Today’s 3 Must-Reads at Pajamas Media
Saturday night I was at the JW Marriott at LA Live for the annual Lo Maximo Awards Dinner of Homeboys Industries. Homeboys, according to their mission statement, “assists at-risk, formerly gang-involved youth and the recently incarcerated to become contributing members of our community through a variety of services in response to their multiple needs.”
Actually, they’re kind of a small business, employing a number of (hopefully permanent) ex-gang members in what are largely the food trades — cafes, bakeries, etc. The business has had its ups and downs — reacting, as have many, to the current economic conditions — but appears to have righted itself now. And the food they produce is quite good. They’re exporting their own salsa to the supermarkets; Homegirl Cafe gets some nice notices for their tacos on Yelp.
The slogan of the Homeboys is “Nothing stops a bullet like a job.” They are the largest such organization in the country, helping gang members enter or reenter society.
All this is put together by an extraordinary man named Father Greg Boyle, author of Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion.
The aftermath of Osama Bin Laden’s assassination finds many in the left and liberal community seeking to hold on to their worldview by praising the attack and its conclusion and by attributing it entirely to President Barack Obama. Doing so, however, presents this group with some major problems. First, it is now quite clear that the intelligence information that led to the successful raid was compiled over many years, and key intelligence was in fact gathered during the years of the Bush administration. Most important of all was the identification of Bin Laden’s “courier,” a man who on a regular basis kept the al-Qaeda chief in touch with the world outside of his million-dollar compound.
As the front-page New York Times report by Mark Mazzetti and Helene Cooper points out, intelligence agencies had been trying for close to a decade to identify the man. They learned of him, however, when “detainees at the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, had given the courier’s pseudonym to American interrogators and said that the man was a protégé of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the confessed mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks.” They learned his real name four years ago — when the government was led by the very men liberals despised the most, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
Americans have had a rude awakening. The military’s liquidation of Osama bin Laden a few days ago in a million-dollar, heavily secured compound close by a Pakistani military academy has brought home to many what had previously been understood by only a few: One of the nations officially deemed a key ally in the so-called “War on Terror” has been playing us for fools.
It is called a double game and here’s how you play it: First, you cooperate in some respects with the United States in countering the “terrorists” the Americans seek to capture, kill, or at least neutralize. In return, you get paid handsomely for it — in the case of Pakistan, that translates into an annual U.S. allotment of some $3 billion and access to American intelligence, weapons, and political support. In parallel, however, you systematically sabotage the whole effort by cooperating extensively with our enemies, some of whom you support, more or less directly.
Pakistan happens to be a particularly egregious example of the phenomenon. For decades, Pakistani officials — notably in Islamabad’s intelligence agency, the ISI — have been tied to and supportive of Islamists at home and in neighboring nations. Without such assistance, the international campaign led by the United States aimed at liberating and securing Afghanistan would likely have been considerably more successful and vastly less costly.
Bin Laden’s hiding-in-plain-sight lair 35 miles from the Pakistani capital has become the most glaring example of an endemic problem: the safe havens and other forms of protection Pakistan has afforded to those seeking to murder Americans. Denials, such as that of the Pakistani president in Monday’s Washington Post, are, to put it charitably, unpersuasive.