With Muammar Qadhafi dead and Libya firmly in the hands of rebels, the attention of the major network media has shifted away from the North African country. But that certainly doesn't mean the unintended consequences of the late NATO-assisted revolution aren't barreling down the track.
Tripoli-based Time magazine contributor Steve Sotloff has an excellent piece at the magazine's website about how radical Salafist Muslims are enacting a reign of terror on fellow Muslims who don't subscribe to their radical theology. You can read the whole piece here.
It remains to be seen what sort, if any, attention the media at-large pay to post-Qadhafi Libya and the degree to which President Obama's actions in support the Libyan rebels has led to a dangerous post-Qadhafi power vacuum that could likely be filled by dangerous Islamists.
Oops, he supposedly did it again. Herman Cain, the GOP presidential candidate who has experience as a rocket scientist on his resume, made another allegedly "stupid" remark. Why, if you buy the press's accounts of his statements, it's hard to believe the guy can dress himself in the morning without hanging his pants over his head and putting his socks on his hands.
Here's what Cain said that has the ninnies at ThinkProgress aka ThinkRegress (whom I won't link) and the Politico all lathered up -- When Cain recounted how he wouldn't answer a reporter's non-specific question about Libya, he responded that he needed to know which aspect of President Obama's current "policy" (there is one?) he should address: "Do I agree with siding with the opposition? Do I agree with saying that Qadhafi should go? Do I agree that they now have a country where you’ve got Taliban and Al Qaeda that’s going to be part of the government? … Do I agree with not knowing the government was going to — which part was he asking me about? I was trying to get him to be specific and he wouldn’t be specific." Well, it turns out, in an update at Politico which ThinkRegress isn't posting, lest it disturb its meme of constant condescension, that a Cain spokesman identified an important Libyan official with Taliban connections lickety-split:
The "mildly Islamist" party that won a plurality of votes in recent Tunisian elections is not a troubling sign, nor is the possibility that Egypt and Libya may be moving in an Islamist direction post-Qadhafi and Mubarak, Reza Aslan argued in a Sunday "Guest Voices" piece for WashingtonPost.com's "On Faith" section (emphases mine)
The "moderate Islamist group" Ennahdha appears to have garnered the most support in last week's elections in Tunisia, Leila Fadel of the Washington Post reported in the October 25 paper.
Fadel noted that Ennahdha was "brutally repressed' during longtime dictator Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali's reign and insisted that the party now has broad appeal "not only [among] the religious but also socially conservative voters who saw it as an authentic Tunisian party that respects the Arab and Islamic character of the nation."
Yet nowhere in Fadel's story does the Post correspondent note that Ennahdha -- which means Renaissance in English -- supported the Islamic Revolution in Iran, has backed terrorism, and been generally anti-American in its rhetoric, Jerusalem Post's Oren Kessler noted yesterday:
"Libya’s top leader declared the country officially 'liberated' Sunday from the four-decade rule of Moammar Gaddafi, pledging to replace his dictatorship with a more democratic but also a more strictly Islamic system," Washington Post staff writer Mary Beth Sheridan noted in the lead paragraph of her October 24 front-page article, "Libya declares liberation days after Gaddafi death."
Sheridan noted two possible significant policy changes that transitional leaders are examining: banning interest on housing loans and loosening the existing restrictions on Libyan men taking more than one wife.
On Sunday's Meet the Press, host David Gregory teed one up for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that was specifically designed to mock the Republican presidential candidates while allowing her to brag uninterrupted about the foreign policy successes of Barack Obama (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Hundreds of Coptic Christians traveled to Washington D.C. yesterday "from as far as New York and Chicago" to call on President Obama to push Egypt's government to protect their brothers and sisters from persecution.
Kudos are in order for the Washington Post for devoting a 14-paragraph story on page B3 of the October 20 paper. Editors also published a large photo from the demonstration, headlined, "At the White House, Coptic Christians demand an end to 'horrible nightmare,'" on the front page of the Post to direct readers to the Metro section story.
A truly amazing coincidence happened on Monday night as former President George W. Bush was praised for helping millions in Africa by two separate public figures in two unrelated matters - the fight against AIDS in Africa, and South Sudan’s successful fight for independence - on two different television shows.
As rocker Bono of U-2 appeared as a guest on CBS’s Late Show with David Letterman, he praised President Bush for helping to save so far five million lives in Africa over the past eight years because of his push to supply treatment to AIDS patients.
And on Comedy Central’s Colbert Report, guest and human rights activist John Prendergast of the Enough Project, when prodded by host Stephen Colbert, noted that it was under Bush that America used its influence to help the South Sudanese secure a peace deal with the north.
During former President George W. Bush's time in office, he was regularly described as fascist, murderous, and a war criminal for his wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Even if people didn't support the wars, though, Bush obeyed the law and received congressional approval to be in the countries. President Barack Obama is the one acting above the law, having yet to seek approval for being at war with Libya and ignoring the War Powers Act, but the media remains absent on labeling him with the same names.
CNN foreign affairs analyst Fareed Zakaria – who has recently had off-the-record conversations with President Obama on foreign issues – noted the president's "restraint" in his dealing with the "Arab Spring" and the conflict in Libya Wednesday. Zakaria previously gave a thumbs-up for Obama's Mideast speech in May and later defended the president's plan for removing American troops from Afghanistan.
The point-of-note is that this is the same analyst whom, according to the New York Times, President Obama "sounded out" while shaping his foreign policy. The two simply had "off-the-record" conversations on foreign issues, according to Zakaria, and the CNN host claimed he was not an advisor to the President.
As the First Lady and her daughters toured Africa last week, Americans were treated to puff piece after piece from their adoring fans in the press.
One such aired on ABC's "This Week" Sunday with David Muir actually saying, "Will some of that deeply felt criticism in Africa melt under the glow cast by Mrs. Obama and her girls?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
When ABC and NBC interview First Ladies, both the tone and substance of the discussion tend to hinge on whether the husband is an Obama or a Bush.
On Wednesday's ABC "World News" and NBC "Nightly News," network correspondents sat down with Michelle Obama in South Africa for exclusive interviews in which they lobbed softball questions and avoided her husband's policies. But in interviews with Laura Bush in 2007 and 2010, ABC questioned the then-First Lady's Mideast trip and NBC re-litigated President Bush's response in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Isn’t it inspiring? Once again, the Obama family is bringing peace and raising esteem for America in a foreign land by their very presence.
Back on March 21, New York Times reporters Alexei Barrionuevo and Jackie Calmes with Obama gushed “Brazilians who gathered at a plaza trying to catch a glimpse of him said that he had inspired millions in this country because of his African heritage.” Paris correspondent Scott Sayare on September 23, 2010 praised Obama’s magical abilities: “But anti-American sentiment, once pervasive in these neighborhoods, seems to have been all but erased since the election of Mr. Obama, who has proved to be a powerful symbol of hope here and a powerful diplomatic tool.”
ABC and NBC have delivered fawning coverage of First Lady Michelle Obama's visit this week to South Africa and Botswana, oozing over the "celebrity" and "excitement" of the "patented Michelle power" on display. To its credit, CBS has largely taken a pass on the idolatry.
The War Powers Act is relevant in certain circumstances, including (Section 1543) "in any case in which United States Armed Forces are introduced ... into the territory, airspace or waters of a foreign nation, while equipped for combat." This would clearly apply to the Libyan situation.
The Act requires timely presidential notification of the commencement of such operations. Though of dubious constitutionality, the Act further requires that (Section 1544) "Within sixty calendar days ... the President shall terminate any use of United States Armed Forces" unless Congress has declared war or has enacted a specific authorization ..."
We're at Day 60, and the Obama administration isn't going to comply with any of this. Here is how the Associated Press is headlining and describing Barack Obama's failure to comply (copied in full for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes):
Update below the break: Although Zakaria said he would be "surprised" if any Israelis objected to Obama's "quite even-handed" call for pre-1967 borders between Israel and Palestine, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed clear disapproval of the idea Thursday.
CNN's Fareed Zakaria appeared three times on Newsroom Thursday to preview and evaluate President Obama's speech on the Middle East – but never revealed that he has recently had face-to-face meetings with the president on foreign policy matters.
Last weekend a comment by CNN prime time host Eliot Spitzer revealed that Zakaria was advising the president on foreign policy matters, but Zakaria later dismissed that observation and said he simply had off-the-record conversations with Obama on foreign issues. However, he still did not disclose that information when he evaluated Obama's foreign policy speech Thursday on CNN.
A new poll finds one out of 10 Egyptians are sympathetic to Islamic "fundamentalists," 75 percent have a positive view of the Muslim Brotherhood, and 79 percent have a "very" or "somewhat unfavorable" view of the United States.
But Washington Post's Michael Birnbaum seems to portray this data as of little concern (emphasis mine):
On Friday's "Inside Washington," during a discussion about American foreign policy in the Middle East and Africa, PBS's Mark Shields actually said, "The most urgent priority that we have is to find jobs somehow, not simply for Americans, which is an urgent priority, but for young Egyptians" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
But some of the labeling was overheated: “A secretive evangelical Christian organization that some say has a right-wing agenda.” When the Times says “some say,” it almost always means “liberals say,” and indeed, Oppenheimer’s source, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) tends to target conservatives with their complaints.
The Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo, who was finally captured on Monday, defied nearly everybody: the United States, the European Union and the African Union. But right to the end, Mr. Gbagbo had defenders in the West, and they notably included several prominent conservative Christians.
Covering the budget debate on Capitol Hill and the conflict in Libya, Andrea Mitchell spun two serious policy issues as examples of race-baiting.
On the April 5 edition of “Andrea Mitchell Reports,” the MSNBC anchor lamented that Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) proposed 2012 budget would ravage black and Hispanic communities.
“Representative Paul Ryan’s 2012 budget, released today, includes reforms, what they call reforms, and also big cuts in housing assistance, job training, and food stamps,” warned Mitchell. “All of which would have a very big impact on particularly poor and minority communities, some say.”
The great thing about being a enviro-evangelist blogger in the United States is the moral high ground it gives you from which to condemn people who fall short of your ecological credentials.
Take Bryan Walsh, the blogger behind Time magazine's Ecocentric blog. Walsh took GoDaddy.com CEO Bob Parsons for hunting down an elephant in Zimbabwe that was a threat to a village's crops.
In an April 4 post, Walsh set out to convince readers that hunting elephants, even when done as a defensive measure to save a village's crops, is illegitimate.
Of course, that's easy to say from the climate-controlled comfort of a New York magazine office, so Walsh reserved the bulk of his ire not for the villagers or the Zimbabwean government but for Parsons, who apparently made a politically incorrect choice with his own money:
NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell has seen a lot of dopey stuff from the liberal media in his nearly 25 years battling liberal media bias. But Matt Lauer's question to Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) on Wednesday takes the cake.
Discussing the matter of arming the rebels in Libya, the "Today" host allowed that there may well be al Qaeda operatives among the anti-Qadhafi forces, but asked, "would it not be a sign to them [the rebels] or showing them that the United States has compassion and we're willing to use our military might to help all people?"
After watching a clip of that exchange on the March 31 edition of "Hannity," Bozell couldn't contain his laughter.
In 1427, a ship captain sailing for his Portuguese Prince, Henry the Navigator, discovered the Azores Islands. If the question of the significance of this event had been posed, at the time, to Sultan Murad Khan (the leader of the Ottoman Empire), or to Itzcoatl and Nezahualcoyotl (the co-leaders of the Aztecs) or to Rao Kanha (one of the princes of Jodhpur in India), it is unlikely that any of them would have responded that it is an early indication of a historic explosion of cultural energy in Europe that will lead to European exploration and conquest of most of the known world, and to a renaissance of European thought that will give rise to scientific, industrial and scholarly dominance of the planet by European culture for at least half a millennium.
Today, no European or American leaders with whom I am familiar have tied the Sept. 11, 2001 attack, the various Islamist bombing attacks around the world, the push for Sharia law in the West and the current disturbances in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Jordan, Syria and Bahrain together as symptoms of one larger phenomenon.
President Obama's decision to bomb Libya is not even so multilateral as President George W. Bush's decision to attack Iraq. Nor is it ultimately driven by humanitarian concerns — and certainly not by any vital U.S. national interest.
Despite Obama's vilification of Bush for his alleged unilateralism, "Obama's 'coalition of the willing,'" according to foreign policy reporter Josh Rogin, "is smaller than any major multilateral operation since the end of the Cold War." Obama's Libyan intervention is more unilateral than Dubya's in another respect, as well: Obama has brazenly refused even to consult Congress, much less seek its blessing.
One sign that the broadcast networks aren’t vigorously opposed to President Obama’s air strikes in Libya is the utter lack of polls. There were no ABC/Washington Post or NBC/Wall Street Journal polls touted before Obama’s Libya address, and a Gallup poll showing only 47 percent support for military action has been barely mentioned.
CBS News did a poll (without The New York Times) and briefly touted its results on March 22. Katie Couric offered one sentence on the Evening News: “A CBS News poll out tonight finds most Americans are following the events in Libya closely and nearly seven out of ten approve of the air strikes.” But the question was phrased in a way to encourage support for a coalition effort protecting innocent civilians:
"As you may know, the U.S. military and other countries have begun cruise missile and air strikes in Libya in order to protect civilians from attacks by Qaddafi's forces. Do you approve or disapprove of the U.S. and other countries taking this military action in Libya?"
During Monday's "Morning Joe," Time's Mark Halperin and co-host Mika Brzezinski helpfully provided some spin for the White House to borrow as President Obama finishes his prepared remarks for Monday evening's address to the nation on the events in Libya.
President Obama has received sharp criticism for his foreign policy concerning Egypt and Libya, but Halperin threw cold water on that, calling Obama's strategy "extremely deft in a very tough situation." Brzezinski agreed with his premise, adding that his "deft" handling is also in accord with promises he previously made.
"He's pro-democracy, right? He's anti-violence. He's anti-unilateral U.S. intervention," Halperin noted of Obama, trying to connect his current policy with the peacemaker he claimed to be as a presidential candidate.
(Video below the jump. Comments begin at the 12:30 mark.)