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Insults and Refutations

Last night, President Obama broke from his busy schedule of raising money for his library and addressed the nation.  We were blessed to hear his pronouncements on the attack in San Bernardino, and his thoughts on how this came about and what we can do to prevent a re-occurance.

As always, my comments are in bold italics.

__________________

Good evening. On Wednesday, 14 Americans were killed as they came together to celebrate the holidays. They were taken from family and friends who loved them deeply. They were white and black; Latino and Asian; immigrants and American-born; moms and dads; daughters and sons. Each of them served their fellow citizens and all of them were part of our American family.

Tonight, I want to talk with you about this tragedy, the broader threat of terrorism, and how we can keep our country safe.  Mister President, I truly, and I’m being serious here, am glad that you finally want to talk about terrorism.  It would have been nice to hear about it after Benghazi, or maybe Boston, but I’ll take what I can get.

The FBI is still gathering the facts about what happened in San Bernardino, but here is what we know. The victims were brutally murdered and injured by one of their coworkers and his wife. (Yep, a coworker they had accepted, accommodated, and thrown a baby shower for.)  So far, we have no evidence that the killers were directed by a terrorist organization overseas, or that they were part of a broader conspiracy here at home. (I’m not much of an intelligence analyst anymore, but I’d be willing to use words like ‘probably’ or ‘likely’ when describing whether or not one or both of them got some indoctrination somewhere.) But it is clear that the two of them had gone down the dark path of radicalization, embracing a perverted interpretation of Islam (For certain values of perverted) that calls for war against America and the West. They had stockpiled assault weapons, ammunition, and pipe bombs. (Other than the pipe bombs, it wasn’t that much of a stockpile.  Just saying.) So this was an act of terrorism, designed to kill innocent people.  Thanks for not blaming the victims.  Coming from you, sir, that means a lot to me.

Our nation has been at war with terrorists since al Qaeda killed nearly 3,000 Americans on 9/11. (Our nation has been at war with Islamic terrorists since at least the 1970’s.  It just took 9/11 to get you to notice.  But, please, keep going.) In the process, we’ve hardened our defenses — from airports to financial centers, to other critical infrastructure. Intelligence and law enforcement agencies have disrupted countless plots here and overseas, and worked around the clock to keep us safe. Our military and counterterrorism professionals have relentlessly pursued terrorist networks overseas — disrupting safe havens in several different countries, killing Osama bin Laden, and decimating al Qaeda’s leadership. Good to know.  How much of that, other than you being led into the situation room to watch bin Laden get Excedrin Headache Number 5.56, happened during your administration?

Over the last few years, however, the terrorist threat has evolved into a new phase. (I call it the “Obama Era”.)  As we’ve become better at preventing complex, multifaceted attacks like 9/11, terrorists turned to less complicated acts of violence like the mass shootings that are all too common in our society. (So, even the terrorists are having to turn to McJobs during your administration to make ends meet?) It is this type of attack that we saw at Fort Hood in 2009, (Which you denied was terrorism for over half a decade) in Chattanooga earlier this year, and now in San Bernardino. And as groups like ISIL (Daesh for the adults out there) grew stronger amidst the chaos of war in Iraq (Chaos?  I wasn’t aware of much chaos in Iraq in January 2009?  I mean, it wasn’t exactly a nice neighborhood, but I didn’t see much chaos on the news.) and then Syria, and as the Internet erases the distance between countries, we see growing efforts by terrorists to poison the minds of people like the Boston Marathon bombers and the San Bernardino killers.

For seven years, I’ve confronted this evolving threat each morning in my intelligence briefing. (And just how many of those have you been late for, cancelled, or changed the subject?)  And since the day I took this office, I’ve authorized U.S. forces to take out terrorists abroad precisely because I know how real the danger is. As Commander-in-Chief (Your ideological forebears preferred Generalissimo), I have no greater responsibility than the security of the American people. As a father to two young daughters who are the most precious part of my life, I know that we see ourselves with friends and coworkers at a holiday party like the one in San Bernardino. (Except that when you and Mrs. Obama go to a party, you’re surrounded by armed men sworn to keep you alive until after the next inauguration.  Those of us in the unwashed masses are pretty much on our own.) I know we see our kids in the faces of the young people killed in Paris. (Which time?  The time you sent John Kerry and James Taylor to tell an ally that they’ve got a friend?) And I know that after so much war, many Americans are asking whether we are confronted by a cancer that has no immediate cure.  Careful, but thorough, excision might help.

Well, here’s what I want you to know: The threat from terrorism is real, but we will overcome it. We will destroy ISIL and any other organization that tries to harm us. (How?  Sit-ins?  Maybe a nice hashtag?) Our success won’t depend on tough talk, or abandoning our values, or giving into fear. That’s what groups like ISIL are hoping for. Instead, we will prevail by being strong and smart, resilient and relentless, and by drawing upon every aspect of American power. (My gut tells me that you’re not referencing the Marine Corps here.)

Here’s how. First, our military will continue to hunt down terrorist plotters in any country where it is necessary. In Iraq and Syria, airstrikes are taking out ISIL leaders, heavy weapons, oil tankers, infrastructure. And since the attacks in Paris, our closest allies — including France, Germany, and the United Kingdom — have ramped up their contributions to our military campaign, which will help us accelerate our effort to destroy ISIL.  And let’s not forget Uncle Joe, I mean Mr. Putin, who has just been a grand help in getting Syria wrapped up in a nice little bow for the Assad regime, now hasn’t he?  Also, can you point out to me where any of this is worth a half-bucket of warm, American piss?

Second, we will continue to provide training and equipment to tens of thousands of Iraqi and Syrian forces fighting ISIL on the ground so that we take away their safe havens. (Yep, that’s worked so well in Afghanistan and Iraq in the past.  Heck, how many millions of dollars per man have we spent to train Syrians so that they can have new guns and trucks to hand over to Daesh when we let them loose?) In both countries, we’re deploying Special Operations Forces who can accelerate that offensive. We’ve stepped up this effort since the attacks in Paris, and we’ll continue to invest more in approaches that are working on the ground. Mr. President?  Can you elaborate on what you mean by “working on the ground”?  Because, from where I’m sitting, there isn’t much that’s working on the ground except air dropping a metric shit ton of stuff to the Kurds and telling them they can keep what they kill.

Third, we’re working with friends and allies to stop ISIL’s operations — to disrupt plots, cut off their financing, and prevent them from recruiting more fighters. (Does that include Turkey?  Because I’d love to hear what we’re doing about our erstwhile ally buying oil from Syria and selling it on the global market.) Since the attacks in Paris, we’ve surged intelligence-sharing with our European allies. (I’m sure they’re thrilled.  ‘Well, we won’t talk with the icky people who do bad things anymore, but here are some nice pictures of what might be a village, but then again might be a supply dump and command center.’) We’re working with Turkey to seal its border with Syria. (And yet, we aren’t willing to do the same with our own.  Odd, that.) And we are cooperating with Muslim-majority countries — and with our Muslim communities here at home — to counter the vicious ideology that ISIL promotes online.  Are we working with them to take responsibility for the flood of Muslim refugees that are threatening to drown Europe and that you promise to vet using the same system that you used to check out the female piece of crap that murdered the people who gave her diapers and a crib?

Fourth, with American leadership, the international community has begun to establish a process — and timeline — to pursue ceasefires and a political resolution to the Syrian war. (Look, Mister President, I will show you how to turn the map of Syria a little bit and it looks a lot like Bosnia!  Isn’t that fascinating?  I’m told that if you squint your eyes a little bit, it looks like Spain in 1935!) Doing so will allow the Syrian people and every country, including our allies, but also countries like Russia, to focus on the common goal of destroying ISIL — a group that threatens us all.  Assuming that Russia wants to do anything other than prop up their buddy in Damascus, of course.

This is our strategy to destroy ISIL. It is designed and supported by our military commanders and counterterrorism experts, together with 65 countries that have joined an American-led coalition. (Oh, sweet, warfare by international committee! Have they finished the important decision-making process as to what height the water glasses must be on the table, and whether or not we’ll use a NATO standard corkscrew?) And we constantly examine our strategy to determine when additional steps are needed to get the job done. That’s why I’ve ordered the Departments of State and Homeland Security to review the visa program under which the female terrorist in San Bernardino originally came to this country. (They’re calling it “Operation Barndoor”) And that’s why I will urge high-tech and law enforcement leaders to make it harder for terrorists to use technology to escape from justice.  I’m pretty sure that the best way to bring terrorists to justice uses existing technology involving brass, lead, copper, and steel.  Preventing the formation of new terrorists usually comes from forceful, confident, and frequent demonstration of their use.

Now, here at home, we have to work together to address the challenge. There are several steps that Congress should take right away.

To begin with, Congress should act to make sure no one on a no-fly list is able to buy a gun. (Wow, that took a turn.  Weren’t we talking about defeating an enemy?  Oh, that’s right, most politicians in your party see people like me as the enemy.  Carry on.) What could possibly be the argument for allowing a terrorist suspect to buy a semi-automatic weapon? This is a matter of national security. What could possibly be the harm of letting a God-given right to be infringed upon based on the denunciation of a law-abiding citizen, and them being placed on a secret list?  I mean, it’s not like we haven’t had aging Senators, little children, and a whole bunch of people who can’t even spell “Muslim extremist” or “Islamic terrorism apologist” or “Fascist wanna-be” on these lists, have we?  I mean, what do you think this is, a free country with due process of law?

We also need to make it harder for people to buy powerful assault weapons like the ones that were used in San Bernardino. (Powerful?  Shit, come on down to Knob Creek one weekend and I’ll show you powerful.  Ever had your shoulder and neck adjusted by an 85 year old rifle?) I know there are some who reject any gun safety measures. (I’m not one of those.  Keep the weapon pointed in a safe direction.  Keep your booger hook off the bang switch.  I’m all for those kinds of things.) But the fact is that our intelligence and law enforcement agencies — no matter how effective they are — cannot identify every would-be mass shooter, whether that individual is motivated by ISIL or some other hateful ideology. What we can do — and must do — is make it harder for them to kill.  Yes, by shooting them in the face.  Repeatedly.  Preferably using the most effective tool available and early in the process.  Then putting their carcass in a cage and letting it swing in front of their home or place of worship until the bandicoots make off with fragments of their bones.

Next, we should put in place stronger screening for those who come to America without a visa so that we can take a hard look at whether they’ve traveled to warzones. (How about we just start with “Sorry, we’ve got enough useless bastards who want to pull this country down and dance around its carcass.  Piss off.” and work our way up from there?)  And we’re working with members of both parties in Congress to do exactly that.

Finally, if Congress believes, as I do, that we are at war with ISIL, it should go ahead and vote to authorize the continued use of military force against these terrorists. For over a year, I have ordered our military to take thousands of airstrikes against ISIL targets. I think it’s time for Congress to vote to demonstrate that the American people are united, and committed, to this fight.  (Cough, cough, War Powers Act, illegal deployment and use of military force, cough, no explanation to the American people as to why any involvement is in our nation’s interest, cough)

My fellow Americans, these are the steps that we can take together to defeat the terrorist threat. Let me now say a word about what we should not do.

We should not be drawn once more into a long and costly ground war in Iraq or Syria. (Because bombing them back into the stone age will do it, especially given the high percentage of sorties that return to base with ordnance still bolted to the airframe) That’s what groups like ISIL want. They know they can’t defeat us on the battlefield. ISIL fighters were part of the insurgency that we faced in Iraq. But they also 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.  I dunno, if you’d read your Polybius, you’d know an effective way to make sure a prostrate enemy never rises to threaten you again. At least that way you wouldn’t continue to fade into obscurity.

The strategy that we are using now — airstrikes, Special Forces, and working with local forces who are fighting to regain control of their own country (Why mess with success, I always say) — that is how we’ll achieve a more sustainable victory. And it won’t require us sending a new generation of Americans overseas to fight and die for another decade on foreign soil.  Nope, we’ll just sit back and wait for the fight to come to us.  Disarmed.  Brilliant!

Here’s what else we cannot do. We cannot turn against one another by letting this fight be defined as a war between America and Islam. (Funny, that’s how the guys with the funny beards are defining it.) That, too, is what groups like ISIL want. ISIL does not speak for Islam. (So, who does, and why aren’t they doing something about this problem?)They are thugs and killers, (And being a Chicago politician, you know thugs and killers when you see them, don’t you?) part of a cult of death, and they account for a tiny fraction of more than a billion Muslims around the world — including millions of patriotic Muslim Americans who reject their hateful ideology. (Again, where are they and why aren’t they doing something.  You know, like those brave Japanese-Americans who bled for this country in World War II?  Where are the battalions of loyal American Muslims joining the armed forces or the FBI to protect America from those who soil the reputation of Islam?  Where is the “Million Muslim March” where a respected imam stands on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to denounce Islamic terrorism?) Moreover, the vast majority of terrorist victims around the world are Muslim. If we’re to succeed in defeating terrorism we must enlist Muslim communities as some of our strongest allies, rather than push them away through suspicion and hate.  It’s been almost a decade and a half and I’m still waiting for them to do something other than write a check to CAIR.

That does not mean denying the fact that an extremist ideology has spread within some (for certain values of ‘some’)Muslim communities. This is a real problem that Muslims must confront, without excuse. Muslim leaders here and around the globe have to continue working with us to decisively and unequivocally reject the hateful ideology that groups like ISIL and al Qaeda promote; to speak out against not just acts of violence, but also those interpretations of Islam that are incompatible with the values of religious tolerance, mutual respect, and human dignity.  (I’ll pause here to listen to the sweet sound of crickets coming from the Dar al Islam)

But just as it is the responsibility of Muslims around the world to root out misguided ideas that lead to radicalization, it is the responsibility of all Americans — of every faith — to reject discrimination. (I don’t discriminate.  It matters not to me who is trying to shoot Americans in the face, so long as we do unto them before they do unto us.  Then again, you can’t scream that we’re not looking suspiciously at Norwegian Lutherans when they’re not the ones shooting up Christmas parties.  Seriously, we just bring along the krumkake and rosettes, not the pipe bombs and tactical vests) It is our responsibility to reject religious tests on who we admit into this country. (As long as they’re Muslim, of course. We already have enough Christians and Yazidis.  Oh, and former translators to our forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.)  It’s our responsibility to reject proposals that Muslim Americans should somehow be treated differently. Because when we travel down that road, we lose. That kind of divisiveness, that betrayal of our values plays into the hands of groups like ISIL. Muslim Americans are our friends and our neighbors, our co-workers, our sports heroes — and, yes, they are our men and women in uniform who are willing to die in defense of our country. We have to remember that.  I’ll remember that.  Why don’t you try to remember that it’s not profiling if your criteria correctly point out the group that’s most likely to walk into a grocery store and blow the produce section sky high.  When Francophone Catholics blow up a marathon, I’ll suggest keeping a close watch on them, too.

My fellow Americans, I am confident we will succeed in this mission because we are on the right side of history. (You’d know that if you’d studied it at Columbia and Harvard, like he did.) We were founded upon a belief in human dignity — that no matter who you are, or where you come from, or what you look like, or what religion you practice, you are equal in the eyes of God and equal in the eyes of the law. And some animals are more equal than others.  Us proles need to give up our icky, scary guns while you’re surrounded by people who get to carry guns while they try to score hookers and blow on Presidential junkets.

Even in this political season, even as we properly debate what steps I and future Presidents must take to keep our country safe, let’s make sure we never forget what makes us exceptional. Let’s not forget that freedom is more powerful than fear; that we have always met challenges — whether war or depression, natural disasters or terrorist attacks — by coming together around our common ideals as one nation, as one people. (So long as it’s the right people coming together with you, like the ones who are willing to surrender their rights.  Otherwise, you’ll unleash the hounds upon us.) So long as we stay true to that tradition, I have no doubt America will prevail.

I prefer the tradition of the “big stick” mentality.  Since you studied history at Columbia and Harvard, I’ll explain, and I’ll try to use small words – We want to be left alone and leave the rest of the world alone.  You raise a hand to the United States, and we’ll blow off your arm.  You kill one of our children, and we make sure your bloodline disappears.  You bomb one of our harbors, and you get to tour the smouldering remains of every large urban center in your country. You start a war with us and we will make a desert and call it peace.

If you’re starting a new tradition of “Lay back and think of Jimmy Carter,” count me out.

Thank you. God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America. And the same to you, Mr. President. I mean that.

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3 Comments

  1. Great fisking… Mine was a lot shorter… F you and I loaded more mags… sigh

  2. Phssthpok

     /  December 10, 2015

    The post title immediately made me think of the song ‘Blows and Unkind Words’ by The Rumjacks : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8FvQMJzudg

    (Fair warning: there’s one or two instances of a naughty word in the song, but it’s not blatant)

  3. JFM

     /  December 11, 2015

    I’ve often thought that our foreign policy should boil down to, “We’re America fuck with us and we’ll come to your country and break it. Then go home.”

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