Do we even need an introduction? Let’s just get to the point.
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.
Finally, a strategy. Yay! When you keep calling it a “group,” it makes them still sound like a J.V. team. Try an army. Recent CIA assessment says Isis can muster between 20,000 and 31,500 fighters. Double if not triple the amount previously thought. Would you called that “Bad I.N.T.E.L.L.I.G.E.N.C.E.”?
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.
Mr. Commander-in-Chief… If America is safer, why are we sending 475 “advisors” back to Iraq? Either ISIL is a threat to America and the region, or it isn’t. But somehow you have managed to contradict yourself several times in the same statement! If you want to convince me that America is safer now than when Saddam Hussein was in power, I ain’t buyin’ what you’re sellin’.
Still, we continue to face a terrorist threat. We can’t 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. And 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.”
Wrong again. We already established that ISIL is NOT a small group that came out of nowhere to exploit sectarian violence for their own small gain. It is the Islamic State, the new Umma, which has announced a new Caliphate, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. This is important because as vicious and as reactionary as the group might seem, they’re not idiots. They know about Sykes Picot, they know about Kermit Roosevelt Jr., and they know their history. In a Ron Burgundy voice: I don’t know how to put this but… the first Caliphate in 100 years is kind of a big deal.
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 by 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.
Oh what a surprise, the President is wrong again. The Islamic state is very Islamic. Even if you think that all religion is cow dung, you need to realize that Islam trumps all other religions in the amount of violence it has practiced since the Muslim Conquests began under the Prophet Muhammed. If you don’t want to hear it from me, maybe Bill Mahr can explain it better.
It is disingenuous and outright naive trying to convince the world that the Islamic State isn’t indeed a state by any political scientist’s definitions, mainly because the idea of a caliphate is beyond such said definitions. But regardless, they have territory, they certainly have monopoly on violence, so they can still be considered a state just like Somalia is considered a state.
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. And in acts of barbarism, they took the lives of two American journalists — Jim Foley and Steven Sotloff.
This statement should read: In a region that has known so much bloodshed, these terrorists aren’t all that unique in their brutality. I mean seriously? Anyone with half a brain who skimmed any history book knows that times of war have trumped times of peace in our civilization. Killing isn’t wrong depending on the method used. Killing is wrong because a person’s life is their property and no one has the right to take another person’s life. Besides, maybe Jim Foley’s family could have indeed paid his ransom, but your administration would have prosecuted them! But I forgot, our policy is to only negotiate with terrorist to score political points when approval rates are low.
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.
Again it’s the same narrative just like previous administrations. Because that’s just how government does things. You know, instead of asking why things are the way they are, why are these people flocking to fight side by side with the Islamic State, we just decide to bomb our problems away. It’s kind of like overmedicating people with mental health problems, then get surprised by school shootings.
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’ve 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 also helped save the lives of thousands of innocent men, women and children.
We’ve been in a state of perpetual warfare with no end in sight regardless of how many claims you make about bringing our troops home. As I’ve heard it said: “War becomes perpetual when it is used as a rationale for peace.” Oh, which brings me to my next point. You speak of Iraqi and Kurdish forces working together to reclaim key territory, but have you thought about what happens when the Islamic State is gone? If it ever goes away? Are Iraq, Syria, Russia, Turkey, Iran, and Armenia okay with the creation of a Kurdistan? Surely the Kurds are fighting for their own self-interest just as we are, are they not? I wonder just how many of those civilian lives you claim to have saved will die as a result of sectarian violence when the Islamic State is gone.
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. And 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.
This one reminds me of a meme I’ve seen of Paul Krugman which reads: “If at first you don’t succeed, you need more stimulus.” In this case it should read: If at first you don’t succeed, you need more government. You really think Americans are naive enough to think that just because Iraq has a new government in place that everything will be okay? You have got to understand the Middle East before you engage with its people, Mr. President. Government or not, people live their lives and find ways to adapt and survive.
The rest of the op-ed can be read here .