"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." -- Theodore Roosevelt


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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Bahraini Protesters Once Again Fill Pearl Square in Capital



"Thousands of singing and dancing protesters streamed back into Manama's central Pearl Square Saturday after Bahrain's leaders withdrew tanks and riot police following two straight days of a bloody crackdown by security forces in the tiny monarchy.

"The royal family, which was quick to use force earlier this week against demonstrators in the landmark square that has been the heart of the anti-government demonstrations, appeared to back away from further confrontation following international pressure from the West.

"The demonstrators had emulated successful uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt in attempting to bring political change to Bahrain, home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet — the centerpiece of Washington's efforts to confront Iranian military influence in the region.

"Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, deputy supreme commander of the armed forces, appealed for calm and political dialogue in a brief address on state TV.

"People circling through the square clapped, whistled and wept. Some wore white sheets symbolizing their readiness for martyrdom, while others carried Bahraini flags, flowers and signs that said 'Peaceful.'

"'We are victorious!' they chanted as they marched back into the square that has been the headquarters for their revolt against the Sunni monarchy in the predominantly Shiite island nation.

"They also chanted: 'The people want the removal of the regime.'

"As night fell, defiant protesters erected barriers, wired a sound system, set up a makeshift medical tent and deployed lookouts to warn of approaching security forces.

"President Barack Obama discussed the situation with King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, asking him to hold those responsible for the violence accountable. He said in a statement that Bahrain must respect the 'universal rights' of its people and embrace 'meaningful reform.'"

Once again, nebulously important-sounding but completely useless words from Obama. They signify nothing. He and his administration are so carefully vague in their language-- which demonstrates that they really have little understanding of what is happening there and why.

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