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Obama And Odinga

OK, are we allowed to talk about this? Or is that racist?


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Mike James wrote:

If you have to ask, then you're a racist.

Cecil Trotter wrote:

How old was Obama when he befriended Odinga?

GBuc wrote:

This won't be discussed by the MSM for 2 reasons: Christians were killed and it may taint the Holy One.

teej wrote:

"I am deeply saddened. This is not the Raila Odinga that I know"

philw1776 wrote:

Gosh, "The One" has quite the track record in people he befriends. With the Odinga association we can see where Obama comes from in his desire to sit and meet with the world's dictators. He has a natural affinity for them.

Bill Maron wrote:

I'm curious what Mike and Bob will have to say about this. There's nothing they can say but I'm sure they will try.

Bob wrote:

You called? :-)

Sure, I'll take this one, since I remember the amazing Iowa caucuses (although I just did some quick internet searches to verify the timeline).

Two days before the Iowa caucuses, Secretary of State Rice asked Senator Obama to make a statement on Voice of America calling for calm in Kenya, which Obama did. I'll cut-and-paste Obama's message below, but you can pretty much predict what he said before you read it.

On the day of the Iowa caucuses, Obama called Desmond Tutu, who had just gone to Kenya to try to stop the violence, and he also called the US ambassador to Kenya to discuss strategies for peace.

The day after Obama won the Iowa caucuses, you'll remember, Obama had a lead in the polling for the New Hampshire primary, which was a few days later. Obama said, to a huge crowd in NH, (paraphrase) "If I win in NH, I believe I'll be the nominee, you can make it happen... (yes we can, etc, etc)." At that point, obviously Obama had his hands full, right?

And yet, every day between Iowa and New Hampshire, Obama called Odinga and President Kibaki.

Obama didn't suspend his campaign, and he didn't suspend his duties as a Senator. He did as Secretary Rice requested, he spoke with peacemakers like the ambassador and Tutu, and he reached out to the principal parties in Kenya. I think it is pretty easy to argue that he didn't do any of this to score political points -- it wasn't widely reported, as the caucus and primary sucked all the attention away from anything else,and the reporters who did find out of report on it did so with a sense of "WTF?" You can do an internet search and see for yourself.

So what happened next in Kenya?

Both sides started negotiating.

A few days later, in mid-February, Secretary Rice flew in and met with Odinga and Kibaki. She said she didn't want to impose a solution on them, but that the United States would support any peaceful solution they came up with. By the end of February, the two sides had agreed to form a coalition government. The coalition goverment continues to govern today, if I understand correctly (I'm hardly knowledgeable about Kenyan politics!), and the situation is calm. The entire crisis was an anomaly in Kenyan history - the place isn't exactly a shining star of freedom, but it is more stable and prosperous than most places in Africa.

Here we have a case where both Obama and the Bush administration were in agreement and, unlike Bush's early foreign policy, the decision was made to not shun leaders involved in a crisis.

It is also worth noting that Obdinga didn't kill anyone. I don't know enough about the situation to know whether he incited violence, but my understanding was that he didn't. The Washington Times article certainly doesn't mention any violence or any incitement to violence. I also note that the Washington Times article implies that going up against Daniel Arap Moi (in the early 80s) was evil, and I'm not sure that this is the case at all. I'm not saying the MOA, as described in the Times article makes him at all admirable, but the Bush's are friends with far more stringent theocrats actually in power and repressing people in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf.

Obama's statement just before the Iowa Caucus:

""Despite irregularities in the vote tabulation, now is not the time to throw that strong democracy away. Now is a time for President Kibaki, opposition leader Odinga, and all of Kenya�s leaders to call for calm, to come together, and to start a political process to address peacefully the controversies that divide them. Now is the time for this terrible violence to end.
Kenya�s long democratic journey has at times been difficult. But at critical moments, Kenyans have chosen unity and progress over division and disaster. The way forward is not through violence � it is through democracy, and the rule of law. To all of Kenya�s people, I ask you to renew Kenya�s democratic tradition, and to seek your dreams in peace."

Bob wrote:

Quick followup: the coup occurred in 1982 when President Moi declared Kenya a one party state. Moi suppressed the opposition. Getting put under house arrest after such a coup doesn't seem dishonorable. Check out the wikipedia links on Odinga, the coup in 1982, and Kenya in general -- when not viewed through the lens of partisan presidential politics, Odinga starts to seem like the kind of guy American usually support, and many of you would have been rooting for him. (No, I'm not excusing anything. But look at recent history - look who we root for in other countries, and rightly so too.)

MG wrote:

Mr. Simberg,

As Gus Savage (D-Ill) once said, "Ain't no racism but White racism".

So, yes, it IS racist.

Sorry, but rules are rules, you know.

II wrote:

And Bob, it might be worth mentioning to this gang that Odinga is an Anglican. Just in case the link made you think otherwise.

Anglicans by the way are Christians, in case I needed to clarify that. Phew. Wipe brow.

But, but, Raila Odinga sounds really nasty-nasty doesn't it? I know, it's tough getting to know the world.

Bob wrote:

One last thing: it frustrates me that the commenters just assumed that Obama favored someone evil, but I'm willing to bet they don't know the first thing about the situation in Kenya and didn't bother to do any research whatsoever.

Obama called Kibaki corrupt. And then sure enough, two years later Kibaki rigs the election (Kibaki claims he won, international observers say Odinga won by 6%).

Once people realize the election was rigged, terrible violence breaks out. There is no excuse for such violence, but shame on Kibaki for rigging an election.

I'm pretty ignorant about the situation in Kenya, as I'm sure nearly all of you are as well, but it looks to me like Obama backed the better of the two choices.

II wrote:

and didn't bother to do any research whatsoever.

Research? Research? Ha-Ha. Why do any research when you have Fox News, Hannity-Limbaugh, WorldNetDaily and The Corner?

Anything more is just way too much information.

Bob wrote:

I went poking through the Human Rights Watch report on the 2007-2008 crisis in Kenya. As far as I can tell, the report does not blame Odinga for the violence. Odinga's supporters are certainly to blame. President Kibaki's police forces are also to blame. More evidence that Odinga was a better choice.

However, disputes that Obama was backing Odinga or Kibaki. And that makes sense, given that US politicians try to stay out of foreign elections. I'd need more info to know for sure whether Obama was backing anyone as I don't think is a great source on this, but then again, neither is a Washington Times opinion piece.

Brock wrote:

Just piping in to say I agree with Bob on both points. I think Obama is pretty in the clear on this. Even Odinga appears to be in the clear - this is probably just another example of some Islamic sect going murder-crazy on their neighbors.

I also agree that the commentariat here was a little too quick to assume Obama's culpability here. Just because he pals around with anti-American neo-Stalinist cop killers is no reason to assume that he supports genocide-baiting African dictator wannabees. Those two categories of scum are totally unrelated.

philw1776 wrote:

Gotta hand it to the Obama apologists. Gotta be a full time job with all his associations with terrorists, dictators, corrupt Chicago pols and voter fraud activists.

Bob wrote:

Philw1776, Given the patriotic year in your online name, too bad you can't see this story for what it is: a situation where all sane Americans are in agreement. There isn't a red Kenya policy and blue Kenya policy - there is an American Kenya policy, and Kenyans heard it on Voice of America.

Bill Maron wrote:

How could you, BOB, write all that prose and not address this from the article?

Mr. Odinga had the backing of Kenya's Muslim community heading into the election. For months he denied any ties to Muslim leaders, but fell silent when Sheik Abdullahi Abdi, chairman of the National Muslim Leaders Forum, appeared on Kenya television displaying a memorandum of understanding signed on Aug. 29, 2007, by Mr. Odinga and the Muslim leader. Mr. Odinga then denied his denials.

The details of the MOU were shocking. In return for Muslim backing, Mr. Odinga promised to impose a number of measures favored by Muslims if he were elected president. Among these were recognition of "Islam as the only true religion," Islamic leaders would have an "oversight role to monitor activities of ALL other religions [emphasis in original]," installation of Shariah courts in every jurisdiction, a ban on Christian preaching, replacement of the police commissioner who "allowed himself to be used by heathens and Zionists," adoption of a women's dress code, and bans on alcohol and pork.

Wait, what about this?

Initially, Mr. Odinga was not the favored opposition candidate to stand in the 2007 election against President Mwai Kibaki, who was seeking his second term. However, he received a tremendous boost when Sen. Barack Obama arrived in Kenya in August 2006 to campaign on his behalf. Mr. Obama denies that supporting Mr. Odinga was the intention of his trip, but his actions and local media reports tell otherwise.

Mr. Odinga and Mr. Obama were nearly inseparable throughout Mr. Obama's six-day stay. The two traveled together throughout Kenya and Mr. Obama spoke on behalf of Mr. Odinga at numerous rallies. In contrast, Mr. Obama had only criticism for Kibaki. He lashed out against the Kenyan government shortly after meeting with the president on Aug. 25. "The [Kenyan] people have to suffer over corruption perpetrated by government officials," Mr. Obama announced.

"Kenyans are now yearning for change," he declared. The intent of Mr. Obama's remarks and actions was transparent to Kenyans - he was firmly behind Mr. Odinga.

Are you sure you read this? Obama does have something in common with Odinga, denying associations that end up looking bad.

Try that " in the clear" on me again.

Bob wrote:

Bill, Although I called it a "MOA" (memorandum of agreement) instead of a MOU, I did address it above. But since then I had a moment to do just a little bit more research, and lo and behold, the MOU cited in the Washington Times Commentary appears to be bogus. Look at this website:

The claim is that a fake MOU was circulated. The real MOU, which can be downloaded from the wikileaks site, addresses only the issue of citizens of Kenya who have been illegally renditioned, including, in the case of one (1) person, Guantanamo Bay. Given the controversy surrounding Guntanamo's dubious legal status, it isn't shocking that Kenya's Muslim community would be upset about it. But all of the other stuff - Shariah and a ban on Christianity and all that? Nonsense says the website cited above.

I don't know if the wikileaks site is accurate. It sure looks valid to me, but Rand and the readers of this website can judge for themselves. The Washington Times article is commentary, and some skepticism regarding the article certainly seems warranted. We both woud need to do both research to really establish the truth, but at this point, given what I read on and now wikileaks, I'm finding the Washington Times commenatary highly suspect.

Bob wrote:

And just to be clear: the MOU required Odinga to set up a commission to look into the matter of the renditioned Kenyans. Big deal.

Leland wrote:

I noted the August 2006 trip notation as well from the article Rand linked. I know the Iowa Caucus is early, but I don't think it is that early.

Bob wrote:

Leland, you're right. I said "two years later", but I should have said five months later.

Bob wrote:

Nuts, I meant 1 year, five months later; Guess I'm getting sleepy. Sorry about that.

ken anthony wrote:

Nice try Bob,

As it point out, both the real (original) and the fake (3 months later) were a violation of the Kenyan constitution. The fact that it was a secret negotiation also speaks to the liars that we're dealing with here. Denying the reported denials??? Such honest guy these O-boys are?

Face it Bob, Odinga is going under that bus.

Thanks for the link Bob, probably never would have found the truth without it.

Josh Reiter wrote:

The link in the original post is producing error 500.

memomachine wrote:


It is rather funny. Like Jimmy Carter, but younger. Seems like Obama has yet to meet a vicious thug he doesn't like.

1. Human Rights Watch eh? Oh yeah they're unimpeachable and not lefty in any way, shape or form and most definitely not anti-American. Why the idiotic reports given about Guantanamo shouldn't color anything. After all French prisons are far worse than Guantanamo but they're ... French and not American so that's ok.

2. You go ahead and hang your hat on them. But Stanley Kurtz has shown in several instances where they deliberately deceive when it comes to the Chicago Annenberg Challenge.

3. Soooooo. Got any instances where Obama has gone out of his way to support a pro-American freedom loving foreign leader?


Bob wrote:


First, it is still not clear that Obama was really supporting Odinga. But lets suppose he was. I never said Odinga is a good guy. I said that he was a better choice than his opponent and he is the sort of guy Americans tend to root for when watching foreign conflicts from afar (the kind of guy that tries to overthrow 1 party rule, the kind of guy that doesn't rig elections) and that Obama was making the right choice in favoring him over Kibaki. The secret deal with the Muslim community was made to stop the killing, and to stop the whole country from unraveling. It looks pretty harmless to me - consultation, commissions, no real concessions, no real power. In the climate of a dire emergency, with a genocide unfolding, I'm not sure a secret deal was all that inappropriate. Imagine you are an opposition leader who could help stop a genocide. What would you be willing to do in those circumstances? Refer to some of Carl Pham's recent comments about the merits of "process" vs "results".

Bob wrote:

Memo asks "Obama has gone out of his way to support a pro-American freedom loving foreign leader? Any?"

You do remember Obama's trip to Europe this summer, right? And how exactly is Odinga NOT a pro-American freedom loving leader?

Rand Simberg wrote:

You do remember Obama's trip to Europe this summer, right?

How did that support Europe's leaders? As far as I could see, it only supported his campaign.

Bob wrote:

Various european politicians were climbing over each other to be in a picture with Obama -- for consumption at home, not in the USA. We're being ambiguous about what "support" means. American politicians aren't supposed to involve themselves in foreign elections (and there is no evidence that Obama did so in Kenya, as callling for change could mean that Kibaki should change, as indeed he did.)

A better example would be Obama's support for Israel. The Palestinians cooled to him once they understood his presidency would be a continuation of more of the same , from their point of view, when it comes to Israel.

Anonymous wrote:

not clear that Obama was really supporting Odinga.

Except to the Kenyan's. Bob, you wouldn't be from the capital city of Iraq?

I said that he was a better choice than his opponent

So killing christians is ok with you? I understand.

he is the sort of guy Americans tend to root for when watching foreign conflicts from afar

I'll give you that, lot's of stupid Americans lead by our wonderful media do tend to not understand the truth in these foreign situations. I wonder if the media is... naw, that couldn't be it.

Obama was making the right choice in favoring him over Kibaki.

Explain to me how Senator Obama is responsible for American foreign policy?

The secret deal with the Muslim community was made to stop the killing

Funny how it had the opposite effect.

It looks pretty harmless to me

It's a pattern Bob, but you're in the move along, nothing to see here crowd.

Bob wrote:

Anonymous, You're not showing much comprehension of this story.

Lets start with three questions:

1) who killed the Christians in the story?
2) why did the killing start?
3) why did the killing stop?

I don't care if you answer me, but until you can answer those three questions for yourself, correctly, you really don't understand anything about this story. Until you understand even the basic outlines of the story, you're not ready to placing any judgment on Obama's role, and you're certainly ready to start placing such insulting judgment on me. And in particular, asking me if I'm ok with killing people - shame on you!

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This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on October 14, 2008 9:35 AM.

What Kind Of Shirts was the previous entry in this blog.

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