Barack Obama gave a prime time speech in the middle of the last week that was supposed to justify his taking military action in Iraq and Syria against the self-styled Islamic State.
After listening to his speech, I was still unsure exactly what he was trying to explain, so I printed out the transcript, and went sentence by sentence through it, desperately trying to find some of the ephemeral coherence that I would have expected. War is, after all, a pretty serious business, and it should be justified. Of course it should be completely justified to the world community, but even more importantly to the families of those men and women who are going to be put in harm’s way.
After two paragraphs telling the entire planet what a great job he’s done protecting the citizens of this country (at least from Islamic fanatics who have not been indoctrinated domestically), he finally begins the justification for going to war.
And he starts with telling us that ISIS, or the Islamic State, is not Islamic. How can any educated adult say such a thing without gagging?
ISIS is based on the Sunni variant of Islamic theology, and so they feel fully justified in killing any, ANY, non-Sunni as either an apostate, a heretic or an infidel (e.g., Hindus, Christians, Jews or members of minor religious groups, atheists, animists, and on and on). Of course the Shia variant believes they have the same right to kill nearly anyone. ISIS might appear to be unique, but only when you grade on a curve.
Second, although there are innumerable Koranic verses that extol peace, love and amity (all those warm, fuzzy ideas that liberals love to use to convince those who would doubt that Islam is essentially a religion of peace), there are also an equal number of Koranic verses that, in essence, say that a good Muslim will kill, maim, crucify, butcher, behead, mutilate and dismember any man, woman or child that are not devout Muslims in exactly the same variant (i.e., Sunni versus Shia) as the person making the judgment as to whether or not they are in compliance with the beliefs and traditions of Islam. Think Judge-Jury-Executioner.
Of course a similar situation occurs in almost every religious tradition. There are countless examples within the Judeo-Christian Bible that could have been created by the same people that wrote the Koran. By selective editing, Jews, Christians and Muslims can all PROVE that doing what they already want to do is found somewhere in the foundational texts of their religions.
So let’s just forget about Obama’s claim that “No religion condones the killing of innocents” or his inference that if you kill any co-religionist, they must be innocent. Every religion endorses killing, and they decide for themselves who is or is not innocent. No one, ever in the history of the planet, has called on the head of a non-allied state/tribe/clan/political party to ask if the next person in their sights is an “innocent” and if it’s OK to butcher them.
Looking at the transcript of Obama’s speech reveals more of these expositions of his ignorance, his biases, and his lack of understanding. Or his willingness to lie by omission. He rarely outright lies the first time around. Only when he gets caught does he come out with the bald-faced whoppers. But he often lies by omission, by leaving out something that is critical to the actual meaning of what he is saying. For instance when he says he wants America to be energy independent, what he says is absolutely true.
However, what he says isn’t always complete. It often lacks context. The ordinary person hears “energy independent” and thinks he’s talking about drilling for oil domestically. That’s because he fails to inform his listeners that what he means is that we will no longer be buying oil from abroad because we will be able to replace it by a new, magical energy source when he harnesses herds of wild unicorns to run on treadmills that generate electricity. Just a minor difference right? Merely a nuance.
Well, his proposed military action in the middle east leaves a lot out of his narrative. Since we’ve seen two of his election campaigns, the similarities of lying by omission are fairly apparent, so perhaps we should call this conflict against ISIS the HOPEY-CHANGEY WAR.
For example, nowhere in his speech does Obama describe his goal. He says:
“Our objective is clear: We will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy.”
He continues with “…we will conduct a systematic campaign of airstrikes against these terrorists…” Sounds really, really good, Barry. Just one question though. Exactly where are these deadly airstrikes going to come from? Turkey would have been ideally situated, but they killed that idea the day after your speech. Are you going to fly every single needed strike from aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf? Where these strikes will come from is a rather glaring omission, don’t you think?
Another statement the nearly screams its omission of relevant context is this one from his speech:
“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.”
Again, Mr. President, you say you’re going to redouble your efforts? Assuming it’s possible to redouble our efforts, improve our intelligence and so on, why hasn’t it been done already? Did you only find out about the current dangers in the Middle East when you saw it in your magic crystal golf ball?
The President also claimed that “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.” Just who are these allies and what sort of planes are they flying with us over Iraq? Combat aircraft, or merely transport aircraft to deliver these billions of dollars in aid?
How about giving the American people, who will be ultimately sacrificing blood and treasure for this misadventure some real evidence that we (A) have allies and (B) who those allies are and (C) just what they are contributing. Or would that interfere too much with your golf game? I hate to say this, Mr. President, but saying “Just trust me” to the American people is no longer an option for you.
I also noticed that the President skipped over things like what Rules of Engagement will be applied to our troops that might be involved in Iraq and Syria. Let’s assume that he’s comfortable with the same ones that he imposed in Afghanistan, such as our troops are not to risk harming non-combatants by withholding fire against combatants who are using those non-combatants as human shields.
You know, like women and children. Got the picture?
I find it ironic that Obama has often ordered the killing of enemy combatants in Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia without a care in the world for collateral damage. He makes the decision to strike at a particular target while sitting safely on his rear-end in the air-conditioning of the Situation Room, nibbling on a snack of cold lobster because he missed lunch and then says to his staff “OK, kill ‘em”. At the same time that he takes a rather cavalier attitude toward death of nearby non-combatants, he denies the opportunity of the men and women he supposedly leads to protect themselves from attack by vicious and conscienceless barbarians. And by the way, none of them are snacking on anything beyond MREs, they have no air-conditioning and people are actually trying to kill them. But they being effectively told that their lives are not as important as those being used as human shields.
Based on that speech, Mr. Obama, you have failed to fulfill your mission. You have failed miserably to justify putting Americans in harm’s way, and have failed to explain in any rational terms why this military action, even without “boots on the ground” is justified.
Why don’t you try again to sell your Hopey-Changey War, sir?