Obama Orders Bombing of Syria to Insure Liberation from CIA-created Bogeyman & the Sort of 'Humanitarian Aid' Experienced by the People of Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan ("... and may God bless the United States of America.")
Remarks of President Barack Obama Address to the Nation
September 10, 2014
As Prepared for Delivery
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.
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, 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.
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.” 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. 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. 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.
I know many Americans are concerned about these threats. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This is our strategy. And in each of these four parts of our strategy, America will be joined by a broad coalition of partners. 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.
Now, it will take time to eradicate a cancer like ISIL. 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. 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. 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. For all the work that remains, our businesses are in the longest uninterrupted stretch of job creation in our history. Despite all the divisions and discord within our democracy, 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. 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. It is America – our scientists, our doctors, our know-how – that can help contain and cure the outbreak of Ebola. 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. 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.
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.”
- See more at: http://www.shallownation.com/2014/09/09/video-president-obama-speech-isis-strategy-sept-10-2014-address-nation/#sthash.KjuWF6rM.dpuf
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, 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.
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It was during an interview on Meet the Press with the new moderator Chuck Todd that President Obama first announced he would address the nation regarding his strategy for ISIS.
As the New York Times reports, quoting from the transcript,
President Obama said at that time, ““I’m preparing the country to make sure that we deal with a threat from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS…What I want people to understand is that over the course of months, we are going to be able to not just blunt the momentum” of the militants. “We are going to systematically degrade their capabilities; we’re going to shrink the territory that they control; and, ultimately, we’re going to defeat them.”
He also said, “This is not going to be an announcement about U.S. ground troops. This is not the equivalent of the Iraq war.”
A preview video is below.
- See more at: http://www.shallownation.com/2014/09/09/video-president-obama-speech-isis-strategy-sept-10-2014-address-nation/#sthash.KjuWF6rM.dpuf
Under Barack Obama, the U.S. is currently bombing Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya. According to some reports (see here and here), we can add Iran to this ever-expanding list. [Update: An Informed Comment reader named Shannon pointed out that in fact the United States bombed Iran in 1988 during Operating Praying Mantis, an act that "cannot be justified" according to the International Court of Justice.]
Thanks to American arms and funding, our “stalwart ally” Israel has bombed every single one of its neighbors, including Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt. Israel has also bombed Tunisia and Iraq (how many times can Americans and Israelis bomb this country?).
The total number of Muslim countries that America and Israel have bombed comes to fourteen: Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Iran, Sudan, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, and Tunisia.
Here’s what that looks like on a map of the Greater Middle East::
(Note: Image quality improved thanks to a reader named Mohamed S.)
I wonder where those silly Muslims come up with the conspiratorial, absolutely irrational idea that the U.S. is waging war against the Muslim world?
If you haven’t already seen this video, I strongly suggest you watch it:
With seven active wars in seven different Muslim countries, it is quite an amazing thing that Americans can have the audacity to ask: “why are Muslims so violent and warlike?”
But, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The New York Times reports that President Barack Obama “widened” the war, which is now being waged across “two continents” in “roughly a dozen countries — from the deserts of North Africa, to the mountains of Pakistan, to former Soviet republics,” using “robotic drones and commando teams” as well as “contractors” and “local operatives.”
Even more worrisome, the Washington Post reports that America’s “secret wars” are waged by “Special Operations forces” in “75 countries” (and “that number will likely reach 120″); in other words, the United States will have engaged in military acts in over 60% of the world’s nation-states. After all of this, Americans will turn around and ask: “why are Muslims so violent and warlike?”
Could it possibly be more obvious that the War on Terror is just a pretext for global domination?
* * * * *
Every four years, Americans get the illusion of choice: the choice between Democrat and Republican. In terms of foreign policy, the difference is like the difference between Coke and Pepsi. In the last election, John McCain sang a variation of the famous Beach Boys song “Barbara Ann,” changing the lyrics to “bomb, bomb, bomb Iran!”; meanwhile, Barack Obama hinted at expanding the war to Pakistan. The American voter was given the choice not between war and peace, but between war against Iran or war against Pakistan.
In the national discourse, there exists a bipartisan consensus on the need for perpetual war: both candidates agreed on the need to expand the War on of Terror and attack more Muslim countries. There was no confusion about whether or not to bomb, invade, and occupy–the question was only where to do this. If the Muslim world were imagined to be a turkey, the question was then only whether to begin munching on the leg first or to start with the breast.
President Barack Obama may have disagreed with his predecessor’s tactics, but he agreed with the Bush/Cheney world view. Obama may have thought we could move around troops here and there–let’s move some of these troops from Iraq to Afghanistan–but he did not disagree with the basic premise, overall methods, and goals of the Bush/Cheney War on of Terror.
Interestingly, Obama was considered to be “the peace candidate”; even more absurd of course was that he ended up winning the Noble Peace Prize. While it is true that the Democratic Obama has tended to use less hawkish language, in terms of actions Obama has a worse record than Bush: Obama has expanded the War on of Terror, both in terms of covert and overt wars.
Why did a “liberal” Democrat (Barack Obama) end up being more warlike than a “hawkish” Republican (George Bush)? There is of course the obvious explanation of war inertia. But aside from this, there must be something deeper, which is apparent if we look at the situation between what were historically the two large parties in Israel.
Western media (see Time Magazine, for example), portrays the Labor Party as “dovish” and Likud as “hawkish”. Certainly, in terms of rhetoric this is true. But, is it really true? According to experts in the field–such as Prof. Noam Chomsky and Dr. Norman Finkelstein–Labor has had a far worse track record toward Palestinians than the Likud. Labor and Likud play good cop, bad cop toward Palestinians–or rather bad cop, badder cop. But while the two parties disagree on rhetoric and tactics, they share similar overall goals.
The same is the case with Democrats and Republicans. The Democrats use softer rhetoric, whereas the Republicans continually push the national discourse (the “center”) rightward. But, because a Democratic president must counter the accusation that he is “weak” on matters of “defense” (Orwell: offense is defense), he must be Strong and Tough against Terrorism. Effectively this means that his war policy becomes virtually indistinguishable from that of the political right.
Furthermore, President Barack Obama has done something that no Republican could do: he has brought bipartisan consensus to the state of perpetual and global war. During the reign of George Bush, prominent liberal progressives criticized his warlike policies. In fact, this was one of the motivating factors behind electing Obama, who would bring “Change.” Yet, when Obama brought more of the same, most liberal progressives fell silent, a hypocrisy that did not go unnoticed by conservatives.
It took a “liberal” Democrat to expand the War on of Terror and give it bipartisan consensus, just as it took a conservative Republican (Richard Nixon) to make peace with Communist China.
Under the two-party system, it really does not matter which side wins. A Republican candidate might sound more warlike than a Democrat, but once in office, he softens his position somewhat due to Democratic opposition (even though most of the Democrats won’t vote against war resolutions). Meanwhile, a Democrat president must prove that he is Strong and Tough against Terrorism, so he hardens his position. In the end, Democratic and Republican presidents are moved to the political “center” (which keeps getting pushed ever more to the right), so that the two are virtually indistinguishable from each other. Perhaps Barack Obama was onto something when he said:
There’s not a liberal America or a conservative America; there’s the United States of America.
It is true: America’s politicians are united in their endorsement of perpetual and global war.
The United States has a long history of bipartisan consensus when it comes to waging wars of aggression. In 1846, the country was divided between the hawkish Democratic party led by President James K. Polk and the supposedly dovish Whig party. Polk’s administration saber-rattled against Mexico in order to justify invading and occupying their land. Meanwhile, “[t]he Whig party was presumably against the war,” but “they were not so powerfully against the military action that they would stop it by denying men and money for the operation” (p.153 of Prof. Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States). In fact, the “Whigs joined Democrats in voting overwhelmingly for the war resolution, 174 to 14.” They did so, because “[t]hey did not want to risk the accusation that they were putting American soldiers in peril by depriving them of the materials necessary to fight.” The only dissenters were “a small group of antislavery Whigs, or a ‘little knot of ultraists,’ as one Massachusetts Congressman who voted for the war measure put it.” Perhaps among them was Ron Paul’s great grandfather.
The measure passed the Congress (174 to 14) and the Senate (40 to 2), “Whigs joining Democrats.” The Whigs “could only harry the administration with a barrage of verbiage while voting for every appropriation which the military campaigns required.” In any case, “the United States would be giving the blessings of liberty and democracy” to the Mexicans. Any of this sound familiar?
Flash forward to today and we see the establishment left consistently supporting America’s wars of aggression. Even while these avowed liberals criticize right-wingers for warmongering against Iran, they themselves often saber-rattle against Pakistan and even Saudi Arabia. The right thinks we’re doing something great in Iraq and wants to expand the war to Iran (which we may already have done). Meanwhile, the left thinks we were right to bomb Afghanistan and that we should expand the war to Pakistan (which we’ve already done). Neither left or right opposes foreign wars altogether. The difference is only with regard to the names of the countries we bomb, which doesn’t really matter since the truth is that we are bombing all of them now.
This is because both left and right agree with the Supreme Islamophobic Myth: that Islam (or radical Islam) is the greatest threat to world peace. This inevitably leads to the central tenet of Islamophobia, which is to endorse the Supreme Islamophobic Crime: bombing, invading, and occupying Muslim lands.
Peace can only be attained when one is disabused of this mother of nationalistic myths. This can only be done by realizing that it is the United States that is the greatest threat to peace in the region (look at the map!). Consider that the U.S. has bombed at least a dozen Muslim countries in recent history, whereas zero Muslim countries have bombed the U.S. If “wars of aggression” constitute “the supreme international crime”–as decided during the Nuremberg Trials–then what does it say about the situation when America has initiated multiple wars of aggression against the Muslim world whereas no single Muslim country has done so against the United States?
No Muslim country has attacked us because the risks of doing so are far too great; it would mean almost certain destruction. This is why, even though the map of the Middle East in the image above looks like it does, no Muslim country has the audacity to retaliate. Meanwhile, the U.S.–as the world’s only superpower–can attack multiple smaller countries without fear of significant retaliation to the American heartland. Therefore, it only makes sense for people of conscience, especially Americans, to be highly critical of U.S. foreign policy.
* * * * *
Something else troubling I’ve noticed about the national discourse is how even those opposed to war (or at least one set of wars) will frame their opposition in financial terms. The primary argument to convince Americans against war seems not to be the fact that war is immoral, that bombing countries and killing so many countless civilians is morally repugnant, but rather that it’s just too costly to do so. It’s our wallets, not our soul, that is at stake.
Another argument that takes precedence over the moral argument includes the idea that too many of our troops are dying (victim inversion); alternatively, it is argued (rightfully) that such wars increase the likelihood of terrorism against us (another example of victim inversion).
During the Nuremberg Trials, it was decided that initiating a war of aggression constituted “the supreme international crime”:
To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.
Of what moral character would you consider a Nazi official if he argued against Hitler’s wars on the basis of “it will cost too much German tax payer money” or “it will kill too many German soldiers” or “it may result in retaliation against Germany?” (Refer to Glenn Greenwald’s article on Godwin’s law.)
Would it not be better to use as one’s central argument against America’s wars that it is morally repugnant to bomb and kill people?
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