Obama address both calms and stokes terrorism fear
During a rare Oval Office address Sunday evening, President Obama sought not to offer any new proposals or prescriptions to address terrorist threats, but, rather, to reassure Americans — including, perhaps, a number of Democratic lawmakers who have been bucking the administration’s line — that he takes these threats seriously. It marked a reversal from his more cavalier comments about comparing the Islamic State to “a JV team” last year and boasting last month that ISIS was “contained” just one day before the Paris attacks.
Mr. Obama outlined strategies and policies that the government is already pursuing, such as waging a targeted military campaign, training and equipping groups fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria, using intelligence to try to disrupt plots and cut off financing and pursuing a resolution to the civil war in Syria, which the administration believes would allow all parties involved to focus on the threat of ISIS.
He also used the occasion to trot out more gun control measures that would violate law-abiding citizens’ rights without doing anything to prevent mass shootings, terrorist-related or otherwise.
President Obama is to be commended, however, for seeking justice for those who do us harm or try to do harm without getting involved in yet another costly, protracted and ultimately counterproductive ground war in the Middle East. This, the president noted, would only play into ISIS’ hands, for they “know that if we occupy foreign lands, they can maintain insurgencies for years, killing thousands of our troops, draining our resources and using our presence to draw new recruits.”
Those who thirst for more war dangerously discount the blowback such a strategy generates, ensuring a never-ending escalation of violence.
“The threat from terrorism is real, but we will overcome it,” the president asserted. “We will destroy ISIL and any other organization that tries to harm us. Our success won’t depend on tough talk, or abandoning our values, or giving in to fear.”
Yet, so many of his foreign and domestic policies and those of his predecessor, George W. Bush, have been facilitated by fear mongering, and have led to the abandonment of our cherished rights of privacy, freedom from illegal search and seizure, due process of law and gun ownership for self-defense.
“Let’s not forget that freedom is more powerful than fear,” President Obama said. Now, if only the president would practice what he preaches.
Reprinted from the Orange County Register
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