Thursday, February 1, 2007

Taking Down the Bad Guys

Task Force 145, the special ops team tasked with hunting down al-Qaeda leaders around the world, appears, in Bill Roggio's opinion, to have taken down another bad guy:

Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, one of Osama bin Laden's brother-in-laws with deep roots in al-Qaeda as a financier and facilitator, has been reported to have been murdered in his bedroom in Madagascar. Khalifa, "who mined and traded precious stones in Madagascar," was reported to have been murdered by "a gang of 20 to 30 gunmen broke into his brother's bedroom, shot him dead 'in cold blood' and stole his belongings."

"I don't think [his death] was politically motivated," said Malek Khalifa, Mohammed Jamal's brother. But Khalifa's deep ties to al-Qaeda, coupled with his history of funding global terrorist operations, his operations in mining precious stones in Africa (a source of untraceable income), and the size of the 'gang' that murdered him, suggests otherwise. We suspect Khalifa was assassinated. "They stole everything - his computer, all of his things," said Khalifa's brother.

Task Force 145 has a mandate to hunt down senior al-Qaeda operatives world wide, and is known to have operated in Pakistan to destroy Osama bin Laden's Black Guard. Also, the U.S. recently deployed naval assets to the region, as well as Task Force 145, in the hunt for al-Qaeda and Islamic Courts leaders fleeing Somalia.

Roggio has more at the link.


Bigot or Bonehead?

In the course of an otherwise astute analysis of his Democratic rivals for the presidential nomination, Senator Joseph Biden delivered himself of this head-scratcher about Barack Obama:

"I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy," he said. "I mean, that's a storybook, man."

Either Senator Biden merely mangled the rules of syntax or he has let slip a racial faux pas that should elicits howls of outrage from a media that committed Trent Lott to a political immolation for allowing on the occasion of Strom Thurmond's 100th birthday that he'd have made a fine president back in 1948 and which pilloried George Allen for saying macaca until Allen eventually lost his senate seat. I'm reminded, too, of the brouhaha over Rush Limbaugh's assertion on ESPN that Donovan McNabb is treated more gently by the sports media because they're reluctant to criticize a black quarterback.

Now comes the maladroit Senator Biden seemingly suggesting, if words mean anything, that Barack Obama is the first mainstream black in history who is articulate (why is it that whites are rarely described as articulate?), bright, clean (!?) and "nice-looking." Could the senator from Delaware really have meant to imply that every other black who has appeared on the political stage was inarticulate, dumb, ugly and dirty?

The media have a test for answering such conundrums, of course. Their answer is "no," because, you see, Biden is a Democrat. Had he been a Republican the answer would have certainly been "yes," and the caterwauling over his racial bigotry and the demands for his political head would be even now coming to a boil. As it is we'll hear very little mention on the news of what is either boneheaded inarticulation or outright racism. We'll certainly not be reminded every night for weeks and months, as we were reminded for months that Senator Allen said macaca, that Biden's opinion was far uglier or, shining the best light on it, far more stupid than anything Allen said.

For what it's worth I don't think Senator Biden actually intended to give offense. That would have been incredibly dumb even for a man whose friends rarely mention mental acuity when praising his virtues. But that's the point. Neither did Trent Lott, George Allen, or Rush Limbaugh intend to give offense. Yet that didn't matter to a media which sees itself in a war of annihilation against its political enemies and which will do all it can to protect its friends and destroy its foes.