Saturday, April 05, 2014

Leland Yee A Terrorist?

I don't believe in kicking a man when he's down but the question this writer from the Contra Costa Times brought up never occurred to me: Why wasn't California State Senator Leland Yee brought up on charges related to terrorism? He is accused of arranging arms deals and transferring money to a known terrorist group.

The answer seems to be that terrorist group isn't included on the official U.S. list of bad terrorist groups:

"The group is not among the 56 foreign terrorist organizations designated by the U.S. State Department, although its three-decade reign of terror, including bombings, kidnappings and killings of civilians mirror other designated groups."

Maybe like the same sort of groups we're supporting in Syria?


At 8:37 AM, Anonymous liberal jon said...

What kind of groups are we supporting in Syria? Should we just be content with allowing a dictator to massacre his people based largely on sectarian differences?

Your answer of course is yes. I get it, not our role. What about economic sanctions or soft and even hard diplomacy?

We do need to be able to differentiate right from wrong and that doesn't start with "our groups" and "those groups". There are distinctions within Islam and the Middle East which are important to understand and overgeneralizations are not helpful, not to those "sorts of groups" or, in the end, our American group.

At 8:58 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

Many fighting the Syrian government- we're told now MOST of them- are Alqueda, El Nusra related groups, along the same lines we've fought in Afghanistan and are now entering Iraq.

Assad might be a brutal dictator, but he's no worse, and maybe better, than most who are fighting him.

At 9:00 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

Oh, and sectarian rivalry isn't exclusive to Assad. At least Christians are fairly safe with him around, as they were in Iraq before we "fixed" things. Now the various sects attack each other even without someone ruling the country.

At 10:44 AM, Anonymous Julie Timmons said...

I think the Yee story is going to get stranger and stranger as the fact unfold. He apparently kept things very close to his chest, for a politician.

At 3:41 PM, Anonymous liberal jon said...

"At least Christians are fairly safe with him around"


This isn't about Christians or Muslims, it is about people, as a child of a Christian and a Muslim, I can tell you when it comes down to it, we are all the same - parents loving children and doing their best to survive and/or thrive. What the strife in the Middle East is largely about is poverty. Yes there are horrid strong men like Assad himself and many of the remaining militant Islamist rebels. What has happened is the great majority has been wiped out of much of Syria so all that remains are mostly Assad loyalists.

I haven't followed national or international new closely for months, so I'm out of touch, but to say "at least Christians are fairly safe" misses the point. Wiki says that 10% of the country is Christian, that means you are basing your policy ideas on a concern for 1 of 10 people.

But that philosophy goes a long way to explain conservative administrations and pontificators ideas on previous conflicts like Bosnia, Sudan, etc.

"At least the Christians are safe"

Yes! We all want the Christians to be safe too!

(but we also actually want those others safe too)

Julie - I haven't paid attention to the Yee thing either - it should be an interesting story though Julie, we'll see

At 7:08 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

Nonsense. Most of the people you support in the Syria fight are just as bad- probably worse- than Assad.

At 9:02 PM, Anonymous liberal jon said...

I don't support anyone, and I probably agree with you at this point. No one but militants are left, that's what happens with a civil war. That's why it would have been important to use tools like a no-fly-zone and air power to help change the balance of power when there was a significant civilian population in the line of fire of a brutal dictator.

Here is a great Frontline episode on Syria from 2013

What I remember from that episode is the power of the jet and I can just imagine how critical they were to Assad's primacy.

What we have now is the strongest warlord wins and we have millions of refugees and tens of thousands dead.

But "at least the Christians are safe". It's a very dangerous philosophy. If you just change one word, I'd agree with you. "at least the people are safe". That would be cool.

And just to be absolutely clear, I am not anti-Christian safety. I am pro-Christian safety, pro-Sunni safety, pro-Alawite safety, pro-Shiite safety.

But hey, let's just use Syria for political sloganeering.

Look, there are no easy answers to so many of the problems in the Middle East but there are definitely wrong answers. Your quote leads to policies that are demonstrably wrongheaded and wrong.

At 9:11 PM, Anonymous liberal jon said...

Just as an FYI so I'm not accused of changing the subject. The alleged crimes are sick and have no part in politics - especially Democratic politics. Good riddance and don't let the door hit you on the way out Mr. Yee. Now back to work.

Here is the NYT on the subject in case people want to get some actual insight on what's going on.


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