On Sunday night for only the third time during his presidency, Barack Obama gave a speech from the Oval Oval office. Interestingly this speech was supposedly about the ISIS threat, his last Oval Office speech was when he announced the end of combat operations in Iraq, declaring that he had made good on a central promise from his campaign. Of course the premature end of our combat operations in Iraq was also one of the leading causes of the development of ISIS in Iraq,
The thirteen-minute, 1,737 word speech was supposed to calm the American public’s fears about the way Obama has been handling the war on ISIS. It didn’t. The president didn’t lay out any new strategies for defeating ISIS or any other terrorist organization. And as soon as he could, Obama attempted a presidential sleight of hand by shifting the focus from terrorism to gun control proposals that would have done absolutely nothing to prevent last Wednesday’s horrible bloodbath in San Bernardino.
Rather than delay the inevitable, below is a transcript of Obama’s words annotated with corrections and other snarky comments from yours truly. As is “The Lid” tradition, the POTUS’ words appear in black and my comments in red.
Warning-the comments are the opinion of the author only and do not necessarily reflect that of management (my wife). Also they may (okay the do) contain snark-you have been warned.
Good evening. On Wednesday, 14 Americans were killed as they came together to celebrate the holidays. They were taken from family and friends who loved them deeply. They were white and black; Latino and Asian; immigrants and American-born; moms and dads; daughters and sons. Each of them served their fellow citizens and all of them were part of our American family.
Tonight, I want to talk with you about this tragedy, the broader threat of terrorism, and how we can keep our country safe.
The FBI is still gathering the facts about what happened in San Bernardino, but here is what we know. The victims were brutally murdered and injured by one of their coworkers and his wife. So far, we have no evidence that the killers were directed by a terrorist organization overseas, or that they were part of a broader conspiracy here at home. But it is clear that the two of them had gone down the dark path of radicalization, embracing a perverted interpretation of Islam that calls for war against America and the West. They had stockpiled assault weapons, ammunition, and pipe bombs. So this was an act of terrorism OMG he said the “T” word, he called it terrorism, I think I will faint from the shock , designed to kill innocent people Of course it was designed to kill innocent people-how many terrorist attacks are designed to kill schmucks in prison?
Our nation has been at war with terrorists since al-Qaeda killed nearly 3,000 Americans on 9/11. In the process, we’ve hardened our defenses: from airports to financial centers to other critical infrastructure. Intelligence and law enforcement agencies have disrupted countless plots here and overseas and worked around the clock to keep us safe. Our military and counterterrorism officials relentlessly pursued terrorist networks overseas, disrupting safe havens in several different countries, killing Osama bin Laden, and decimating Al Qaeda’s leadership. Ah—Bin Laden is dead and Al Qaeda is on the run, now where have I heard that before?
Over the last few years, however, the terrorist threat has evolved into a new phase. As we’ve become better at preventing complex multifaceted attacks like 9/11, terrorists turn to less complicated acts of violence like the mass shootings that are all too common in our society. It is this type of attack that we saw at Ft. Hood in 2009, in Chattanooga earlier this year, and now in San Bernardino. It’s not terrorism its gun violence. On the bright side he didn’t call it global warming (yet).
And as groups like ISIL grew stronger amist the chaos of war in Iraq [See note above about Obama’s last Oval Office speech]and Syria, and as the internet erases the distance between countries, we see growing efforts by terrorists to poison the minds of people like the Boston marathon bombers and the San Bernardino killers. Can anyone say why he didn’t mention the Boston marathon bombers in the last paragraph? Because it didn’t fit his false narrative that gun control would prevent terrorism
For seven years, I’ve confronted this evolving threat each and every morning in my intelligence briefing, and since the day I took this office, I have authorized US Forces to take out terrorists abroad precisely because I know how real the danger is. But he ignored the danger. According to retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Obama’s former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency the reason for the growth of ISIS can be summed up in one sentence, “Bin Laden is dead, al Qaeda is on the run.” That campaign theme was the reason Barack Obama ignored ISIS until until after the 2012 election. As commander in chief, I have no greater responsibility than the security of the American people. Then do it! As a father to two young daughters who are are the most precious part of my life, I know that we see ourselves with friends and co-workers at a holiday party like the one in San Bernardino. I know we see our kids in the faces of the young people killed in Paris.
And I know that after so much war, many Americans are asking whether we are confronted by a cancer that has no immediate cure. No we are asking why you as Commander-in- Chief won’t confront it.
Well, here’s what I want you to know. The threat from terrorism is real, but we will overcome it. We will destroy ISIL and any other organization that tries to harm us. Our success won’t depend on tough talk or abandoning our values or giving into fear. That’s what groups like ISIL are hoping for. I’m kinda tired of this, who gives a rat’s arse what they hope for, and why should anyone care? Instead, we will prevail by being strong and smart. Resilient and relentless. And by drawing upon every aspect of American power. Here’s how.
First, our military will continue to hunt down terrorist plotters in any country where it is necessary.
In Iraq and Syria, air strikes are taking out ISIL leaders, heavy weapons, oil tankers, infrastructure. . Since attacks in Paris, our closest allies including France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, have ramped up their contributions to our military campaign which will help us accelerate our effort to destroy ISIL. Well sort of–as the Hill reported back in June, Obama has tied their hands, ” U.S. and coalition air forces are aiming for zero civilian casualties in airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), frustrating some lawmakers who say the military campaign is progressing too slowly. While officials say they can never be absolutely certain of who’s on the ground, U.S. and allied forces are refraining from airstrikes against ISIS if there’s a risk of even one civilian casualty. There’s a target of zero civilian casualties, so if there are civilian casualty concerns, we would continue to monitor a target or a potential target to see if there is a way to mitigate that,” said an Air Force official.
Third, we’re working with friends and allies to stop ISIL’s operations to disrupt plots, cut off their financing, and prevent them from recruiting more fighters. Since the attacks in Paris, we’ve surged intelligence sharing with our European allies. So we’ve only shared info with our friends for since November 13, that’s three weeks ago, boy oh boy is Obama a good friend. We’re working with Turkey to seal its border with Syria they haven’t because they are getting cheap ISIS oil and we are cooperating with Muslim majority countries and with our Muslim communities here at home to counter the vicious ideology that ISIL promotes online.
Fourth, with American leadership, the international community has begun to establish a process and timeline to pursue cease-fires and a political resolution to the Syrian war. Doing so will allow the Syrian people and every country, including our allies but also countries like Russia, to focus on the common goal of destroying ISIL. A group that threatens us all. Russia is still targeting Assad’s opponents much more than ISIS. This is our strategy to destroy ISIL. It is designed and supported by our military commanders and counterterrorism experts together with 65 countries that have joined an American-led coalition. 65-nation coalition? Puleeeze! France is bombing, what other countries are in this coalition and what are they doing? This is more of a CINO, Coalition in name only. We constantly examine our strategy to determine within additional steps are needed to get the job done. That’s why I’ve ordered the departments of State and Homeland Security to review the visa waiver program under which the female terrorist in San Bernardino originally came to this country. Hey cool he agrees with the GOP effort!
And that’s why I will urge high-tech and law enforcement leaders to make it harder for terrorists to use technology to escape from justice. Now, here at home, we have to work together to address the challenge.
There are several steps that Congress should take right away. To begin with, Congress should act to make sure no one on a no-fly list is able to buy a gun. What could possibly be the argument for allowing a terrorist suspect to buy a semiautomatic weapon? This is a matter of national security. HUH? How would that have prevented the San Bernardino (0r other) terrorist attacks. The Farook terrorists were not on the no fly list. Besides the no-fly list contains many errors.
As recently explained in National Review: “While some people on “no-fly” lists are there because they are suspected of terrorist activity, you can also get added because you are a suspect in a criminal case, made controversial statements or tweets unrelated to terrorism, are the victim of a clerical error, or refused to become a government informant. Not only do the terror watch and no-fly lists target many people who aren’t really threats, they stop a lot of people who aren’t even actually on the lists. The late Senator Ted Kennedy was stopped from flying five times because someone with a similar name was on the no-fly list. Other prominent individuals such as The Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes have also run into this problem.”
On the other hand perhaps the Ted Kennedy example was just a case of a confusion between the no-fly list and the tell your daughters no-drive-with list.
We also need to make it harder for people to buy powerful assault weapons like the ones that were used in San Bernardino. I know there are some who reject any gun safety measures, but the fact is that our intelligence and law enforcement agencies, no matter how effective they are, cannot identify every would-be mass shooter, whether that individual was motivated by ISIL or some other hateful ideology. What we can do and must do is make it harder for them to kill.
Does this president really believe that somebody who would walk into a conference room and massacred the people he worked with, would let gun laws prevent him from getting a weapon, automatic or otherwise? And if they couldn’t get a gun, does anybody doubt that these San Bernardino terrorists, Mr. and Mrs. Farook wouldn’t have used one of those dozen home-made pipe bombs found in their house to get the same exact result?
Next, we should put in place stronger screening for those who come to America without a visa so that we can take a hard look at whether they’ve traveled to war zones. And we’re working with members of both parties in congress to do exactly that. We should have done this over a year ago.
Finally, if Congress believes, as I do, that we are at war with ISIL, it should go ahead and vote to authorize the continued use of military force against these terrorists. For over a year, I have ordered our military to take thousands of air strikes against ISIL targets. I think it’s time for Congress to vote to demonstrate that the American people are united and committed to this fight. This one is legit. My fellow Americans, these are the steps that we can take together to defeat the terrorist threat.
Let me now say a word about what we should not do.
We should not be drawn once more into a long and costly ground war in Iraq or Syria. That’s what groups like ISIL want. They know they can’t defeat us on the battlefield. ISIL fighters were part of the insurgency that we faced in Iraq, but they also know that if we occupy foreign lands, they can maintain insurgencies for years, killing thousands of our troops and draining our resources, and using our presence to draw new recruits. This is the usual Obama straw dog, anybody who disagrees with him wants to occupy. We should do whatever it takes to do the job which is WIN. ISIS proved last Wednesday the have the chops to attack here in America, if we need to fight there to prevent attacks here then that’s what we need to do.
The strategy that we are using now, air strikes, special forces, and working with local forces who are fighting to regain control of their own country, that is how we’ll achieve a more sustainable victory, and it won’t require us sending a new generation of Americans overseas to fight and die for another decade on foreign soil. But what we are doing isn’t working. As Einstein said, “Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results.“ So this is insane,Obama’s own people are saying ISIS is not contained and they are attacking in Europe and the U.S. Here’s what else we cannot do.
Here’s what else we cannot do. We cannot turn against one another by letting this fight be defined as a war between America and Islam. Defining our enemy as Radical Islam is not defining this fight as a battle with all Islam. That, too, is what groups like ISIL want. ISIL does not speak for Islam. They are thugs and killers, part of a cult of death, and they account for a tiny fraction of more than a billion Muslims around the world — including millions of patriotic Muslim Americans who reject their hateful ideology. Moreover, the vast majority of terrorist victims around the world are Muslim. If we’re to succeed in defeating terrorism we must enlist Muslim communities as some of our strongest allies, rather than push them away through suspicion and hate. In other words he will never say radical Islam.
That does not mean denying the fact that an extremist ideology has spread within some Muslim communities. This is a real problem that Muslims must confront, without excuse. Muslim leaders here and around the globe have to continue working with us to decisively and unequivocally reject the hateful ideology that groups like ISIL and al Qaeda promote; to speak out against not just acts of violence, but also those interpretations of Islam that are incompatible with the values of religious tolerance, mutual respect, and human dignity. Okay I get it, not all Muslims are terrorists, we know that, in fact George W. Bush said the same thing a few days after 9/11.
But just as it is the responsibility of Muslims around the world to root out misguided ideas that lead to radicalization, it is the responsibility of all Americans — of every faith — to reject discrimination. It is our responsibility to reject religious tests on who we admit into this country. I agree, ALL Syrian refugees should be kept out of the U.S. no matter what the religion. It’s our responsibility to reject proposals that Muslim Americans should somehow be treated differently. Because when we travel down that road, we lose. That kind of divisiveness, that betrayal of our values plays into the hands of groups like ISIL. Muslim Americans are our friends and our neighbors, our co-workers, our sports heroes — and, yes, they are our men and women in uniform who are willing to die in defense of our country. Great, now show me that there is an ant-Muslim problem in America. According to the most recent FBI report (12/8/14) out of the 5,922 hate crimes in 2013, the top three bias categories were race (48.5 percent), sexual orientation (20.8 percent), and religion (17.4 percent). Out of the 1,031 religious hate crimes, the three groups facing the most hate crimes; 625 were against Jews, 135 against Muslims, and 70 against Catholics. Obviously all hate crimes are bad, but Muslims face only 6.7% of religious hate crimes and 1.2% of all hate crimes. So why is Obama defending Muslims against an almost non-existent prejudice against Muslims?
My fellow Americans, I am confident we will succeed in this mission because we are on the right side of history. We were founded upon a belief in human dignity — that no matter who you are, or where you come from, or what you look like, or what religion you practice, you are equal in the eyes of God and equal in the eyes of the law. See above, it’s not an issue, BTW Cops should be treated equally, not targeted as the Obama administration does.
Even in this political season, even as we properly debate what steps I and future Presidents must take to keep our country safe, As Sylvester Stallone said in Rambo two, “do we get to win this time?” let’s make sure we never forget what makes us exceptional. Let’s not forget that freedom is more powerful than fear; that we have always met challenges — whether war or depression, natural disasters or terrorist attacks — by coming together around our common ideals as one nation, as one people. So long as we stay true to that tradition, I have no doubt America will prevail. Of course we will as soon as we have a real leader and Commander-in-Chief.
Bethany Blankley also took a snarky look at Obama’s speech, much different than the above but still a very worthwhile read. Click here and give it a read I promise you will enjoy.