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Posted at 7:45 AM ET, 02/ 9/2011

Morning Bits

By Jennifer Rubin

We still have a problem. "Official and independent analysts said Iran's uranium enrichment program is performing consistently, signaling its recovery following a temporary suspension in late 2010 and a possible computer-based strike, Reuters reported yesterday."

The International Criminal Court is still after Americans for "war crimes," this time threatening to arrest George W. Bush. David Frum makes a smart point: "President Obama has a duty to speak up and to warn foreign governments that further indulgence of this kind of nonsense by their court systems will be viewed as an unfriendly act by the United States. It is one more reminder of why the concept of an International Criminal Court is such an invitation to mischief. And for those inclined to enjoy the mischief: Just wait until somebody serves an arrest warrant in Luxembourg on ex-President Obama for ordering all those drone strikes on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border."

Jackson Diehl reports the bipartisan Egypt Working Group has been ahead of the curve on Egypt. Unfortunately, the administration still won't listen.

And the Egypt Working Group is still trying to keep the momentum going. Its latest letter to the president and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton begins, "We are concerned by reports suggesting that the U.S. administration may acquiesce to an inadequate and possibly fraudulent transition process in Egypt. The process that is unfolding now has many of the attributes of a smokescreen."

Americans still don't agree with the objective of Obamacare. "As they have from the beginning of the health care debate, voters see cost reduction as more important than ensuring universal coverage." Sure, Obamacare was supposed to bring down costs, but only the non-realists buy that.

Whatever spin the media and Hillary Clinton want to put on it, the Muslim Brotherhood is still a terrorist group. " 'Jihad is the Way' is the last of a five-volume work, 'The Laws of Da'wa,' by Mustafa Mashhur, who headed the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt from 1996-2002. The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday saw excerpts of the text, compiled by Palestinian Media Watch founder Itamar Marcus and analyst Nan Jacques Zilberdik. They detail the Brotherhood's objectives of advancing the global conquest of Islam and reestablishing the Islamic Caliphate, the public and private duties of jihad and the struggle Muslims must wage against Israel."

Hosni Mubarak still doesn't get it. Saad Eddin Ibrahm writes: "The young Egyptians now making their stand for democracy in Cairo's Tahrir Square were all born during Hosni Mubarak's reign. Although Mr. Mubarak has finally vowed to step down at the end of his term in September, few believe him. And the increasingly violent response of his dying regime demonstrates why the protestors' skepticism is justified."

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) says the Republicans are still determined to repeal Obamacare. "House Majority Leader Eric Cantor says the bill to fund the government for the rest of the year will have language to withhold funding from the health care law by the time it passes the House next week. It was a message to the party's conservative base that, no, Republicans haven't forgotten about defunding the health care law. But Cantor still didn't promise that the defunding language would be in the bill from the beginning -- as tea partiers and other opponents of the law want."

By Jennifer Rubin  | February 9, 2011; 7:45 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Bits  
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Next: Obama sows confusion on Egypt

Comments

While Frum may be right on principle, it is becoming clearer everyday that foreign nations, particularly our one-time allies, don't put very much stock in what Obama has to say. And why would they?

As for the possibility that Obama might face the same treatment and end up arrested on charges related to his drone policies, that might turn out to be a fair trade if it were to put the cork to Barry's inevitable and probably non-stop post-presidency speaking tour (talking is, after all, his sole core competency). Of course, such foreign action against Obama assumes moral consistency from the left, which is laughable both from the moral and the consistency angles.

Posted by: VideoSavant | February 9, 2011 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Excellent comment by VideoSavant.

Posted by: nvjma | February 9, 2011 10:27 AM | Report abuse

I would be much happier if the developed world (which we're clearly not part of) had a standard of conduct for everyone, that if you commit war crimes whether you are some villainous looking Serbian general or the US president, that there will be consequences, that there is no statute of limitations, and that if you show up in Paris for a shopping trip, there's a good chance that the police will turn up at your hotel and haul your rear end away in handcuffs.

What's the alternative? A world where US leaders commit war crimes as a matter of course, third world leaders commit war crimes because the US does, and everybody just stews in the juice, knowing that there are two rules of law: one for them, and one for the powerful.

Before we hanged the top Nazis, the US judges lectured them about how there is a standard of conduct going forward that all nations, particularly the victors of the second world war, would be held to. Allowing our war criminals to launch aggressive wars, torture prisoners, etc, and then spend the rest of their lives in black tie beating their chests and boasting about their crimes on TV makes a mockery of the principles of Nuremburg.

Posted by: jiji1 | February 9, 2011 10:37 AM | Report abuse

BTW, this 'leftist' (who believes in jobs, healthcare and the rule of law - that qualifies one as a raging Marxist today apparently) believes that law enforcement should enforce the law. If that means arresting and trying an ex-president Obama, so be it. I don't have friends, I have principles.

Posted by: jiji1 | February 9, 2011 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Rubin misunderstands the political scene. There are certainly parts of USA where corporate propaganda is so successful that the electorate strongly opposes anything supported by President Obama. Democrats representing those regions must perforce act accordingly – at least in the short run.

The rest of the country increasing understands that the Affordable Health Care Act – which is very close to what GOP politicians, including Richard Nixon, once proposed – is, on the whole, exceedingly good for USA. ABC and Jennifer Rubin notwithstanding, the act will be exceedingly good ammo for Democrats in coming elections.

Posted by: J_B_A | February 9, 2011 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Jennifer,

This is billed as a conservative blog, but it really isn't. It's a blog about Israel either directly or tangentially in virtually every posting.

It's not even just about Israel in general however, but about a very small, myopic, rabidly reactionary segment of American opinion that denies even many Israeli policy-makers themselves know what they're doing!

Your posting yesterday about Generals Jones and Petraeus in which you told them basically to shut up and die, was for me the final straw. For those who did not read it, here's the relevant portion from your column, in my comment of yesterday:

-----------------------

"One suspects that the upper echelons of the military are steeped in the brew of "Israel is the key to the region's problems" conventional wisdom. In that regard, one is tempted to advise a great many generals and admirals to hush up and fight."

Isn't this statement an example of an extraordinary conceit and hubris?

How dare these generals and admirals, who have been away from their families and along with their soldiers, been fighting America's enemies for all the years of their professional lives, question the judgement of a labor lawyer from California, and self-appointed guardian of the interests of Israel.

Please note that she herself has never deigned to battle any of those enemies which she wants the military to "hush up and fight", but only that they should do her bidding and shed blood quietly without giving their annoying opinions.

Of all the comments you have made in the time you have had this column Jennifer this is the most despicable, and the one for which you owe every American general and admiral a humble apology.

-----------------------------


Reading your column again, the only word I could use to describe it is a "Hannity-like" one that I have used perhaps five times in a lifetime . . . unpatriotic.

So you will be happy to know that I am done with your column, reading it as well as posting on it.

I am under no illusion that losing me as reader is in anyway important. I did want to write this however not only to express disgust, but to thank several people.

Rcaruth, adam62, ritchieemmmons, enoii, shingo, even skipsailing and beniyy, and any I've forgottten, (and all the members of the Academy who voted for me! LOL) thanks for the replies and often opposition to my views. You made it very interesting. See you on another blog perhaps.


Posted by: johnmarshall5446 | February 9, 2011 11:17 AM | Report abuse

J_B_A,

This is essentially the argument that the electorate doesn't fully understand or appreciate the magnificence of Obamacare. This argument comes down to the fact that the information hasn't been properly presented to a nation that is sadly slow on the intellectual uptake and that it is susceptible to capitalist propaganda.

I hope that you right, and that the Democrats lead from "strength" in 2012. If they do, it will make the electoral bloodbath of 2010 look like a slip and fall case.

Unfortunately for you, we're not planning on the Democrats acting willfully stupid. It would be a nice bonus, but it's not necessary to send Democrats packing from the executive and legislative branches. But your assistance is sincerely appreciated.

Posted by: VideoSavant | February 9, 2011 11:19 AM | Report abuse

"The movement differs from international terror groups like Al-Qaida, he [Marcus] said, only in tactics, not in its goals.

Marcus cited passages in the text that urge Muslims to wage jihad only when circumstances are ripe.

“The Brotherhood is not rushed by youth’s enthusiasm into immature and unplanned action which will not alter the bad reality and may even harm the Islamic activity, and will benefit the people of falsehood,” Mashhur wrote.

“One should know that it is not necessary that the Muslims repel every attack or damage caused by the enemies of Allah immediately, but [only] when ability and the circumstances are fit to it.”

Jihad is the Way explicitly endorses the reinstatement of a worldwide Islamic regime."

Jennifer, if you understand the nature of the Muslim Brotherhood, why shouldn't thwarting them be our paramount goal, rather than the chimera of "democracy" in a nation where most citizens favor Sharia law and jihad?

Posted by: eoniii | February 9, 2011 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Ms Rubin,
Your comments on the International Criminal Court are misguided, ill informed and shockingly incorrect. Please, whatever your political views, take more care as a journalist writing on a credible news outlet.
1. The ICC is not pursuing Americans. Preliminary investigations are underway in Afghanistan, nothing more. If the ICC were to open a case against President Bush it would hopefully 'still' pursue him in spite of inevitable pressure for it not to, because that is what credible justice seeking institutions do. They are independent.
2. David Frum does not make a smart point. He in fact makes a factually erroneous one, unless you have misquoted him, which seems entirely possible. Foreign governments do not make decisions as to which cases the ICC pursues, barring the permanent members of the UN Security Council, which can refer a situation to the Court (as was the case with Darfur). Need I remind you that the US is a member of said Security Council and abstained from the vote on whether to refer Sudan to the ICC - an effectual nod to the Court that it should pursue that case. Furthermore, it is not Obama's duty to warn foreign governments about how their independent courts should act, though you might wish this were the case.
3. The ICC is in The Hague, which is in The Netherlands, not in Luxembourg. These are different countries in a continent called Europe.
I really am quite disheartened by the quality of your commentary.

Posted by: jesseloncraine | February 9, 2011 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Re: jesseloncraine

Hey, even a bum with dial-up access can google the quote to check its accuracy! I've cut-pasted the link and relevant (enclosing)quote below to help you check Jennifer's accuracy:

http://www.frumforum.com/obama-should-protest-bush-arrest-threat

"It’s hard to know how much of this story is true, and how much is fundraising bluster. But if even a small portion of the news is true, President Obama has a duty to speak up and to warn foreign governments that further indulgence of this kind of nonsense by their court systems will be viewed as an unfriendly act by the United States. It is one more reminder of why the concept of an International Criminal Court is such an invitation to mischief.

And for those inclined to enjoy the mischief: Just wait until somebody serves an arrest warrant in Luxembourg on ex-President Obama for ordering all those drone strikes on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border."

So, your statement (cut-pasted):
"2. David Frum does not make a smart point. He in fact makes a factually erroneous one, unless you have misquoted him, which seems entirely possible."

seems a tad gratuitous a slam, no? But, in your defense, Jennifer our blogging machine does sometimes leave some typos in, so you are technically correct. But her cut-pasted quotes are generally accurate, though you may certainly disagree with her (interpretative opinions or opinionated interpretations ?:))

I hope you have cc'd your complaint to Mr. Frum for the Luxembourg 'error' (the context of which I am too clueless to measure who's right or wrong or rhetorically shiftless or shifty on the matter.)

I'm way too lazy to google the Constitution or President's Oath of Office for the duties, etc., but from the context, I'd say Frum, saying the President "has a duty", is not speaking literally of the duties of the office (and neither are you!)

P.S. You write way better than I ever can or will, but I just wanted to let you know the quote was accurate. Take heart!

Posted by: aardunza | February 10, 2011 2:33 AM | Report abuse

Re: aardunza.

Thanks for clearing up the accuracy of Ms Rubin's quotation. My criticism still stands however. By citing Mr Frun's comments directly below her own statement about the ICC, Ms Rubin makes it appear, through a slight of hand, that foreign governments are using the Court to pursue their own national vendettas against President Bush. On Mr Frun's part there is no logical or defensible connection between foreign governments' policies and what he calls an invitation to mischief (when referring to the independent International Criminal Court).
All round what is being presented is a dishonest, fear-mongering image of a Court which is actually there for our protection. It pains me when I see people lambasting the Court in this way without careful consideration of its functions. I would like to add that the Court was born out of the Genocide Convention and the Nuremberg Trials, and one of the US Prosecutors in Nuremberg, Ben Ferencz, has worked his entire life to fight for its creation.
Why is the American right so pitted against the idea of universal justice? I find it very sad.

Posted by: jesseloncraine | February 10, 2011 1:43 PM | Report abuse

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