With violence escalating on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri in the wake of the police shooting of a black youth, Michael Brown, President Obama finally got serious about calling for calm in the city, delivering a clear, live statement – as opposed to the equivocal, written one he issued earlier in the week – that actually included specific calls for order:
I know that many Americans have been deeply disturbed by the images we’ve seen in the heartland of our country, as police have clashed with people protesting . . . There is never an excuse for violence against police, or for those who would use this tragedy as a cover for vandalism or looting . . . Now is the time for peace and calm on the streets of Ferguson . . .
Make no mistake, Obama continued to inappropriately suggest he is preliminarily siding with supporters of Brown in the controversy:
We lost a young man, Michael Brown, in heartbreaking and tragic circumstances. He was 18 years old. His family will never hold Michael in their arms again.
Well, they won’t, but if he was, as police claim, trying to seize an officer’s gun and presumably kill him, we might be a little less sad about it. If he was shot in cold blood, though, that’s another matter. The point is, Obama doesn’t know what happened and is jumping to conclusions.
Obama emphasized again and again that officials need to “determine exactly what happened, and to see that justice is done,” which is true, although you can’t do justice to a dead man, so this again reveals Obama’s bias.
Nevertheless, Obama exhibited more evenhandedness and behaved a bit more presidentially than in his earlier statement:
I know that emotions are raw right now in Ferguson and there are certainly passionate differences about what has happened. There are going to be different accounts of how this tragedy occurred. There are going to be differences in terms of what needs to happen going forward. That’s part of our democracy.
But let’s remember that we’re all part of one American family. We are united in common values, and that includes belief in equality under the law; a basic respect for public order and the right to peaceful public protest.
The statement also criticized local law enforcement officials for acting too aggressively and throwing even peaceful protestors, as well as journalists, in jail.
As part of his statement, Obama announced that the U.S. military mission to remove Yazidis trapped by ISIL terrorists on a mountain in Iraq was succeeding, and that operations were winding down:
Because of the skill and professionalism of our military –- and the generosity of our people –- we broke the ISIL siege of Mount Sinjar; we helped vulnerable people reach safety; and we helped save many innocent lives.
Because of these efforts, we do not expect there to be an additional operation to evacuate people off the mountain, and it’s unlikely that we’re going to need to continue humanitarian air drops on the mountain. The majority of the military personnel who conducted the assessment will be leaving Iraq in the coming days.
And then, he went golfing.
The president is playing again today at the Vineyard Golf Club with ValJar cousin Cyrus Walker, former U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, and World Bank President Jim Kim.
It’s outing #4 of the vacation, #31 of the year, and #188 of the presidency.