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Posts Tagged ‘police’

They’ll wait us out? Good

Posted by AB on December 7, 2009

As soon as President Obama announced his plan for Afghanistan, last week, his opponents from the right began to attack.  Proving, once again, that the President’s opponents and critics cannot be satisfied or accepting of any of his policies, they found a predictably sour note in the plan.  Senator John McCain went on NBC just minutes after the speech to declare his concern with a timetable to begin withdrawal in Afghanistan and, in the subsequent days, many others have followed suit.

Opponents of a withdrawal timetable will say that we shouldn’t tell the enemy when we will leave.  Nevermind that this July 2011 date is tentative and dependent on the realities on the ground, they believe that the enemy, which is Al Qaeda and some of the Taliban, will just sit back and wait until we withdraw.  Well, I hope that they are right.  The absolute best thing that can happen for us and the world in Afghanistan is for the entities that are destabilizing that country to retreat for the next 18 months.  That gives the United States and its allies 18 months to train the Afghan military and police.  Eighteen months to stabilize one of the most corrupt governments in the world.  Eighteen months to help stabilize Pakistan, a country that does have nuclear weapons.  Eighteen months, unchallenged.  That would be sweet.

When I hear that argument, I don’t know if I should laugh or cry.  On the one hand, it is a ridiculous argument, but on the other hand, some of those who are making that argument are our elected leaders.  The notion that we should never plan for an exit because our opponents will wait for hundreds or thousands of years is one of the most insane arguments that I could imagine.  Are they saying that we could be there for hundreds of years?  Are they saying that the President should have some super-secret withdrawal plan, so that the enemy and the American people will be surprised when we leave?  This criticism of a withdrawal plan shows a fundamental lapse of thought from a large segment of people.  It doesn’t make me laugh or cry, but it is a sad.

Republicans, conservatives, and other opponents of a withdrawal date can use all of nonsensical arguments that they can think-up, but each time that they say that our enemies will wait until we leave, someone must point out that it would be a good thing.  It would be a dream scenario for our military to operate, unfettered, for the next 18 months.  We need that time to strengthen Afghanistan’s military, police and government, so that when we do leave, Afghanistan can support and protect Afghanistan.  

We cannot stay there forever.  In July of 2011, we will have been there for nearly 10 years.  For most Americans, that is long enough.  So, they’ll wait us out?  Good.


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Breaking Into Your Own Home

Posted by AB on July 23, 2009

Last night, the President held a prime-time press conference at the White House.  The hour-long press conference was focused on health care reform, but the very last question of the night is what everyone in the media is talking about. 

Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times asked the President to comment on the arrest of African-American Harvard professor, Henry Louis Gates Jr., who was arrested in his own home on suspicion of breaking and entering.  The President, thoughtfully, answered by saying that he was biased because Professor Gates is a friend and that he didn’t know what role race played in the incident, but it seemed that the situation was handled “stupidly.”

It’s amazing that one word could be so controversial, especially when the statement is not arguable.  The police were called to investigate a break-in at Gates’ home on the afternoon of July 16.  Understandably, Gates was miffed that he was being questioned in his own home, and after proving that he was, in fact, the owner of the home, something happened.  The 58-year old, Gates was, in his words, “lured,” outside, where he was promptly handcuffed and taken to police headquarters for booking.  The charges of obstruction were later dropped.

Hiding from the health care debate, the GOP and conservative pundits promptly attacked the President for using the word, “stupidly.”  During the attack on the integrity of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, the GOP dragged white firefighter, Frank Ricci, into the middle of the politicization of the Supreme Court.  The message?  Sotomayor hates white people.  The President says the arrest of a man in his own home was handled “stupidly,” and here come the attacks.  The arresting officer was white.  So, what’s the message?  The President hates white police officers.

It’s a shame, really, that arresting a man for breaking into his own home wouldn’t be universally disdained, no matter the race of the homeowner or the officer.  I know that I would be angry.  It should also be pointed out that Dr. Gates walks with the aid of a cane; hardly a threat of physical violence or flight.  Just Saying.

One good thing came from this, for me at least.  It reminded me of a Dave Chappelle stand-up comedy special, “Killing Them Softly.”  If you get an opportunity to see the entire routine, you won’t be sorry.  The beginning of the following clip is eerily reminiscent of Gates’ troubles.

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