2005-10-26

Morning Report: October 26, 2005

Iraq ratifies constitution. The Counterterrorism Blog reports: 'The count is finished, and Iraqis voted to ratify the constitution, with the three Sunni-dominated provinces failing to vote in sufficient negative numbers. The terrorists failed to stop the voting and failed to persuade Sunnis in Ninevah to abandon the political process and follow their murderous road. Yesterday's triple bombings, now apparently claimed by Al Qaida in Iraq, should also be seen as another proof of their strategic failure to date.' (CTB)

Rosa Parks remembered. CNN: 'Civil rights hero Rosa Parks died Monday night at the age of 92. 'President Bush opened a speech to a group of military spouses Tuesday by praising Parks as "one of the most inspiring women of the 20th century." "Rosa Parks' example helped touch off the civil rights movement, and transformed America for the better," Bush said. "She will always have a special place in American history, and our nation thinks of Rosa Parks and her loved ones today." Parks is best remembered for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama, in December 1955. That act led to her arrest, which triggered a 381-day boycott of the bus system by blacks that was organized by a 26-year-old Baptist minister, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. The boycott ended after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that Montgomery's segregated bus service was unconstitutional. But it wasn't until the 1964 Civil Rights Act that all public accommodations nationwide were desegregated.' LaShawn Barber: 'Call her “the woman who refused to get up,” but I’m sure Rosa Parks had no idea what her tired feet and frustrating treatment would lead to on December 1, 1955. What became known as the Civil Rights movement was bound to start sooner or later. It was only a matter of time before blacks would reject all that “back of the bus” and “Whites Only” nonsense. In a country where they were paying taxes, too? Please. I’m surprised the movement didn’t hit America with full force 10-15 years earlier when black men were fighting for their country in WWII (see Against All Enemies, Foreign and Domestic). December 1, 1955, was also the beginning of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which lasted about a year. Blacks refused to ride the buses in Montgomery, Alabama, until November 13, 1956, when the U.S. Supreme Court declared segregation on buses unconstitutional. Despite its embarrassing and often pathetic history, America is still, by far, the greatest country in the world, no matter what color you happen to be. Parks and her husband Raymond didn’t have children, as far as I can tell from news accounts of her life. In a way, I suppose those she inspired to stand up to injustice were her offspring. Once people understand the power they have in a free country, the moral authority to demand justice, watch out. I once heard this line from a movie: “Change the way people think, and things will never be the same.” Whatever her reasons that fateful day, I’m glad she decided to stay in her seat.' Liberal War Journal: 'America, and the world has lost a giant this week, as Rosa Parks has passed away at age 92. You all know the story, of how she refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on the segregated buses of Alabama, and thus took a principled stand against Jim Crow, and for the civil rights, and basic dignity of all Americans. Parks' stand half a century ago gives us in this generation an example of the triumph of the individual-- it reminds us that one person, armed with truth, really can make a difference. Her stand set the stage for the leaders to come, including of course, Dr. King. The legacy of Rosa Parks, in her stand against the ruling powers and popular opinion of her day, in her overcoming of fear and doubt, gives us a lesson, that for the continued survival of this republic, must march unimpeded throughout the long trail of history: That principled people of all kinds, must often make trouble, and challenge those in power, in order to see that justice is done when and where it ought to be done. Even at the cost of one's life and livelihood. Especially in times like these...' Baldilocks:'One day you're an unknown Negro seamstress in the segregated South. The next day, you're a legend whose very name evokes hope and change for the better in an America that lives up to her ideals. Amazing how small events can ripple out into meaningful change.' (various)

Belmont Club on Galloway. In a May 23 post, Wretchard argued that George Galloway and the US Congress were pursuing a "non-collision course" when the British MP and Saddam sympathizer appeared in Washington to testify. Now, the Belmont Club reports: 'In that May post, I wrote that the tone and manner of Galloway's examination suggested that the Senators were trying to establish a specific point for the record, in the hopes of using Galloway's testimony against him later. In the exchange above it is abundantly clear that both Coleman and Levin simply wanted to enter Galloway's denial of having discussed Oil for Food business with Tariq Aziz in the record. Levin immediately ends his questioning after eliciting Galloway's "Never". Coleman is content to merely establish that Aziz and Galloway were "friends" who had met "many times" before saying "I have no further questions of the witness". The London Times reports that "The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations will refer the Respect Party MP for possible prosecution after concluding that he gave 'false and misleading' testimony at his appearance before the panel in May." In particular, the Senate alleges they have found a paper trail showing payments leading from Fawaz Zureikat to George Galloway's wife. The Washington Times further reports that "Mr. Galloway personally asked for and received from Mr. Aziz and others eight allocations from 1999 to 2003 for the rights to 23 million barrels of oil." In any trial over perjury, Galloway's response to the Senator's questions in May will loom large.' Read the full post at the link. (Belmont Club)

UK taking tougher line on IRI? Via Regime Change Iran, James G. Forsyth at Foreign Policy writes: 'British Prime Minister Tony Blair has decided to play hardball with Iran. Frustrated by the lack of progress in negotiations over Tehran’s nuclear program, the British—who used to give Iran the benefit of the doubt—are now hedging their bets on nuclear diplomacy by using Iran’s meddling in Iraq to make military options more palatable to the British public. Blair’s policy of treating Iran with kid gloves was born out of the conviction that Iran would soon evolve into a democracy. In 1998, a year after Blair won his first election, full diplomatic relations were restored between Britain and Iran (despite the fatwa on British author Salman Rushdie remaining in place). Jack Straw became the first British foreign secretary to visit Tehran since the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Straw assured the Iranians they were not a target in the post-9/11 war on terror. Now, though, the tide is turning. Jonathan Lindley, a Middle East expert at the Royal United Services Institute in London, says that the prime minister’s office has decided to use “more stick and less carrot” in its relations with Iran. The first evidence of this new approach came early this month, when a British official accused Iran of supplying the Basra insurgency with bombmaking technology via Hezbollah. The next day, Blair himself repeated the charge. That was a turnaround from previous statements, when British officials had argued that the Iranians were actually helping in Iraq by acting as a calming influence on the more excitable Shiite groups. Then on October 11, the Foreign Office’s Middle East Minister, Kim Howells, declared in a Parliamentary debate that if Iran were to acquire nuclear weapons, it could give momentum to proposals for Britain to upgrade its own nuclear arsenal. Howells ended the debate by responding to calls from members of parliament for a tougher policy toward Iran with a cryptic message, suggesting that the government is no longer quite as certain that it will never strike Iran’s nuclear facilities. “[T]he world of diplomacy requires one to choose language very carefully. My right honorable friend the foreign secretary said that he could not envisage any circumstances in which there would be some sort of armed response to the problem of nuclear proliferation. I hope that the honorable gentleman will understand what I am saying.” ' (Foreign Policy via RCI)