Thursday, October 09, 2008

Obama and the terrorist

The American public, at least that portion of it not presently in the tank with Democrat nominee for President Sen. Barack Obama, will not accept as sufficient Obama’s explanation of his association with University of Illinois professor Bill Ayers.

Obama has sought to dismiss his association with Ayers by saying he was eight years old when Ayers was a founder and member of the Weather Underground, a group of Anti-Vietnam War era domestic terrorists that bombed targets inside the United States, including the Capitol building in Washington DC.

According to a 2001 story about Ayers that that Obama ought to have seen in Chicago Magazine, “Between 1970 and 1974, the Weatherman took credit for 12 bombings, including one at the United States Capitol and another involving several police cars.”

In 1970, a bomb that was apparently being built in a Greenwich Village townhouse, occupied by at least five members of the Weatherman, accidentally exploded—killing three of the group, including Ayers's beloved Diana Oughton. In Fugitive Days, Ayers tries to imagine what happened. Maybe Diana tried to stop the others from their path? Maybe they all drank too much coffee and smoked too many cigarettes?

Maybe Diana saw that this bomb, packed with nails and screws, would have exacted a heavy human toll if it had ever reached its destination—a New Jersey military base. Could she have, in a gesture of sacrifice, crossed the wires herself? "I'll never know what happened," he says. "That's the price I have to pay."

Obama was not eight years old -- and he was well beyond the age of reason -- when he chose to associate himself with Ayres. Concerning his relationship with the unrepentant terrorist, legitimate questions can and should be raised, and Obama can and should be willing to answer them fully without his usual practiced evasions.

Was Obama's association with Ayres a) casual, b) professional, c) friendly, d) political – or all or any of the above?

Given what we know already about the role Ayers has played in launching Obama political career, it should be fairly difficult for Obama to maintain the view that this relationship was "casual" or unimportant.

It may be possible to maintain a casual relationship with a former unrepentant terrorist; you engage the unrepentant terrorist on a bus on your way to work in the morning, bid him good day, and go your way. That is a casual relationship. After all, the man is “in the neighborhood” and you cannot help but bump into him from time to time. When the unrepentant terrorist launches your political career by sponsoring a campaign meet and greet for you; when you serve with him on the Woods Fund, from which you have distributed grants to, among others, the church to which you have long belonged; when he elevates you to the chairmanship of the Annenberg Challenge, which controls a $50-million fund collected in large part from the federal government whose agents Ayers’ former terrorist organization once sought to bomb -- you have moved beyond a casual relationship.

Striking “casual,” Obama’s relationship with Ayres was likely professional and political. That being the case, it is not necessary that the relationship should have been a friendly one.

Casual it was not. These pathological evasions are annoying and have not been tolerated by Big Media when Republican politicians resort to them.

One suspects that Obama’s interviewers and the Associated Press, which so far has given him pretty much a free ride on the question, knows this.
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