Political wind

John M. Murtagh: ‘The Weathermen tried to kill my family’

In February 1970, John Murtagh was still a child when his father presided over a case where the defendants, members of the Black Panther Party, were accused of plotting to bomb a department store and landmarks in New York City. Mr. Murtagh vividly remembers the night the Weatherman firebombed his house:

I still recall, as though it were a dream, thinking that someone was lifting and dropping my bed as the explosions jolted me awake, and I remember my mother’s pulling me from the tangle of sheets and running to the kitchen where my father stood. Through the large windows overlooking the yard, all we could see was the bright glow of flames below. We didn’t leave our burning house for fear of who might be waiting outside. The same night, bombs were thrown at a police car in Manhattan and two military recruiting stations in Brooklyn. Sunlight, the next morning, revealed three sentences of blood-red graffiti on our sidewalk: FREE THE PANTHER 21; THE VIET CONG HAVE WON; KILL THE PIGS.

As the association between Obama and Ayers came to light, it would have helped the senator a little if his friend had at least shown some remorse. But listen to Ayers interviewed in the New York Times on September 11, 2001, of all days: “I don’t regret setting bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough.” Translation: “We meant to kill that judge and his family, not just damage the porch.” When asked by the Times if he would do it all again, Ayers responded: “I don’t want to discount the possibility.”

Though never a supporter of Obama, I admired him for a time for his ability to engage our imaginations, and especially for his ability to inspire the young once again to embrace the political system. Yet his myopia in the last few months has cast a new light on his “politics of change.” Nobody should hold the junior senator from Illinois responsible for his friends’ and supporters’ violent terrorist acts. But it is fair to hold him responsible for a startling lack of judgment in his choice of mentors, associates, and friends, and for showing a callous disregard for the lives they damaged and the hatred they have demonstrated for this country. It is fair, too, to ask what those choices say about Obama’s own beliefs, his philosophy, and the direction he would take our nation.

At the conclusion of his 2001 Times interview, Ayers said of his upbringing and subsequent radicalization: “I was a child of privilege and I woke up to a world on fire.”

Funny thing, Bill: one night, so did I.


Hamas rebuts Carter’s claim of concession

The Washington Times reports this morning that Hamas, a Sunni terrorist group (as designated by the U.S. State Department) which is controlled by Shiite Iran, says they made no deal with private citizen former President Jimmy Carter:

Hamas said yesterday it was prepared to accept a Palestinian state within 1967 borders, but contradicted a statement by former President Jimmy Carter that it would accept Israel’s right to exist if that was the will of the Palestinian people.

State Department officials said the Hamas statement fell far short of what was needed for the militant movement to play a constructive role in the administration’s drive for a Middle East peace deal before President Bush leaves office.

Hamas “said they would accept a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders if approved by Palestinians, and that they would accept the right of Israel to live as a neighbor in peace, provided the agreements negotiated by [Palestinian Authority] President [Mahmoud] Abbas were submitted to the Palestinians,” Mr. Carter said.

However, State Department spokesman Tom Casey said in Washington that it was clear “nothing has changed in terms of Hamas’ basic views about Israel and about peace in the region.”

“They still refuse to acknowledge or recognize any of the basic Quartet principles, including recognizing Israel’s right to exist, renouncing terrorism and acknowledging all the previous agreements that have been made between the Palestinian Authority and Israel itself.

“I think,” he said, “if you look back at the history of the rhetoric from Hamas, you see… language about truces and other kinds of issues.

“But the bottom line is, Hamas still believes in the destruction of the state of Israel. They don’t believe Israel has a right to exist. And it’s pretty hard to see how Hamas becomes any kind of legitimate partner for Israel or for President Abbas, for that matter, as long as its fundamental view is that the person that you would achieve a peace agreement with doesn’t have a right to exist.”

Go home, President Carter, and please stay there; you are not helping.