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BENEATH THE SPIN • ERIC L. WATTREE
West is not privy to even one sentence of the intelligence that President Obama has at his disposal. Yet, he’s shooting off his mouth as though the CIA is putting a condition report on his desk every morning for his review. We must never forget that Pakistan, right next door to Afghanistan - and where Osama Bin Laden was found and killed - is armed with nuclear weapons, and the president has a responsibility to see to it that those weapons never fall into the hands of Al Qaeda. If they do, America, and YOUR family, will fall under the dire threat of nuclear annihilation.
So while people like Tavis Smiley and Cornel West are jumping up and down in ignorance, and engaging in a recklessly selfish attempt to gain headlines and get the president's acknowledgement, the President is engaged in serious business - America’s business. So they have to understand, just like irate children seeking attention, that the president doesn't have time to come out and play, and regardless to how many tantrums they engage in, or how inflammatory they become, the president simply doesn't have time to come sit in the sandbox with them.
Thus, adults understand that the issues aren’t as cut-n-dried as people like Tavis and West would have us believe. Yes, on the surface it seems like simple common sense that it’s wrong to kill an American citizen without due process - even if that citizen is collaborating with the enemy. But place yourself in the position of the president for a moment. Let’s say you have credible information that Al Qaeda is going to launch an attack on an American position on Tuesday morning, but you can prevent the attack by launching a preemptive drone attack on Al Qaeda's position on Monday night. You have one problem, however. You also have intelligence that indicates there’s a collaborator on the enemy site who is an American citizen. Are you going to hold off your preemptive attack because the collaborator hasn’t been afforded due process? I don't think so, any more than a police officer is going to wait on a court order to defend himself on the street.
And let us not forget that once a precedent has been set of holding off attacks in order to protect the lives of American collaborators, from that point on Al Qaeda can use that against us. All they have to do is surround themselves with American sympathizers as human shields to insure themselves against attack. So these issues aren’t as simple as they might seem at first blush. While, of course, we must be careful to protect the rights and security of innocent American citizens, jumping up and down screaming and pointing fingers is not the kind of approach that is appropriate for considering such weighty concerns.
But a Cornel West supporter recently called me to task for constantly challenging Dr. West’s intelligence. He asked, "Eric, who made you judge and jury to attribute intelligence or lack thereof, to any individual?"
That's a reasonable question, so I'll try to give a reasonable response. My assessment of a person's intelligence is not based on their credentials, but on their behavior. And who am I to make such a judgment? I'm human, and human beings are called upon to make such judgments hundreds of times a day just to survive. It's called assessing your environment. In this case, it's extremely important for the Black community to assess West's competence, because, considering his flagging, but still substantial influence, failing to understand his character, motivations, and shortcomings could have a devastating impact on our community.
The results of the 2000 election stands as a perfect example of my contention. George W. Bush won the 2000 election by winning Florida by 537 votes. In that same state, the Nader/West coalition peeled away 97,488 votes. So one could argue that West is more than a little responsible for the suffering that's currently going on among Black people today. And you know what? West didn't learn a thing. He tried to team up with Nader again in the last election. So either he lacks intelligence, or he's engaged in collusion with the Republican Party. It's very important, therefore, that the Black community make a valid assessment of who this man is.
As Min. Louis Farrakhan so adroitly pointed out to Tavis Smiley, President Obama is not turning grey-headed for nothing. He’s dealing with serious issues, and he’s privy to information in which we can only speculate. So it’s one thing to question policy, but when Cornel West goes around making incendiary comments, and calling the President of the United States a war criminal, it's not only childish, irresponsible, unprofessional, and ignorant, but it lends support to the enemies of both the Black community, and the American people as a whole.
Eric L. Wattree
Citizens Against Reckless Middle-Class Abuse (CARMA)
Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.