Rashad Hussain, 31, is President Obama's choice to be the U.S. envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, an organization of 56 Islamic states that promotes Muslim solidarity in economic, social and political affairs.
A Muslim of Indian extraction born in Wyoming and a brilliant young attorney (BA from the University of North Carolina in two years; two masters degrees from Harvard, a law degree from Yale), Mr. Hussain would seem a fine choice for the post.
But there's a problem.
In 2004, Mr. Hussain made a speech at a Muslim Student Association conference in Chicago in which he said the trials of Sami al Arian and several others were "politically motivated persecutions."Mr. al Arian, then a professor at the University of South Florida, was said by the Justice Department to be the head of U.S. operations for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which was designated a terrorist organization in 1997. After a trial in which Mr. al Arian was found not guilty on eight charges and the jury was hung on nine others, Mr. al Arian pled guilty in 2006 to one count of conspiracy and was sentenced to four years in prison.
Mr. Hussain's remarks were reported at the time by the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. But in February of last year -- about the time Mr. Hussain was named a deputy White House counsel -- they were deleted (without her knowledge) from the story on the conference written by Shereen Kandil.
When word of his remarks surfaced after his nomination as envoy to the OIC, Mr. Hussain initially said he had "no recollection" of having said any such thing. His memory improved after Josh Gerstein of the Politico uncovered a tape of his presentation at the conference.
"I made statements on that panel that I now recognize were ill-conceived and not well formulated," Mr. Hussain said after quotes from the recording were supplied to the White House. "The judicial process has now concluded, and I have full faith in its outcome."
The Muslim Student Association was founded by the Muslim Brotherhood in 1963. The Muslim Brotherhood, founded in Egypt in 1928, has the same goal as al Qaida (a world run by Sharia law), but professes the desire to achieve this goal by peaceful means.
This was not always so. The Muslim Brotherhood worked with the Nazis against the British in World War II, and it was six members of the Muslim Brotherhood who assassinated Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1981. Ayman al Zawahiri, al Qaida's number two, was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Whether their means be peaceful or not, the goals of the Muslim Brotherhood are antithetical to liberty and democratic pluralism.
In a May, 1991 memo, Mohamed Akram of the Muslim Brotherhood's Shura Council wrote: "the Ikhwan (brotherhood) must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western Civilization from within and 'sabotaging' its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it's eliminated and G0d's religion is made victorious over all other religions."
Mr. Hussain has spoken at other conferences sponsored by affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood, most recently last May.
Mr. Hussain denounced U.S. prosecutions of suspected Islamic terrorists in remarks to an affiliate of an Islamic extremist organization. He then contrived to remove the record of his remarks, and initially lied when confronted about them. This may cause you or me to doubt his suitability to represent the United States to the Muslim world, but not President Obama.
"We continue to have confidence," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said in response to a question about Mr. Hussain Monday.
Mr. Hussain may not be an Islamist. His friend, the staunch anti-Islamist terror researcher Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, insists he's just a John Kerry Democrat. But Mr. Hussain seems unclear on who the enemy is.
That confusion exists also in Eric Holder's Justice Department, which disclosed Friday that nine of Mr. Obama's appointees there used to be defense lawyers for terrorists incarcerated in Guantanamo Bay.
"It's like they're bringing al Qaida lawyers inside the Department of Justice," Debra Burlingame, whose brother was killed on 9/11, told the New York Post.
War On Terror:
DOJ: Department Of Jihad?
Posted 06:59 PM ET
The Justice Department employs nine lawyers previously involved in the defense of terrorist detainees. This is a colossal conflict of interest. Just whose side are they on?
From the dropping of a voter-intimidation case gainst the New Black Panther Party to the decision to try 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Muhammed in a civilian court within blocks of where the World Trade Center once stood, the actions and attitudes of the Justice Department and Attorney General Eric Holder toward the thugs and terrorists who threaten us has grown curiouser and curiouser.
We may now have a clue as to why. Last November, Sen. Charles Grassley, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, asked the Justice Department how many of its lawyers had defended terrorist detainees over whom the department holds sway.
Grassley knew from earlier press reports of two such lawyers who worked on behalf of detainees at the liberal organization Human Rights Watch. He wanted to know how many more there were. Last Friday, Holder answered nine.
"To the best of our knowledge, during their employment prior to joining the government, only five of the lawyers who serve as political appointees in those components represented detainees," Holder said in a letter dated Feb. 18. "Four others contributed to amicus briefs in detainee-related cases involved in advocacy on behalf of detainees."
So the decision to Mirandize the Christmas bomber, Umar Abdulmutallab, and to quickly get him lawyered up was made by a department populated by leftist lawyers who believe terror is a law enforcement matter and who have tried to get off those actively trying to kill us.
We still have no official answer to what the Justice Department would do if Osama bin Laden were captured.
"It's like they're bringing al-Qaida lawyers inside the Department of Justice," said Debra Burlingame, whose brother was the pilot of the plane driven by terrorists into the Pentagon, following KSM's plan.
We still have not been told all the lawyers' names. Like the detainees they represented, presumably they have the right to remain silent. So much for transparency.
Lawyers in private practice are free to choose their clients and their reasons for defending them. But these lawyers are in the employ of the American people and have the task of prosecuting those who try to kill them. Some chose to defend enemies who are making war on America. We have a right to know who they are, who their clients were and why they defended them.
As Michelle Malkin reports, Holder is a former partner at Covington & Burling, a law firm that contributed more than 3,000 hours to detainee litigation in 2007 alone. The firm has worked on behalf of a dozen Yemenite detainees who are seeking civilian trials on American soil.
Holder played a central role in the granting of clemency to 16 FALN terrorists in 1999, when he worked for the Clinton Justice Department. The terrorists claimed responsibility for more than 130 bombings and incendiary attacks in the U.S. and Puerto Rico from 1974 to 1983, killing six and wounding scores.
As deputy attorney general, Holder was responsible for signing off on all clemency matters forwarded to the president. In this case, he recommended that clemency be granted despite vehement opposition from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Prisons and his own Justice Department.
We are reminded of the case of Lynne Stewart, attorney for Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, the "blind sheikh" who was the architect of the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993. She was later found guilty of charges she had illegally "facilitated and concealed communications" between Rahman and his fellow terrorists.
We wonder if she could have found a job in the Holder Justice Department.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, Feb 23, 2010 at 4:10 AM
Subject: Re: the problem is leadership
domestic politics -we are a center right nation
Posted on Mon, Feb. 22, 2010
The problem is leadership
Claiming the federal government is broken is a popular but poor excuse for Obama.
By Charles Krauthammer
In the latter days of the Carter presidency, it became fashionable to say that the office had become unmanageable and was simply too big for one man. Some suggested a single, six-year presidential term. The president's own White House counsel suggested abolishing the separation of powers and going to a more parliamentary system of unitary executive control. America had become ungovernable.
Then came Reagan, and all that chatter disappeared.
The tyranny of entitlements? Reagan collaborated with Tip O'Neill, the legendary Democratic House speaker, to establish the commission that kept Social Security solvent for a quarter-century.
A corrupted system of taxation? Reagan worked with liberal Democrat Bill Bradley to craft a legislative miracle: tax reform that eliminated loopholes and slashed rates across the board - and fueled two decades of growth.
Later, a highly skilled Democratic president, Clinton, tackled another supposedly intractable problem: the culture of intergenerational dependency. He collaborated with another House speaker, Newt Gingrich, to produce the most successful social reform of our time: the abolition of welfare as an entitlement.
It turned out that the country's problems were not problems of structure, but of leadership. Reagan and Clinton had it. Carter didn't. Under a president with extensive executive experience, political skills, and an ideological compass in tune with the public, the country was governable.
It's 2010, and the first-year agenda of a popular, promising young president has gone down in flames. Barack Obama's two signature initiatives - cap-and-trade and health-care reform - lie in ruins.
Desperate to explain away this scandalous state of affairs, liberal apologists haul out the old reliable: "America the Ungovernable," declared Newsweek. "Is America Ungovernable?" asked the New Republic. Guess the answer.
The rage at the machine has produced the usual systemic explanations: Special interests are too powerful. The filibuster stymies progress. A burdensome constitutional order prevents innovation.
If only we could be more like China, pines Tom Friedman, waxing poetic about the efficiency of the Chinese authoritarian model, while America flails about under its "two parties ... with their duel-to-the-death paralysis." The better thinkers, bewildered and furious that their president has not gotten his way, have developed a sudden disdain for our inherently incremental constitutional system.
Yet what's new about any of these supposedly ruinous structural impediments? Special interests? They have been around since the beginning of the republic - and since the beginning of the republic, strong presidents, like the two Roosevelts, have rallied the citizenry and overcome them.
And then, of course, there's the filibuster, the newest liberal bête noire. "Don't blame Mr. Obama," wrote Paul Krugman. "Blame our political culture instead. ... And blame the filibuster, under which 41 senators can make the country ungovernable."
Ungovernable, once again. Of course, just yesterday, Krugman was warning about "extremists" trying "to eliminate the filibuster" when Democrats used it to block one Bush judicial nomination after another. Back then, Democrats touted it as an indispensable check on majority power. Well, it still is. Indeed, the Senate, with its ponderous procedures and structure, is serving the function the founders intended: as a brake on the passions of the House and a caution about precipitous, transformative change.
Mickey Kaus, a principled liberal who supports health reform, debunked the excuses: "Lots of intellectual effort now seems to be going into explaining Obama's (possible/likely/impending) health-care failure as the inevitable product of larger historic and constitutional forces. ... There's a simpler explanation: Barack Obama's job was to sell a health-care reform plan to American voters. He failed."
He failed because the utter implausibility of its central promise - expanded coverage at lower cost - led voters to conclude it would lead to more government, more taxes, and more debt. More broadly, the Democrats failed because, thinking the economic emergency would give them the political mandate and legislative window, they tried to impose a left-wing agenda on a center-right country. The people said no, expressing themselves first in spontaneous demonstrations, then in public opinion polls, then in elections - Virginia, New Jersey, and, most emphatically, Massachusetts.
That's not a structural defect. That's a textbook demonstration of popular will expressing itself - despite special interests - through the existing structures. In other words, the system worked.
Charles Krauthammer is a Washington Post columnist.
He can be reached at email@example.com.
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Guest Comment: What is happening to our country? In reaching out to those who hate and want to destroy out, we are making it easier for our enemies to do so from within. I have not seen any Muslim country unclench its fist, particularly the most virulent, Iran. And the Muslim Brotherhood, together with its extensive organization structure is permeating not only our social structure, but responsible and powerful govt positions. Is this the change we have been waiting for? Aggie