Death by Triangulation – why HC should or should not declare her Democratic Candidacy

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by Professor Ruth O’Brien & Frederic D. O’Brien (a.k.a. Fred Schwarz, Deputy Managing Editor, National Review)
 

When a print publication’s most popular foreign-policy headline is “Obama threatened to shoot down Israeli warplanes” and the CPAC straw poll has Rand Paul winning and Scott Walker “surging,” while CPAC attendees would have “walked out on Jeb,” it would have been strategically unwise for the Democratic potential presidential nominee, former New York senator, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to put her toe in the ring. Why would HC endanger not only her candidacy but all the candidacies of the Democrats who want to win in 2016?

If HC sticks her neck out today by declaring her official Democratic candidacy, as Cokie Roberts contends on NPR than HC will be triangulated to death.

HC gives every man in the GOP field (and don’t forget that one woman, former Hewlett Packard President Carly Fiorina) a chance to prove either his foreign-policy creds (which those Governors Jeb, Scott, and Rick sorely lack) or their not-so-wacky Christian, tax fearing Tea Party creds against her.

How do conservatives get away with ¼ truths and absurdities, like the headline above about Israeli warplanes? A few well-placed bald-faced lies about HC’s position on Libya in foreign policy is the triangulation – death by association with something entirely false, such as saying the Obama administration had a military response available to save the diplomats in the consulate in Libya.

Similarly with the Tea Party, fringe conservatives are trying to convince their fellow Republicans that Wisconsin governor Scott Walker could win. Scott’s got all the Tea Party touchstones or creds: He is part of the war on women as well as the entire spectrum of the rainbow refraction coalition. Walker’s against a woman’s right to choose. He’s against same-sex marriage. And not only is he against any form of regulating business, he’s got that impressive public-union-bashing cred. Public unions, like the National Education Association (NEA), represent not just the working and professional class, like teachers, but also women and persons with different identities more than the ever-shrinking, almost-gone unions for the private sector with their Rust Belt history.

So as much as I hate to disagree with Cokie Roberts’ NPR analysis (she is, after all, the author of an interesting book on First Ladies) in this, she’s wrong. Hillary should stay out of the ring until the Republican candidates sort themselves out, at the very least in terms of money. And by money, I mean give me the Koch brothers’ money.* #RuthOBrienGC

*Chances are those brothers are giving all viable candidates money. When you have that much why wouldn’t you. So the better question is who are they enjoying giving their money to the most?

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If Hillary has learned the lesson of 2008, she will openly declare her candidacy now. In 2008 she adopted a rope-a-dope strategy, low-keying it for most of 2007 in hopes of landing a knockout blow in the first round of caucuses and primaries. Then along came a charismatic young senator from her native state, and before you could blink, she was so far behind that the race was effectively over by Valentine’s Day. She can’t rely on inevitability again, not with the Democratic base all a-Twitter over Elizabeth Warren.

Hillary’s strengths come under the heading of inside politics: raising funds, building alliances, making deals. Few people are enthusiastic about her; she doesn’t have that once-in-a-generation charisma that we have seen in Obama, Reagan, and Kennedy. The longer she stays out of the race, the more time there is for other candidates to steal her support or create a groundswell in opposition. Her age will also be an issue, and the best way to show she isn’t tired or worn out is to campaign vigorously, instead of reciting her standard speech for $250K a pop before adoring campus audiences or favor-seeking corporations.

Most important, perhaps, starting her campaign early would be the best way to distinguish herself from President Obama, her boss not long ago. Right now she is cautiously waiting to see how popular he is next year before deciding how tightly to embrace him. Again, this leaves the field open for other candidates to run as progressive alternatives to the Obama-Clinton administration.

Waiting until the last minute to declare would make Hillary look exactly like what her detractors say about her: Entitled, above it all, physically fragile, overcautious, a backroom dealmaker who’s not good at mixing it up. She did her best in 2008 after it was effectively over and she transformed into Fightin’ Hillary. This time around, she doesn’t have to wait until it’s too late.  #FredericOBrien

Posted in Beyond Polling, Candidates 2016, Election 2016, Political Characters, Yin-Yang | Comments Off

Christie at CPAC after Putting Down Pensions

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by Professor Ruth O’Brien & Frederic D. O’Brien (a.k.a. Fred Schwarz, Deputy Managing Editor, National Review)

Being a longtime New Jersey voter, I noticed that Gov. Chris Christie went after the gold standard when it comes to public employees – judges.

If this intimidating governor can take away a judge’s pension, who’s next? Everyone’s vulnerable – from teachers in Wisconsin to social workers taking care of the elderly, who are vulnerable since they do not have grown children in the state to protect them.

Today our Gardener State non-Green Governor Christie insists at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) that he’s the people choice. Huh? Having lived in that state for 20 years plus, I know that Christie reminds most women of your sibling’s husband or former husband. Is that warring on women? No, he’s just the blowfish (i.e. blowhard) every relative wants to avoid. #RuthOBrienGC

—————–

Well, he is kind of a blowhard, but that’s never been a disqualifying factor in politics. I think Governor Christie’s biggest problem in chasing the GOP nomination is that he’s just too New Jersey. HIs act goes over well enough in Avenel and Ridgewood and Manalapan, but will it play in Peoria? Or Paducah or Pasco or Pine Bluff? Women will see their overbearing brother-in-law, and men will see The Situation crossed with Tony Soprano.

Truth be told, I was never quite sure what Christie’s justification for reducing the state’s pension payment was (though New Jersey’s heavily Democratic legislature did approve it). The approach described in the Times, in which Christie negotiates with the unions to work out a deal on pensions, seems much more promising and legally sound.

The culprits in these cases are neither the unions (who are only doing their job) nor today’s politicians (who must try any expedient they can to plug ever-greater budget holes). The culprits are the politicians of decades past, who, like New York’s Gov. George Pataki in the 1990s, made rash promises of future gold to secure union support, knowing that they wouldn’t be in office when the bills came due. Conmen like that deserve every bit of scorn their states’ current residents can muster. #FredericOBrien

Posted in Candidates 2016, Political Characters | Tagged | Comments Off

Stand By Your Man: Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, and the Life of Brian

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by Professor Ruth O’Brien & Frederic D. O’Brien (a.k.a. Fred Schwarz, Deputy Managing Editor, National Review)

Am I surprised NBC suspended Brian Williams? Am I surprised Bill O’Reilly is being backed up? Nope.

After growing up Republican in what is now Tea Party territory, I know there is one word for Fox’s Roger Ailes — and that’s “relentless.” There’s also a song sung in Bakersfield – and that’s “Stand by Your Man.”

This said, no one stands by their man if he doesn’t have the proper title of “professional provocateur.” And worse, you must be authentic. And for Bill O/Reilly that can only mean one thing – he practices what he preaches – the Politics of Hate. # Prof. Ruth O’Brien

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Wow, Bill O’Reilly’s a blowhard? Who could have seen that coming? It does appear that he has exaggerated and embroidered some events from his past, though perhaps not on the heroic scale we’ve seen from Brian Williams. If O’Reilly were still a reporter, we could expect a reprimand or suspension like the one Williams got from NBC News — not because any degree of honesty is required to read words off a teleprompter, but because news operations like to preserve a pretense of trustworthiness. The thing is, O’Reilly makes no claim to be an impartial or scrupulously honest and thorough reporter. He’s just a political commentator with a gift for oversimplification and inflammatory remarks, like dozens of similar personalities on the left and right. And in that line of work, the habit of overstating things is practically a requirement. # Fred O’Brien

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Court Cultural Clash Round 2: American Anti-Terrorism Act

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PROF. O’BRIEN:
The New York Times called it again — it’s a “huge victory” that will “strengthen Israel’s claim that the supposedly more moderate Palestinian forces were directly linked to terrorism.” The U.S. District Court located in Manhattan found the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestinian Authority liable for damages in terrorist attacks on American citizens who were in Israel between 2002 and 2004.

We get it . . . in this polarized world in which Rudy (Giuliani) wakes up enough to have the gall to be agnostic or “not know” whether President Barack Obama, the Commander-in-Chief, loves his country, and Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin doesn’t know if Obama is “a Christian” or not, we know one thing for sure — it’s complicated, and unintended consequences will abound.

The good/bad in this federal court’s territorially expansive ruling substantiating the Obama administration’s, the Democrats’, and the Republicans’ (i.e. Americans) support of the American Anti-Terrorism Act is that it gives all Americans (and their relatives) standing to sue if they are victims of international terrorism.

How is terrorism defined? First, it involves violent acts or “acts dangerous to human life” that are against American law. Second, terrorism is used to intimidate or coerce Americans or our government, or make the government alter its conduct. And third, these violent acts are generally outside the U.S.

Given how opposed the United States (Republicans and Democrats alike) has been to signing international treaties, many Americans (particularly law professors) suggest that we should tread lightly on transnational regulation, whether it affects the Internet or the environment, and particularly when it affects us as civilians, not just as civilians within the United States, and when the United States has to act to protect its national-security interests or its interests as a sovereign nation-state.

What this means is – if U.S. private citizens sue as victims of international terrorism, floodgates will open. Now I’m all for open gates. I’m participatory democracy that certainly includes using the courts. That said, how many citizens will these open gates accommodate?

In September 2014, a Brooklyn jury found Arab Bank ($46 billion in assets) liable for “knowingly supporting” terrorism by Hamas in the second Palestinian uprising. We don’t know the damages yet, or how much the 300 victims of 24 separate attacks will be paid, but a quick click onto Osen Law gives you a temperature read on what their litigators will be asking for, and it won’t be a small amount.

Is that good if you’re Zionist; bad if you’re PLO? Yes, for now. The real story, however, will be tracking how this nation-state and any American nationals will be using the American courts to sue foreign nations and foreign private enterprises like banks that don’t necessarily explicitly reflect our nation-state’s national security.

This is an equal-power tool for all citizens. It is a tool for everyone. So the big story is about jurisdiction — and jurisdiction is hard to wrap your head around or understand.

It is something I happen to dabbled in having grounded my last book in a spatial understandings of neotribalism internationally and of Obama’s grounding himself in the use of conservative means or methods for progressive purpose (such as the federalism underlying Obamacare and the bounceback he’s facing before the Supreme Court this June). Further, this has been one of my favorite topics to write about — due process and procedures since my dissertation turned into my first book.

In Workers’ Paradox: The Republican Origins of New Deal Labor Policy, I discovered it was Chief Justice William Howard Taft who not only liked being Mr. Jurisdiction (establish the rules and then gain the power) but relished backing the American Judiciary Act of 1925, which involves one more power-grabbing turn by increasing the federal courts’ discretion in deciding what issues to hear.

When it’s courts fighting nations, it’s all about lines, not identities — about standing (to sue), not sitting (being disengaged and discussing it in the U.N.).

An institution or a country gains power if it can 1) entice the sovereign nations who are battling into its own jurisdiction (think sinkable waters) and 2) sink the right ships in these dangerous waters at the right time.

Now, will this come back to bite the United States as a sovereign nation? Absolutely.

Will one of our frenemies as a nation-state establish moral superiority (e.g. universal jurisdiction that those pesky moralistic nation-states like Spain are adopting to gain the moral high ground against the United States)? Probably.

Do we have the moral authority as a nation to skip recognizing UN treaties such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child. I dunno. Do you?

What a power play in terms of clashing cultural courts on a global scale.

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EDITOR FRED*: Despite the entirely justified outcome, conservatives have reason to be uneasy about this case, because if the plaintiffs are allowed to seize the PA’s assets, there’s nothing stopping any other country from putting Uncle Sam on trial and seizing his assets (or Israel’s, for that matter). That’s if they bother with the formality of a trial at all.

It has been suggested that this verdict will make people overseas hate America even more than they already do. I’m not sure I can quite picture that:

***

“Hey, Abdul, let’s go sign up with the PLO. All the cool kids are joining.”

“I don’t know, Mohammed. I’m actually getting kind of ambivalent about the whole terrorism thing. Sometimes I think it just perpetuates the cycle of violence and makes a fair and equitable solution even harder to negotiate.”

“Wait a minute, dude — check out this case from the Southern District of New York. Raises serious jurisdictional issues, wouldn’t you say?”

“What!? Why, that’s a completely unjustified extension of the principle of extraterritoriality. I feel like strapping on a bunch of explosives and blowing up some tourists!”

***

The bad guys deservedly lost in this case, and of course they merit the most severe punishment possible. Still, the interests of maintaining America’s global position, and its need to follow international norms, must predominate, even when dealing with perps as abhorrent as these. It’s far from clear whether the plaintiffs will actually be able to recover anything, but enforcing a court order against the government of a sovereign nation — or even (as in this case) the quasi-government of a quasi-sovereign quasi-nation — could well be considered tantamount to war, and at the very least would invite reprisals. It would also undercut the United States’ case against submitting to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, or to courts in places like Belgium and Spain that claim “universal jurisdiction” over what they deem to be human-rights violations.

The trial had undeniably positive aspects. It established beyond a reasonable doubt that the PA and PLO are terrorist groups. And since, as the article notes, these organizations have settled two prior terrorism cases on confidential terms, the victims may get some relief after all. To be sure, courts should not be vehicles for making statements, and international relations are normally best conducted through diplomacy. But with something as extreme as terrorism, lawfare does have a role to play, and if the victims of these horrific acts can get a measure of both compensation and vindication, the trial can be considered a success.

*Frederic D. O’Brien’s views are entirely his own.  They  do not reflect The Graduate Center at the City University of New York or The City University of New York.

 

 

 

Posted in Blog-alysis, Cultural Court Clashes, Federal Courts (NY), Full Text Supreme Court Rulings, Open Gates, Roberts Court, Writing Politics | Comments Off

More Danish than Dutch

YingYangSymbolAfter a friendly tolerant discussion about different European nation-states at the in-house publishing dinner-time discussion, we’re making the following argument adjustment (i.e. developmental editing).  We deleted one sentence from last Friday’s blog deciding it’s more Danish than Dutch.

Stay tuned for “Potential Presidential Characters (e.g. Hillary vs. Jeb or Scott); and/or Clashing Court Rulings — as Fred and I continue to Yin & Yang on Mondays.

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Re-Educating Muslims, Nederlander (Dutch)-Style

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by Professor Ruth O’Brien & Frederic D. O’Brien (a.k.a. Fred Schwarz, Deputy Managing Editor, National Review)

Could you get more moralistic? Don’t forget the Golden Empire, or The Embarrassment of Riches, as Simon Schama called it in a culturally sensitive and astute book that captured the character and personality of the nation. Could you get more patronizing (the key word here is patron)?

Well the Dutch could. Those supposedly blond, blue-eyed stoop-sweepers have started a new magazine, DeMoslimkrant, which might be roughly translated as the demos or citizens’ newspaper. The name of this magazine indicates that it is doing no less than re-educating the Muslims about their own society, culture, and religion.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I got informally educated quite extensively in Holland, so much so that a few people in the nuclear family speak fluent Dutch. Still, although the Nederlanders are moralistic, they are also bound and determined to make things “right.” And by right, I mean the world (think globe-turning) for sure. Not only does it pay to look at Schama’s The Embarrassment of Riches, but also to take a second look at Spinoza’s excommunication, and where he was imprisoned by the Dutch.

But is a magazine-reading education ever so wrong? Well, of course that depends. As long as they are culturally sensitive, and even more importantly, as long as they are using education for real reasons (i.e. authentic), it should be all right.

Authentic education is to say not imposing the white, blond-blue-eyed’s own agenda, as patronizing behavior does. With this in mind, take a look at their columnists. Looks a lot more diverse than most American newspapers, no?

Authentic means that they cannot impose their agenda the way they did back in that good old golden 17th century. This means no state- or religious-sponsored merchants picking up spices, snatching tea, or stealing silk off any roads, mind you. Then, education — particularly public education, like The City University of New York — can be read up to 1 million strong.

Public education, particularly of the print kind, can only be a good thing. A thing, in other words, that could promote peace, tranquility through gender-free dignity (e.g. not neotribalism), and tolerance on our global colliding-social-spheres scale.

Prof. Ruth O’Brien

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Since neither one of us has seen a copy of this publication, I’m not sure how much scope for disagreement there is, but if De Moslimkrant is meant to help Muslims adapt to Dutch culture, it will take some doing. Just as Islam has many strict rules governing daily life, so do the secular but moralistic Dutch, and the social pressure to conform can be just as great.

A friend who has spent time in the Netherlands provides numerous examples of the nation’s libertine-busybody ethos, in which Christianity is mocked or forgotten, drugs are openly available, and gays are universally accepted, yet neighbors go to elaborate lengths to spy on each other. Strict yet unwritten social codes abound: In a koffiehuis, you eat a single piece of chocolate, no more, with each cup; entire neighborhoods take their summer vacation at the same time; the nation sits down to dinner at 6:30 pm sharp, and if you knock on someone’s door at that hour, you are assumed to be a moocher.

This makes for something of a potential culture clash with praying five times a day, fasting during Ramadan, and making the hajj to Mecca. As in any nation where two or more distinct cultures coexist, something’s got to give. The two may occupy separate sectors, as in Canada, Belgium, Switzerland, Northern Ireland, etc.; or they can mingle freely, with some merging of cultures and concomitant loss of cultural cohesion. The latter doesn’t seem very Dutch, but neither does the alternative of French-style banlieues.

But if the Dutch think they have a problem with people taking their religion too seriously, the solution is simple: Just adopt it as an established church, and — as in England or Norway — pretty soon everyone will ignore it.

Editor Frederic O’Brien

Posted in Intersectionality of Ideas, Neotribalism, Rainbow Refractions, The Vortex or Ideational ntersectionality, Thought Leaders + Thought Leadership | Comments Off

Reverse, Reverse Discrimination Re: Presidential-Religious Leaders’ Holidays?

YingYangSymbolMLKDay GeorgeWashington Abeby Professor Ruth O’Brien & Frederic D. O’Brien (a.k.a. Fred Schwarz, Deputy Managing Editor, National Review)

My, my. It is Presidents’ Day again. February is that kind of month—polarized, that is, and I’m not talking about needing goggles or glasses (ski or otherwise). Nor am I kvetching about the vacuousness of that truly silly civil holiday—Groundhog Day (Bill Murray made that one boring, no?). Nor am I making any oblique 1970s or ’80s references about ice storms or polar climates in our polarized or bipolar world. Rather, I’m comparing apples to oranges, or religious-rights leaders to presidents, and it does seem that the former (surprise, surprise) comes up short in the recognition department.

On one hand, George and Abe get to merge and create a faceless yet stronger four-day weekend. On the other hand, Martin Luther King gets short-shrifted.

To be sure, MLK gets mean name recognition and a catchy acronym. Yet not only was this holiday not enjoyed in all states (such as Arizona) for many years, and not only is the holiday merged in several southern states with one for Robert E. Lee (born January 19), but even in states that embrace it completely, it depends on your workplace whether you will get the day off.

What I know is that MLK, as a stand-alone in mid-January, is short-shrifted, given that we have had 40-plus white male presidents and only one prominent religious-rights leader, even though we’re supposedly a predominantly Christian state?*

Is this reverse discrimination? Or is it reverse-reverse discrimination if you were part of the religious police? (I’m thinking of the Hobby Lobby Roberts Court here.)

I can’t imagine what this Court would say, but I can imagine what the Log Cabin Republicans might say about all these twists and reverses. But then again, would I want to be at either president’s or religious rights leader’s parties on any Friday or Monday?

by Professor Ruth O’Brien

*In-house development editors found a small logical leap.  Find it if you can. 

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Well, it’s difficult to quantify whose shrift is shorter, but remember that Presidents’ Day is shared by two men, whereas King gets a day all to himself (except in those few Southern states Ruth mentioned that bring in Lee, thus borrowing the civilian civil-rights hero–plus–slaveowing general template from Presidents’ Day). In fact, if you consider Presidents’ Day to be a day for all presidents, then Washington and Lincoln have to share their glory with 41 others, most of whom are distinctly low-rent in comparison.

Moreover, George and Abe have long since been conscripted as pitchmen for holiday sales at appliance dealers, whereas the respect accorded King because of his inherent dignity (and his heirs’ zealous guarding of his personality rights) has kept him in the public mind as a hero instead of a kitschy figure.

But perhaps the biggest factor working against King’s holiday is the timing. It falls in the fallow period after the Christmas/Kwanzaa/New Year’s bacchanalia, leading to a general attitude of “What, another holiday?” Not to mention the weather—which is just as bad for Presidents’ Day, to be sure. Perhaps the solution is to celebrate important winter birthdays on an arbitrary day in summer, as the British do with Queen Elizabeth.

There’s a case in favor of restricting birthday holidays to presidents and Revolutionary figures, to keep them from multiplying too greatly. Yet even if you accept this, the unique status of slavery and its aftermath in American history would argue in favor of making an exception for King. Washington, Lincoln, and King all risked (and two of them lost) their lives to create and preserve freedom for Americans. But comparisons are futile; their lives and achievements speak for themselves, far above our poor power to add or detract with ski holidays and blockbuster weekend sales events.

by
Frederic O’Brien​ (a.k.a Fred Schwarz, Deputy Managing Editor, National Review)

Posted in Plutocrat Power Plays, Running Republicans | Comments Off

Can Jon Be Replaced?

YingYangSymbolDunno.  Even though Jon Stewart is leaving the Daily Show because, as he explains it, he is “slightly restless” — this does not resonate in any authentic way with me.

And even if it is true (or should I say also true, and truth is different than authenticity anyway), I’d still have to protest.  This is simply so not Jon.

Besides, your idea of being even slightly restless, Jon, is so much less than what we all need in this era of infinite silencing.  Put differently, I’d say, Jon, this is infinitely definitely not so!  (triple negative with spatial visual metaphor intended)

Put differently, or put bodily, I’d scratch my head and have to say Huh?

Or put mindfully, I’d say I’m visualizing Buddha with her back turned, shrugging.  And hopefully all Buddhas won’t be pushed into any vortex or black holes.

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Candid Interview with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg

Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 10.51.10 AMWatch this fascinating interview in which Cornell University’s Arts & Sciences Dean Gretchen Ritter and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg discuss her role in breaking down gender lines, the two worst cases that she dissented in (i.e. Citizens United and Shelby v. Holder, and how she’s heralded for her dissents as Notorious RBG.

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“Cautionary Comments” about Eugenics, Daniel Kevles, Stanley Woodward History Professor at Yale (Featured Hyperlink)

 

daniel_kevles-260x275Click here to see a short, informative, elegantly written piece entitled “Cautionary Comments” about eugenics by Dr. Daniel Kevles, who is the Stanley Woodward Professor of History at Yale University and a Senior Research Scholar at Yale Law School.  

 

As Professor Kevles would say “the past is the present in the contemporary Public Square.”

 

The Asia/Pacific/American Institute at New York University is currently holding an eugenics exhibit.

 

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Back to Books!

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Full Text Obama’s Anti-ISIL & Anti-ISIS Speech Promoting U.S. as Global Leader

Out of Many, One: Obama and the Third American Political TraditionRemarks of President Barack Obama

Address to the Nation

September 10, 2014

Washington, D.C.

As Prepared for Delivery* [e.g. liability waiver in case he misread or misspoke, giving anyone from GOP “right” to take his words out of context.]**

**[Highlighted to annotate, though this reflects my view of consistency of Obama’s M.O. as World Leader in Chapter 5 of Out of Many, One: Obama and the 3rd American Political Tradition.]

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Obama’s words:

“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.”

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.” # 

Posted in 2014, 2014 Broad Coalition Full Text, Full Text Anti ISIL & ISIS Speech Sep 10, ISIS & ISIL not Islamic, Obama & Congress (all but Obamacare & Foreign Policy), Obama & Foreign Policy, Obama Sep 10 | Comments Off