On the eve of the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, President Obama gave a primetime speech about the growing ISIS terrorist threat and his plan to address it. The speech, predictably, left Americans scratching their heads at several points, unsure what kind of alternate reality our President is living in.
1. “ISIL is not ‘Islamic.’ No religion condones the killing of innocents.” Since this day, 13 years ago, America began fighting a war against radical Islam. Radical Islam does not represent all of Islam, but it is Islamic. Denying that fact impairs our ability to understand our enemy, and making pronouncements such as this does not engender more positive feelings towards America by Muslims worldwide. Immediately after taking office President Obama gave a now famous speech in Cairo, which the White House deemed a “new beginning.” The year before taking office, Pew conducted its annual survey to gauge worldwide impressions of America abroad. In 2008, favorable ratings for America for those living in Egypt, Pakistan, Jordan, and Turkey were 22 percent, 19 percent, 19 percent and 12 percent respectively. In the most recent poll, the citizens of those same countries viewed America favorably 10 percent, 14 percent, 12 percent and 19 percent respectively.
2. “In a region that has known so much bloodshed, these terrorists are unique in their brutality. They execute captured prisoners.” This quote must have been particularly hurtful to the families of Americans, including Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who have been executed by radical Islamists long before ISIS. The threat that ISIS poses is not unique, nor is it new.
3. “In each of these four parts of our strategy, America will be joined by a broad coalition of partners. I have the authority to address the threat from ISIL.” For anyone who has paid attention to the President’s remarks about the War in Iraq that former President George W. Bush conducted, this is especially tone deaf. BuzzFeed reports, “John Yoo, a former Bush administration lawyer and one of the primary architects of the ‘strong executive’ theory of presidential power, told BuzzFeed News, ‘Obama has adopted the same view of war powers as the Bush administration.'”
4. “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.” For Americans still waiting for “Recovery Summer,” this would almost be laughable if it wasn’t so chilling that the President is this out of touch with the everyday lives of citizens.
5. 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. This is just false. The Washington Post reported in June, “International weapons inspectors have issued preliminary findings that chlorine gas was used in a “systematic manner” in Syria this year, long after the government of President Bashar al-Assad pledged to give up other toxic weapons such as sarin.”