Revisiting Obama's Speech on Race and Jeremiah Wright
by James Glaser
March 21, 2008

A couple of days ago I wrote a column about Senator Obama's speech on his minister and race in America In it I said that I thought Barack Obama let his friend and minister hang out in the wind. Well, I got some e-mails on that column, with some people agreeing with me and some disagreeing. One man even thought Obama's speech was "fantastic and right on point."

So tonight, I took the time to re-read the speech and listened to some clips from it to see if I was mistaken, but now I don't think I was critical enough. I have to believe that my belief in friendship, especially one that transcends almost 20 years is way different than Senator Obama's. Yes, I can see where Reverend Wright's preaching could hurt Barack Obama's chance of becoming president, but for me, a long time friendship is more important. Maybe it is that I only have a few life-long friends, and maybe the Senator has way more, and he can throw away one and not notice it. Even if I had dozens, I couldn't do that.

Here is a quote from Senator Obama's speech:

On the other end, we've heard my former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike.

Here is one of the quotes by Reverend Wright that has been played over and over again on the television:

"We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye. We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back into our own front yards. America's chickens are coming home to roost."

Maybe these words did offend some Americans, but those of us who are worried about America's foreign policies, and those of us who are anti-war can see that Jeremiah Wright was right. We did bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki, neither of which were military targets. Right off, we killed about a half million innocent civilians, and in the following years the radiation from those bombs killed another half million more. We know that was wrong, and a war crime in anyone's book. Our country has supported the terrorism of Israel against the Palestinian people. Time after time we overlook UN resolutions against Israel, but want to follow anti-Muslim resolutions to the letter. And just to top things off, our CIA turned over Nelson Mandela to the South African Government.

So, here we have Senator Barack Obama's friend and minister saying true things about our government and all the Senator can say is that Reverend Wright has "views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike."

Here I am an anti-war American, and I don't think it is the Reverent Wright's views that denigrate the greatness and goodness of America, but it is the actions of our government in Washington that Jeremiah Wright pointed out, that denigrate our goodness and greatness.

What gets me, is that Barack Obama can't see that, and he won't defend his friend and his friend's correct observations about American foreign policy. Barack Obama is defending the killing of over a million innocent civilians in Japan, and thousands and thousands in Palestine, not to mention the wholesale stealing of so much of the land of Palestine. Obama's words even defend the turning over of Nelson Mandela to serve decades in prison for fighting racism.

Yes, it is true that Jeremiah Wright made many inflammatory statements that did make many American's upset, but to lump everything he said together is dishonest.

Friendship and honesty verses the chance to be the most powerful man in the world is, I grant you, a hard choice for many people. I can see what choice Barack Obama made. A man who can lie to himself, and throw a friend aside does not have what it requires to guide America back to a place of leadership in the world.

Post Script:

This by Richard Blum:

When Nelson Mandela was released from prison in February 1990, President George Bush personally telephoned the black South African leader to tell him that all Americans were "rejoicing at your release". This was the same Nelson Mandela who was imprisoned for almost 28 years because the CIA tipped off South African authorities as to where they could find him. This was the same George Bush who was once the head of the CIA and who for eight years was second in power of an administration whose CIA and National Security Agency collaborated closely with the South African intelligence service, providing information about Mandela's African National Congress.{1} The ANC, like all left-leaning nationalistic movements, was perceived by Washington as being part of the infamous (albeit mythical) International Communist Conspiracy.

On August 5, 1962, Nelson Mandela had been on the run for 17 months when armed police at a roadblock flagged down his car outside Howick, Natal. How the police came to be there was not publicly explained. In late July 1986, however, stories appeared in three South African newspapers (picked up shortly thereafter by the London press and, in part, by CBS-TV) which shed considerable light on the question. The stories told of how a CIA officer, Donald C. Rickard by name, under cover as a consular official in Durban, had tipped off the Special Branch that Mr. Mandela would be disguised as a chauffeur in a car headed for Durban. This was information Rickard had obtained through an informer in the ANC.

This from David R. Henderson on

Also, when I visited Mr. Mandela's house in February, I noticed an honorary award (among the hundreds he had) from a University in the US where they, on behalf of the United States, apologized for the CIA handing him over to the authorities. It was in that text described as an attempt from the US to keep their relations with South Africa at "status quo" as they said.

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