It’s time to Break It Down!
American Conservatives seem to actively seek out opportunities to try and insert a wedge between President Obama and our allies. No, it’s not just the American voters. They often start conversations with anecdotes about how the President has deferred to our enemies, and dissed our friends. The current meme revolves around the President not going to Paris last weekend to attend the Unity Rally.
Of course, had he attended, critics would have insisted it was just a glorified photo-op. But that’s beside the point. In fact President Obama has actually conceded, the Administration should have been represented. At least his humility is in tact.
It’s harder to reach that conclusion about some of the Conservatives. One such hardliner, Steven Emerson, a supposed “Internationally recognized expert on terrorism and national security,” recently said on Fox News, “In Britain, it’s not just no-go zones, there are actual cities like Birmingham that are totally Muslim where non-Muslims just simply don’t go in.”
Now that is a bold and bodacious claim in its own right. But Mr. Emerson did not stop there. He further stated, in “parts of London, there are actual religious police that actually beat and actually wound seriously anyone who doesn’t dress according to religious Muslim attire.”
London, of course, is the Capital and largest city in England and the United Kingdom, with a population of over nine million people; Birmingham is the second largest city, with over one million residents. For a Conservative, there is a certain irony that Mr. Emerson’s takes such liberal license when purportedly dispensing facts. In this case, his commentary went viral, and resulted in a deluge of Twitter mockery employing the hashtag #foxnewsfacts.
In response to the wave of protest and dissent, including that of British Prime Minister, David Cameron (More on the Prime Minister’s reaction momentarily) Mr. Emerson recanted. Well, sort of. He said, “I am issuing an apology and correction on my website immediately, for having made this comment about the beautiful city of Birmingham.” And with that, he did apologize. He simply didn’t take the story down on his website. SMH!
Back to David Cameron, who had this to say: “When I heard this, frankly, I choked on my porridge and I thought it must be April Fool’s Day,” adding, “This guy is clearly a complete idiot.”
In a different interview, Gisela Stuart, who represents Birmingham in the House of Commons, added, “I checked whether this was some kind of early April Fool spoof, and then I thought he was talking about Birmingham, Alabama. But then I realized he was just utterly and completely wrong.”
The reality is Birmingham’s Muslim population is 22%. Not 100%, or 80%, or even 50%. There are plenty of non-Muslims who live in, and go to, the city every day. There is also no such thing as “Muslim religious police” – in London, Birmingham, or any other part of the UK – beating anyone. Go figure.
When you are considered an “Internationally recognized expert on terrorism and national security,” you likely have numerous opportunities to weigh in on the subject. It appears Mr. Emerson has had his share. In that regard, paraphrasing Country Music singer Vern Gosdin, “This Was Not His First Rodeo.”
In 1995, Mr. Emerson had this to say: “Oklahoma City, I can tell you, is probably considered one of the largest centers of Islamic radical activity outside the Middle East.” He made this bold assertion just after the Oklahoma City Bombing…and just before anti-government radical Timothy McVeigh was arrested for it. Oops!
Even in a world with no more elections, President Obama, faced with Birthers, bellyachers, and would be blockers, on a daily basis, is unlikely to characterize any of his detractors in such direct, even if accurate, terms. Alas, here is one instance in which a bona fide ally has communicated with unequivocal candor the lack of intellectual heft and veracity associated this specific conservative’s argument and logic. British Prime Minister: Fox Pundit “A Complete Idiot!” If you’ll allow me to channel President Obama for a moment, I imagine he is at least thinking, “Long live David Cameron.”
I’m done; holla back!
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