At one point I could swear he had this pained looking smirk on his face as if he was saying, I can’t believe people may buy this crap!
I do want to complement the president. In a speech 2,300 words long there were only 18 ‘I”s, 16 “my’s, and one “me.”
Rather than delay the inevitable, below is a transcript of Obama’s words
annotated with corrections and other comments from yours truly. As is
“The Lid” tradition, the Potus’ words appear in black and my comments in red. Warning-the comments written by the author and reflected below may contain snark (you have been warned).
Speech made by President Obama on 9/10/14-The Transcript as written:
My fellow Americans – tonight, I want to speak to you about what the United States will do with our friends and allies to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group known as ISIL. (Destroy–that is good)
As Commander-in-Chief, my highest priority is the security of the American people. Over the last several years, we have consistently taken the fight to terrorists who threaten our country. We took out Osama bin Laden and much of al Qaeda’s leadership in Afghanistan and Pakistan. We’ve targeted al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen, and recently eliminated the top commander of its affiliate in Somalia. We’ve done so while bringing more than 140,000 American troops home from Iraq, (he left out the part where he drew the forces out of Iraq too quickly and against the advice of Generals, or that he cut the Generals’ advice for a minimum surge force in Afghanistan by 25% and is drawing the troops out earlier than the Generals had advised) and drawing down our forces in Afghanistan, where our combat mission will end later this year. Thanks to our military and counterterrorism professionals, America is safer. (But thanks to Obama, Americans feel safer)
Still, we continue to face a terrorist threat. We cannot erase every trace of evil from the world, and small groups of killers have the capacity to do great harm. That was the case before 9/11, and that remains true today. That’s why we must remain vigilant as threats emerge. At this moment, the greatest threats come from the Middle East and North Africa, where radical groups exploit grievances for their own gain. And one of those groups is ISIL – which calls itself the “Islamic State.”
Now let’s make two things clear: ISIL is not “Islamic.” (UH-OH is he going to blame ISIL on the Jews or Christians?) No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim. And ISIL is certainly not a state. It was formerly al Qaeda’s affiliate in Iraq, and has taken advantage of sectarian strife and Syria’s civil war to gain territory on both sides of the Iraq-Syrian border. It is recognized by no government, nor the people it subjugates. ISIL is a terrorist organization, pure and simple. And it has no vision other than the slaughter of all who stand in its way.
In a region that has known so much bloodshed, these terrorists are unique in their brutality. They execute captured prisoners. They kill children. (Not really Hamas executes captured Israelis and remember the Fogel family they slit the throats of parents and young children. Or what about the Mumbai attack in 2008 by the Islamic Terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba which killed 165 people) They enslave, rape, and force women into marriage. They threatened a religious minority with genocide. In acts of barbarism, they took the lives of two American journalists – Jim Foley and Steven Sotloff.
So ISIL poses a threat to the people of Iraq and Syria, and the broader Middle East – including American citizens, personnel and facilities. (Ah he finally admits they are a thread to Americans) If left unchecked, these terrorists could pose a growing threat beyond that region – including to the United States. While we have not yet detected specific plotting against our homeland, ISIL leaders have threatened America and our allies. Our intelligence community believes that thousands of foreigners – including Europeans and some Americans – have joined them in Syria and Iraq. Trained and battle-hardened, these fighters could try to return to their home countries and carry out deadly attacks. (He has no strategy to deal with this threat…terrorists with passports who can enter and leave this country at will…or if they rather they could just enter via our porous southern or northern borders)
I know many Americans are concerned about these threats. (Can I have a no shit Sherlock?) Tonight, I want you to know that the United States of America is meeting them with strength and resolve. Last month, I ordered our military to take targeted action against ISIL to stop its advances. Since then, we have conducted more than 150 successful airstrikes in Iraq. These strikes have protected American personnel and facilities, killed ISIL fighters, destroyed weapons, and given space for Iraqi and Kurdish forces to reclaim key territory. These strikes have helped save the lives of thousands of innocent men, women and children.
But this is not our fight alone. American power can make a decisive difference, but we cannot do for Iraqis what they must do for themselves, nor can we take the place of Arab partners in securing their region. That’s why I’ve insisted that additional U.S. action depended upon Iraqis forming an inclusive government, which they have now done in recent days. So tonight, with a new Iraqi government in place, and following consultations with allies abroad and Congress at home, I can announce that America will lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat (as of this writing his broad coalition has nine countries in it–the Iraq coalition of George W. Bush he criticized had 37 countries).
Our objective is clear: we will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy.
First, we will conduct a systematic campaign of airstrikes against these terrorists. Working with the Iraqi government, we will expand our efforts beyond protecting our own people and humanitarian missions, so that we’re hitting ISIL targets as Iraqi forces go on offense. Moreover, I have made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are. That means I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq. This is a core principle of my presidency: if you threaten America, you will find no safe haven (actually that was the core principal of George W. Bush’s presidency–He just stole it)
Second, we will increase our support to forces fighting these terrorists on the ground. In June, I deployed several hundred American service members to Iraq to assess how we can best support Iraqi Security Forces. Now that those teams have completed their work – and Iraq has formed a government – we will send an additional 475 service members to Iraq. As I have said before, these American forces will not have a combat mission – we will not get dragged into another ground war in Iraq. But they are needed to support Iraqi and Kurdish forces with training, intelligence and equipment. We will also support Iraq’s efforts to stand up National Guard Units to help Sunni communities secure their own freedom from ISIL control.
Across the border, in Syria, we have ramped up our military assistance to the Syrian opposition. Tonight, I again call on Congress to give us additional authorities and resources to train and equip these fighters. In the fight against ISIL, we cannot rely on an Assad regime that terrorizes its people; a regime that will never regain the legitimacy it has lost. Instead, we must strengthen the opposition as the best counterweight to extremists like ISIL, while pursuing the political solution necessary to solve Syria’s crisis once and for all. (Think about this for a second…he said that ISIL is a threat to Americans but he wont do everything to eliminate it–no troops on the ground. What happens when/if the Iraqis who two months ago were running away from ISIL start to run again? What happens if the Syrian opposition which on August 8th he said were incapable of fighting because they were nothing but “doctors, farmers, and pharmacists” fail? Will he still refuse to send ground troops for this threat which he said endangers Americans?)
Third, we will continue to draw on our substantial counterterrorism capabilities to prevent ISIL attacks. Working with our partners, we will redouble our efforts to cut off its funding; improve our intelligence; strengthen our defenses; counter its warped ideology; and stem the flow of foreign fighters into – and out of – the Middle East. And in two weeks, I will chair a meeting of the UN Security Council to further mobilize the international community around this effort.(ISIL makes about one million dollars a day just on their oil exports can he cut that off? And what about the UN they are amongst the biggest supporters of terrorism.)
Fourth, we will continue providing humanitarian assistance to innocent civilians who have been displaced by this terrorist organization. This includes Sunni and Shia Muslims who are at grave risk, as well as tens of thousands of Christians and other religious minorities. We cannot allow these communities to be driven from their ancient homelands (But Israel can be driven away from Jerusalem).
This is our strategy. And in each of these four parts of our strategy, America will be joined by a broad coalition of partners (nine countries). Already, allies are flying planes with us over Iraq; sending arms and assistance to Iraqi Security Forces and the Syrian opposition; sharing intelligence; and providing billions of dollars in humanitarian aid. Secretary Kerry was in Iraq today meeting with the new government and supporting their efforts to promote unity, and in the coming days he will travel across the Middle East and Europe to enlist more partners in this fight, especially Arab nations who can help mobilize Sunni communities in Iraq and Syria to drive these terrorists from their lands. This is American leadership at its best: we stand with people who fight for their own freedom; and we rally other nations on behalf of our common security and common humanity.
My Administration has also secured bipartisan support for this approach here at home. I have the authority to address the threat from ISIL. But I believe we are strongest as a nation when the President and Congress work together. So I welcome congressional support for this effort in order to show the world that Americans are united in confronting this danger.(I believe he is correct in saying he has the authority-however I also believe he should go to congress first to demonstrate the country’s unity in fighting this threat. But he wont because his Democratic Party colleagues in congress do not want to vote for a war this close to the mid-term elections in fear that their progressive base will get angry and stay home).
Now, it will take time to eradicate a cancer like ISIL.(When one has cancer they will do anything possible to eradicate it–but his doctor/president refuses–no ground troops) And any time we take military action, there are risks involved – especially to the servicemen and women who carry out these missions. But I want the American people to understand how this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil. This counter-terrorism campaign will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out ISIL wherever they exist, using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground. This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years. (actually Yemen and Somialia aren’t successful they are teetering on becoming failed ‘states”) And it is consistent with the approach I outlined earlier this year: to use force against anyone who threatens America’s core interests, but to mobilize partners wherever possible to address broader challenges to international order.
My fellow Americans, we live in a time of great change. Tomorrow marks 13 years since our country was attacked. Next week marks 6 years since our economy suffered its worst setback since the Great Depression. (He omits that two years ago our country was attacked in Benghzi– Or the Boston Marathon bombing) Yet despite these shocks; through the pain we have felt and the grueling work required to bounce back – America is better positioned today to seize the future than any other nation on Earth.
Our technology companies and universities are unmatched; our manufacturing and auto industries are thriving. Energy independence is closer than it’s been in decades (it would be even closer if he would approve the Keystone Pipeline). For all the work that remains, our businesses are in the longest uninterrupted stretch of job creation in our history (the economy is still shaky) . Despite all the divisions and discord within our
democracy it’s a republic (that my administration was instrumental in creating), I see the grit and determination and common goodness of the American people every single day – and that makes me more confident than ever about our country’s future.
Abroad, American leadership is the one constant in an uncertain world. (sadly the constant is that other nations are laughing at our President and his ‘leading from behind strategy”) It is America that has the capacity and the will to mobilize the world against terrorists. It is America that has rallied the world against Russian aggression, and in support of the Ukrainian peoples’ right to determine their own destiny (Putin doesn’t seem like he cares). It is America – our scientists, our doctors, our know-how – that can help contain and cure the outbreak of Ebola (our doctors are changing professions because of Obamacare). It is America that helped remove and destroy Syria’s declared chemical weapons so they cannot pose a threat to the Syrian people – or the world – again (but they still have them along with chlorine gas which was reported on 9/10/14). And it is America that is helping Muslim communities around the world not just in the fight against terrorism, but in the fight for opportunity, tolerance, and a more hopeful future.
America, our endless blessings bestow an enduring burden. But as Americans, we welcome our responsibility to lead. From Europe to Asia – from the far reaches of Africa to war-torn capitals of the Middle East – we stand for freedom, for justice, for dignity. These are values that have guided our nation since its founding. Tonight, I ask for your support in carrying that leadership forward. I do so as a Commander-in-Chief who could not be prouder of our men and women in uniform – pilots who bravely fly in the face of danger above the Middle East, and service-members who support our partners on the ground (But it took two days to speak about the recent death of a General in Afghanistan and he sent no one to the General’s funeral).
When we helped prevent the massacre of civilians trapped on a distant mountain, here’s what one of them said. “We owe our American friends our lives. Our children will always remember that there was someone who felt our struggle and made a long journey to protect innocent people.”
That is the difference we make in the world. And our own safety – our own security – depends upon our willingness to do what it takes to defend this nation (wait a second–he just said “And our own safety – our own security – depends upon our willingness to do what it takes to defend this nation” in the same speech where he told the enemy that we are unwilling to put boots on the ground–isn’t that a bit contradictory?) and uphold the values that we stand for – timeless ideals that will endure long after those who offer only hate and destruction have been vanquished from the Earth.
May God bless our troops, and may God bless the United States of America.(Amen!)