From the WSJ Best of the Web
Reservations About Reparations
Contrary to our speculation in a Wednesday item, it appears that Barack Obama is not a reparationist. DemocracyNow.org has a transcript of Obama's question-and-answer session with minority journalists, which provides some context for the comment we highlighted.
It came in response to a question from Brian Bull of Wisconsin Public Radio as to whether an Obama administration would "issue an apology to Native Americans for the atrocities they've endured for the past 500 years." Obama suggests that he would consider doing so, then goes on to say:
I've consistently believed, when it comes--whether it's Native American issues, whether it's African American issues and reparations, that the most important thing for the US government to do is not just to offer words, but offer deeds. And when you look at the situation on tribal lands, the fact that by every socioeconomic indicator Native Americans are doing worse than any other population on health, on education, on substance abuse--their housing situations are deplorable, unemployment is skyrocketing--you know, I have to confess that I'm more concerned about delivering a better life and creating a better relationship with the Native American peoples than anything else. And that's what I want to engage tribal leaders in making sure happens.
CNN's Suzanne Malveaux then tries to get a more specific response from Obama:
Malveaux: When it comes to reparations, would you take it a step further, in terms of apologizing for slavery or offering reparations to various groups?
Obama: You know, I have said in the past, and I'll repeat again, that the best reparations we can provide are good schools in the inner city and jobs for people who are unemployed. And I think that strategies that invest in lifting people out of the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow, but that have brought applicability and allow us to build coalitions to actually get these things done, that, I think, is the best strategy.
You know, the fact is, is that dealing with some of the legacy of discrimination is going to cost billions of dollars. And we're not going to be able to have that kind of resource allocation, unless all Americans feel that they are invested in making this stuff happen. And so, you know, I'm much more interested in talking about how do we get every child to learn, how do we get every person healthcare, how do we make sure that everybody has a job, how do we make sure that every senior citizen can retire with dignity and respect. And if we have a program, for example, of universal healthcare, that will disproportionately affect people of color, because they're disproportionately uninsured. If we've got an agenda that says every child in America should get--should be able to go to college, regardless of income, that will disproportionately affect people of color, because it's oftentimes our children who can't afford to go to college.There's a contradiction here between expanding the welfare state in a way that "all Americans are invested" and the idea of reprations, which would benefit those Americans whose ancestors were wronged at the expense of those whose ancestors were not wronged. It's hard to see how Obama would square that circle. Then again, probably the purpose of his answer was simply to dodge the question rather than forthrightly say he opposes reparations.
Our Friends the Pakistanis
Disturbing news from the New York Times about one of America's flakier allies:
American intelligence agencies have concluded that members of Pakistan's powerful spy service helped plan the deadly July 7 bombing of India's embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, according to United States government officials.
The conclusion was based on intercepted communications between Pakistani intelligence officers and militants who carried out the attack, the officials said, providing the clearest evidence to date that Pakistani intelligence officers are actively undermining American efforts to combat militants in the region.
The American officials also said there was new information showing that members of the Pakistani intelligence service were increasingly providing militants with details about the American campaign against them, in some cases allowing militants to avoid American missile strikes in Pakistan's tribal areas.The McCain campaign should take note, too. Obama long ago started talking about taking military action against Pakistan--a stance that seemed crazy at the time but now may make Illinois's' junior senator look tough, even realistic.