First, this is very clearly (to anyone who made it past 6th grade) a reference to Gen Anthony McAuliffe's laconic (oops, is that a Spartan reference?) response to German requests he surrender during the Battle of the Bulge, at Bastogne. I hardly expect any member of the press to either know basic history, nor have the care or intellect to ask someone for clarification. It's too much like work. Fortunately, the meaning is obvious to most Americans of normal intellect, and several commenters helpfully explained it.
The reporter's response? "So you think CAIR are Nazis."
As I said, expecting useful, accurate information out of the Special Olympics of Writing (newspaper and TV reporting) is asking too much. So I snickered and moved on.
Here's a brief refresher for the members of the media:
The First Amendment confirms an innate human right to free expression that does not incite harm to others. Had West said, "Kill all Muslims," he could be charged with a crime. However, what he was saying was, in politer language, "Go fuck yourselves." He has every right to say this, and mean it, just as they had every right to make their request. Open, shut, done. I'm not going to wade into the he-said-they-said of the merits of their request or his chosen platform. They both have the right to express their positions. I shouldn't be amazed that reporters don't understand this, because I've met so many who don't.
However, a friend of mine made this statement: "I do find it adorable when bigoted war-criminals compare themselves to famous generals."
(Which proves that Americans of normal intellect, regardless of party (He leans Dem), are aware of the reference. I cannot state enough that reporters are by and large contemptible, lazy, and worthless, which is why most of them don't even earn enough to pay income tax. Still, it keeps them from working at McDonald's, where they'd probably be unable to follow health code rules, and might set themselves and others on fire.)
Well, let’s look at that:
While serving in Taji, Iraq, West received information from an intelligence specialist about a reported plot to ambush him and his men. The alleged plot reportedly involved Yahya Jhodri Hamoodi, a civilian Iraqi police officer. West, who was not responsible for conducting interrogations in Iraq and had never conducted nor witnessed one, had his men detain Hamoodi. In the process of detaining Mr. Hamoodi, soldiers testified that Hamoodi appeared to reach for his weapon and needed to be subdued. Hamoodi was beaten by four soldiers from the 220th Field Artillery Battalion on the head and body. West then fired his pistol near Hamoodi's head, after which Hamoodi provided West with names and information, which Hamoodi later described as "meaningless information induced by fear and pain." At least one of these suspects was arrested as a result, but no plans for attacks or weapons were found. West said "At the time I had to base my decision on the intelligence I received. It's possible that I was wrong about Mr. Hamoodi."
West was charged with violating articles 128 (assault) and 134 (general article) of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. During a hearing held as part of an Article 32 investigation in November 2003, West stated, "I know the method I used was not right, but I wanted to take care of my soldiers." The charges were ultimately referred to an Article 15 proceeding rather than court-martial, at which West was fined $5,000. LTC West accepted the judgment and retired with full benefits in the summer of 2004. Asked if he would act differently under similar circumstances again, West testified, "If it's about the lives of my soldiers at stake, I'd go through hell with a gasoline can." After Lieutenant Colonel West was relieved of his command, an interpreter employed by a private contractor said that without his presence the region he previously oversaw "became more dangerous and chaotic".
At his hearing, West pointed out that there were no further ambushes against American forces in Taji until he was relieved of his leadership post on October 4.
So, Article 15 is nonjudicial punishment that does not constitute a conviction, or even a charge. Therefore, West is not a war criminal, and to call him such publicly WOULD violate the 1st Amendment, by being slander or libel. I'd suggest not doing so in your blog.
Nor do I see anywhere where he "Compared himself" to a famous general. He simply quoted a famous general, as has been done by others.
As to CAIR, there are positive Muslim groups. I would be hesitant to call CAIR such, given that:
In 2008, the FBI discontinued its long-standing relationship with CAIR. Officials said the decision followed the conviction of the HLF directors for funneling millions of dollars to Hamas, revelations that Nihal Awad had participated in planning meetings with HLF, and CAIR's failure to provide details of its ties to Hamas. During a 2008 retrial of the HLF case, FBI Special Agent Lara Burns labeled CAIR "a front group for Hamas." In January 2009, the FBI's DC office instructed all field offices to cut ties with CAIR, as the ban extended into the Obama administration.
Critics of CAIR, including six members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, have alleged ties between the CAIR founders and Hamas. The founders, Omar Ahmad and Nihad Awad, had earlier been officers of the Islamic Association of Palestine (IAP), described by a former FBI analyst and US Treasury Department intelligence official as "intimately tied to the most senior Hamas leadership." Both Ahmad and Awad participated in a meeting held in Philadelphia on October 3, 1993, that involved senior leaders of Hamas, the Holy Land Foundation (which was designated in 1995 by Executive Order, and later convicted in court, as an organization that had raised millions of dollars for Hamas) , and the IAP. Based on electronic surveillance of the meeting, the FBI reported that "the participants went to great length and spent much effort hiding their association with the Islamic Resistance Movement [Hamas]." Participants at the meeting discussed forming a "political organization and public relations" body, "whose Islamic hue is not very conspicuous."
Critics also point to a July 1994 meeting identifying CAIR as one of the four U.S. organizations comprising the working organizations of the Palestine Committee of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood, the parent organization and supporter of Hamas. At a 1994 meeting at Barry University, Awad said that he was "in support of the Hamas movement". CAIR has responded by noting that Hamas was only designated a terrorist organization in January 1995 and did not commit its first wave of suicide bombings until late 1994, after Awad made the comment.
Daniel Pipes and investigative reporter Steven Emerson accuse CAIR of being a front for Hamas, having ties to terrorism, as well as "offering a platform to conspiratorial Israel-bashers." The Anti-Defamation League and Emerson have also accused CAIR of having a long record of propagating antisemitic propaganda. Journalist Jake Tapper criticizes CAIR for refusing to condemn specifically Osama bin Laden and Islamic extremism, but rather making only vague and generic criticisms.[page needed]
Not provably criminal behavior, but would you really want them to stand up as character references at your trial?
As to bigotry, it is not a crime, which is fortunate for quite a few on the left (I DO NOT include my correspondent in this. I believe his moral position is valid, and, if I had all the details of the exchanges between West and CAIR I might even agree, or I might not. That's not what I'm looking at here). I do meet quite an impressive number of "tolerant" "liberals" who can give me a lengthy list of things they don't tolerate, and why if I tolerate them I'm intolerant and they won't tolerate it. Once again, there's no point in arguing with idiots.
You'll notice I'm admitting a bigotry toward idiots and reporters (Sorry for the redundancy). Everyone has prejudices and acts on them to some degree or another. When religion and politics step into play, the name calling starts. That's part of the game, and a certain amount of it is actually human nature: http://www.brookings.edu/articles/2007/0313technology_hammond.aspx (first article I came to. This is a lengthy field of study).
Politics and positions aside, I think there's a very important issue here that still needs resolved: If I were to wipe my ass with pages from the Bible and Koran, there are very few Christians who'd take overt action. Many would be disgusted, some would pray for me, others simply turn away. There are a substantial minority of Muslims who would threaten or attempt violence.
Those particular Muslims need to get over it. This is the 21st Century, not the Dark Ages, and they need to accept that large numbers of us have no interest in or outright distaste for their god and prophet (may bees pee on him). People DO have the right to burn the US Flag, crap on their holy book (or any other holy book), call them names and otherwise express positions that are valid, invalid, well-considered or off the cuff.
So regardless of what anyone thinks of West's statements, I believe they are necessary, and I endorse their presence, without comment on their content.
And for anyone who has a problem with that, go fuck yourself.
That's what free speech is.