping to save lives by keeping dangerous men from returning to the fight against our soldiers.

Stranger still are those who argue that people like Ajmi were somehow a creation of Guantanamo. They might want to have a chat with a detainee named Mohammed Ismail, who told the press after his release from Gitmo that his American captors "were very nice to me, giving me English lessons." Ismail was recaptured four months later while attacking an American military position in Kandahar.

Our liberal friends argue that the detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay have hurt America's image in the world, and that's true. Then again, Ajmi and others show that there are also lethal consequences to the legal war that liberals are waging on the war on terror. Liberals claim they are only fighting for "due process," but they are doing so for foreign enemies who want to kill innocents and don't deserve such protections. Mosul is one result.
While both McCain and Obama argue that Gitmo should be closed and holding terrorists for the duration of the War On Terror, there is one massive difference between the two when it comes to this issue:

McCain's position rests on the foundation that while we're at war, we should not only be honorable, but assume that our enemies are honorable as well. Obviously, this foundation can be demonstrated to be unrealistic and, with stories like these, his corresponding position is likely to change.

Obama's position rests on the foundation that we're not even at war. Thus, the cute & cuddly Mr. Ajmi was just some poor soul, caught in the wrong place at the wrong time and would not, but for our terrible treatment of him, kill Iraqis or our soldiers (who shouldn't be there in the first place... HALLIBURTON!!!)

If Obama and the moonbat left reads a story like this and does not recognize how stupid their positions are, it's unlikely that they'll ever be able to change their position to the realities which those of us on the right have been trying to explain to them since 2001.

Extending civil liberties to those who do not comply with civilized behavior (as set out in the Geneva conventions) at the expense of life itself is no bargain.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Thursday, May 08, 2008

What Took the MSM So Long on the Wright Story?

Don Campbell at USAToday wonders why it took so long for the press to give serious scrutiny to Obama's spiritual mentor and close friend, Jeremiah Wright:

Wright story: What took so long?
The controversial reverend’s 20-year relationship with Obama was left to simmer for a year. In our 24/7 media age, how could this have happened?

By Don Campbell

Barring some really strange math or a lot of second thoughts, the Democrats seem poised to nominate for president a man with the fewest credentials and least familiarity to the American people of anyone in modern history. It's just one more way that Barack Obama is breaking the mold, and barring a major shift, he should give some of the credit to the news media.

Presidential nominees have almost always been people who have run before and lost, or who have served as vice president or who have had years of experience as members of Congress or as prominent governors.

The only one I can remember who came close to Obama in the slim résumé department is Jimmy Carter, and his rise predated YouTube, ideological talk radio, the Internet and millions of bloggers. He also emerged at a time when political journalists still had and acted upon the instincts of a bloodhound.

The vetting of presidential and vice presidential candidates has long been a responsibility that journalists took seriously:
[...]
In this election, alas, most of the bloodhounds have lost their sense of smell. For the most part, they've relinquished that space to bloggers and radio talkers who have an ideological agenda, not an obligation to root out the facts and present them fairly.
[...]
Wright coverage

Thus, the coverage of Obama's spiritual relationship with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and the Trinity United Church of Christ is disturbing. True, Wright sounded so unhinged on his recent ego tour in Washington that it might generate sympathy for Obama. But the issue still hanging is how a man who played such an important role in Obama's life for more than two decades drew so little scrutiny from reporters covering the Obama campaign. And since Obama himself has said the Wright controversy is a legitimate issue, I'll take that as an invitation to weigh in.

First, it took much too long for major news media outlets to appreciate the importance of the Wright connection. (Not that they all do yet;
the pummeling of ABC News by commentators for raising this and similar issues in the Pennsylvania debate further illustrated how out of touch some commentators are.)

The record shows that publications such as the Chicago Tribune newspaper and Rolling Stone magazine had detected the controversial nature of Obama's church about the time he entered the presidential race, in early 2007. Soon after the announcement speech, moreover, Wright himself volunteered to The New York Times that he had been disinvited to give the invocation at Obama's presidential launch because of the baggage he would bring to the podium. That set off conservative bloggers and talkers, but little or no follow-up in the regular or so-called mainstream news media.

More than a year passed before ABC News' Brian Ross had the clever idea to purchase videos of Wright's sermons to review them. The most incendiary clips quickly landed on YouTube, and the rest is history. The news media were dragged into the controversy holding their noses, but by then Obama had the goal line in sight.
By the time the MSM actually covered the issue, the MSM was already asking Hillary when she would drop out... or whether she would accept a VP slot.

One wonders how Jeremiah Wright's sermons would've played in Iowa, New Hampshire, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Alabama, Missouri, Minnesota, and North Dakota.

I would suggest that Obama's finishes in those states would have been undermined significantly, an important point given the proportional system of delegates.
Obama's challenge

Speculation aside, Obama has been ill-served by a press corps that seemingly was mesmerized by the large, frenzied crowds who turn out to see the Democratic rock star. Crowds can be deceiving: McGovern, nobody's idea of a rock star, attracted huge and exuberant crowds throughout the fall of 1972 — on his way to losing 49 states to Richard Nixon.
We know that this is the case - that the MSM has to go through detox after covering Obama. Chris "Softball" Matthews admitted it, the dork from Politico admitted it, and a few other MSM reporters covering the campaign have admitted it.
Better that Obama forget the crowds and concern himself with the several million older, moderate Democrats and independents whom he'll need in a close general election. They won't just listen to what he says, they'll try to peer into his soul. That's why the Wright story is important in assessing his candidacy.

More than two years ago, at a Gridiron Club news media dinner in Washington, Obama poked fun at his meager accomplishments when he told his audience: "I want to thank you for all the generous advance coverage you've given me in anticipation of a successful career. When I actually do something, we'll let you know."

But the joke was on the journalists then, and now that Obama is about to actually do something, it still is.
As I've pointed out before, the MSM has done the Dems a disservice in not appropriately vetting their candidate. I'd be pissed if I was a Democrat voter.

When the MSM is on your team and rooting for your guy, they're not asking the tough questions that will inevitably come - making you weaker, not stronger.

The prospects do not look good for Hillary!TM But, I would say that as revelations about Obama's ties to Wright, Meeks, Ayers, and corruption in Chicago politics surface from now until November, the Dems will be shocked that they've been sold a bill of goods that is something completely different.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Back Home in Indiana...

If the reports from Confederate Yankee are true, then it looks like it may come down to Indiana for Hillary.

At this point, the only thing worth discussing is Obama's margin of victory here in the Tarheel State. If he wins by double-digits, he can claim to have staunched the bleeding over Crackerquiddick and the damage done to him by his pastor of 20 years, Reverend Jeremiah Wright.

As I was saying to Penelope last night, Clinton probably has to win 1 of the 2 races today. If she wins Indiana, but loses North Carolina, she's in till the convention. Even if its by double digit margins, that will only reinforce the image of Obama, that he can't win white male voters. If she loses both, there will be talk about how Obama finally put her away. If she wins both, there will be serious pressure on Obama's campaign to provide reasons to keep the superdelegates he has.

As I've said since Ohio, and others in the media have pointed out, the race is tied and will remain tied. Neither side will win enough through the remaining contests to win the nomination. This is all about the superdelegates. They will decide the nomination fight.

The only question remaining is how damaging that decision will end up being. As a Republican, I'm all for letting Operation Chaos continue until the convention.

My prediction? Obama by less than 10 points in NC. Hillary by 3 points in Indiana. The groundhog see's his shadow... 6 more weeks of campaigning.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Brian

Monday, May 05, 2008

Oprah Has Better Judgment than Obama

As demonstrated by this article in Newsweek:

Something Wasn’t Wright
Why Oprah Winfrey left Rev. Jeremiah Wright's church.
Allison Samuels

NEWSWEEK
Updated: 12:39 PM ET May 3, 2008

For any spiritually minded, up-wardly mobile African-American living in Chicago in the mid-1980s, the Trinity United Church of Christ was—and still is—the place to be. That's what drew Oprah Winfrey, a recent Chicago transplant, to the church in 1984. She was eager to bond with the movers and shakers in her new hometown's black community. But she also admired Trinity United's ambitious outreach work with the poor, and she took pride in upholding her Southern grandmother's legacy of involvement with traditional African-American houses of worship. Winfrey was a member of Trinity United from 1984 to 1986, and she continued to attend off and on into the early to the mid-1990s. But then she stopped. A major reason—but by no means the only reason—was the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
I think this is categorized under the "Things that make you go 'hmmmmm.'"

So, shortly after Barack found Jesus through his spiritual mentor Jeremiah Wright, Oprah found something about his preaching that caused her to leave.

Or, put another way, what attracted Barack to Reverend Wright and Trinity United repelled Oprah - an existing member of the church.
According to two sources, Winfrey was never comfortable with the tone of Wright's more incendiary sermons, which she knew had the power to damage her standing as America's favorite daytime talk-show host.
And we know that Barack didn't have a problem with the tone of Wright's sermons - until Wright stated that Barack's comments were simply those of an ordinary politician.
"Oprah is a businesswoman, first and foremost," said one longtime friend, who requested anonymity when discussing Winfrey's personal sentiments. "She's always been aware that her audience is very mainstream, and doing anything to offend them just wouldn't be smart. She's been around black churches all her life, so Reverend Wright's anger-filled message didn't surprise her. But it just wasn't what she was looking for in a church."

Of course, Barack has positioned himself as the uniter, the guy who is so mainstream that he can bring Blue States & Red States together in common purpose to achieve the change that we've been hoping for - or something like that.

Meanwhile, he hangs out with the most radical terrorists of the anti-American Left, supports a preacher for 20 years who claims that HIV/AIDS is a government conspiracy, and is to the left of the Senate's only open Socialist.
[...]
But Winfrey also had spiritual reasons for the parting. In conversations at the time with a former business associate, who also asked for anonymity, Winfrey cited her fatigue with organized religion and a desire to be involved with a more inclusive ministry. In time, she found one: her own. "There is the Church of Oprah now," said her longtime friend, with a laugh. "She has her own following."
Of course, this may be the same reason Obama is able to throw Wright under the bus - he's his own religion now.
Friends of Sen. Barack Obama, whose relationship with Wright has rocked his bid for the White House, insist that it would be unfair to compare Winfrey's decision to leave Trinity United with his own decision to stay. "[His] reasons for attending Trinity were totally different,'' said one campaign adviser, who declined to be named discussing the Illinois senator's sentiments. "Early on, he was in search of his identity as an African-American and, more importantly, as an African-American man. Reverend Wright and other male members of the church were instrumental in helping him understand the black experience in America. Winfrey wasn't going for that. She's secure in her blackness, so that didn't have a hold on her.''
[...]

So, what other areas of insecurity might cause Barry to lose his judgment and turn a blind eye to the reality that surrounds him.

If he has fewer critical faculties than Oprah when it comes to a pastor, how will he perform in discussions with President Tom?

This is very disturbing... and it's great that Barry is the inevitable choice of the Dems. Why is it that the Dems always seem to select the least qualified and most anti-American person to lead their party?

Oh, that's right... because it's the Democratic primary voter and the well connected Super Delegates that choose the candidate - and it's always a reflection of their beliefs.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler