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Old 05-21-2009, 09:14 AM  
Donger Donger is offline
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President Obama: U.S. 'went off course' fighting terror

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0509/22804.html

President Barack Obama declared defiantly Thursday that the U.S. "went off course" in fighting terrorism over the past eight years, and said his policies will "better protect" the country against al Qaeda.

In a major address at the National Archives, Obama argued that waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods "did not advance our war and counter-terrorism efforts – they undermined them."

The president added that the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay is an inherited "mess" that "has weakened American national security" by providing a rallying cry for enemies.

Seeking to defuse one of Republican's most potent arguments, the president added: "Let me begin by disposing of one argument as plainly as I can: we are not going to release anyone if it would endanger our national security, nor will we release detainees within the United States who endanger the American people."

"Decisions that were made over the last eight years established an ad hoc legal approach for fighting terrorism that was neither effective nor sustainable – a framework that failed to rely on our legal traditions and time-tested institutions; that failed to use our values as a compass," Obama said. "And that is why I took several steps upon taking office to better protect the American people."

In a stark warning, he said: "We know that al Qaeda is actively planning to attack us again. We know that this threat will be with us for a long time, and that we must use all elements of our power to defeat it."

"I know some have argued that brutal methods like water-boarding were necessary to keep us safe. I could not disagree more," Obama continued. "As commander-in-chief, I see the intelligence, I bear responsibility for keeping this country safe, and I reject the assertion that these are the most effective means of interrogation. What’s more, they undermine the rule of law. They alienate us in the world. They serve as a recruitment tool for terrorists, and increase the will of our enemies to fight us, while decreasing the will of others to work with America. They risk the lives of our troops by making it less likely that others will surrender to them in battle, and more likely that Americans will be mistreated if they are captured. In short, they did not advance our war and counter-terrorism efforts – they undermined them, and that is why I ended them once and for all."

Obama repeated his pledge to close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

"Rather than keep us safer, the prison at Guantanamo has weakened American national security," Obama said. "It is a rallying cry for our enemies. It sets back the willingness of our allies to work with us in fighting an enemy that operates in scores of countries. By any measure, the costs of keeping it open far exceed the complications involved in closing it. That is why I argued that it should be closed throughout my campaign. And that is why I ordered it closed within one year."

In a remarkable split-screen presentation of opposing worldviews, former Vice President Dick Cheney was to speak on the exact same topic moments after Obama finishes. Cheney is appearing at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, where the audience will watch the president on large TV screens.

Cheney was to say: “When President Obama makes wise decisions, he deserves our support. And when he mischaracterizes the national security decisions we made in the Bush years, he deserves an answer.”

Cheney was to argue that his intent is not to look backward but will say that a truthful telling of history is necessary to inform our choices going forward. “Though I'm not here to speak for George W. Bush, I am certain that no one wishes the current administration more success in defending the country than we do,” Cheney will say. “What I want to do today is set forth the strategic thinking that drove our policies.”

Both the president and Cheney rested a good part of their case on effectiveness, with the president saying the last administration’s approach to fighting terror was not effective, and Cheney arguing that those programs are the reason there has been no second Sept. 11.

"We uphold our most cherished values not only because doing so is right, but because it strengthens our country and keeps us safe," Obama said. "Time and again, our values have been our best national security asset – in war and peace; in times of ease and in eras of upheaval."

The president said that while the nation must ensure that its security measures and our justice system are ready to address the threats of the 21st century, the Obama administration will uphold America’s laws and its values that are the reason we have become the strongest nation in the world and persisted through crises that have threatened our core.
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Old 05-21-2009, 09:18 AM   #2
HonestChieffan HonestChieffan is online now
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No one wants Gitmo closed but him...he is digging in deep on an issue he should back away from...he can spin a flip flop based on the fact the people dont want himn to move terrorists here....Now he cannot spin it and if he moves forward moving them here, the congress will go nuts prior to election? He is an idiot on this issue.
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Old 05-21-2009, 09:20 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HonestChieffan View Post
No one wants Gitmo closed but him...
That statement demonstrates your detachment from reality quite nicely.
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Old 05-21-2009, 09:21 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by jAZ View Post
That statement demonstrates your detachment from reality quite nicely.
I am sorry. I should have said "No one wants it closed but the terrorists and the President".

Thanks for the heads up
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Old 05-21-2009, 09:22 AM   #5
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Obama is correct when he states that the US "went off course fighting the war on terror". The strategy in Iraq from 2003-2006 was an absolute disaster both politically and militarily.

I find it rather ironic that Cheney is making his counterpoints speech from AEI; that think tank is the primary reason for a change in strategy to COIN (along with a group of very smart NSA think tankers known as the "surgios")

I recommend anyone who wants more information on this read Thomas E Ricks' The Gamble. It is VERY thorough.

For more political background, read Fiasco; same author.
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Old 05-21-2009, 09:26 AM   #6
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I wonder how Obama is going to protect us better? Is he not aware that we haven't had any additional attacks?
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Old 05-21-2009, 09:28 AM   #7
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"Obama argued that waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods "did not advance our war and counter-terrorism efforts – they undermined them."

I'm sure that Obama will release the results of the EITs now, right?
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Old 05-21-2009, 09:30 AM   #8
The_Doctor10 The_Doctor10 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HonestChieffan View Post
No one wants Gitmo closed but him...he is digging in deep on an issue he should back away from...he can spin a flip flop based on the fact the people dont want himn to move terrorists here....Now he cannot spin it and if he moves forward moving them here, the congress will go nuts prior to election? He is an idiot on this issue.
Somehow, I wonder how giving the terrorists one less reason to HATE YOUR ASS is possibly considered a bad thing.

Terror is an idea, HCF, and you can't bomb an idea. You essentially, and I know this is a strange concept for you, have to attempt to change a cultural perception of who you are as a nation. And while there will always be nutbars in caves talking on HAM radios attempting to blow up the GAP, an attempt to not seem like the world's playground bully goes a long way to making sure young, impressionable Muslim men AREN'T willing to strap dynamite to their chests and explode in a Starbucks.
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Old 05-21-2009, 09:34 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Donger View Post
"Obama argued that waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods "did not advance our war and counter-terrorism efforts – they undermined them."

I'm sure that Obama will release the results of the EITs now, right?
Well, since they just foiled a plot to blow up New York City synagogues, it appears you CAN in fact stop terrorist plans without sticking a pen in a suspect's kneecap.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/05/21/...lot/index.html
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Old 05-21-2009, 09:39 AM   #10
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Well, since they just foiled a plot to blow up New York City synagogues, it appears you CAN in fact stop terrorist plans without sticking a pen in a suspect's kneecap.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/05/21/...lot/index.html
I wasn't aware that anyone was arguing that.
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Old 05-21-2009, 09:40 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unleash_the_Phury View Post
Well, since they just foiled a plot to blow up New York City synagogues, it appears you CAN in fact stop terrorist plans without sticking a pen in a suspect's kneecap.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/05/21/...lot/index.html
Nope, that smacks of a govt sting operation done for propaganda purposes.
Still keeping us in fear so they create dependency on them without ever getting our rights back.
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Old 05-21-2009, 09:52 AM   #12
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This is what you get when you sign executive orders a day or two into your administration as a knee jerk reaction to your political party. Without actually having a plan in place and how you'd carry through that executive order.

I suppose the best possible light you could shed on it is you'd chalk it up as being naive and new at the job.
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Old 05-21-2009, 10:18 AM   #13
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After watching this "speech" one can only wonder what is going on in the mans head. Hes clearly emotional over the congressional turn around and getting cut off on the issue by congress. Harry Reid was pretty clear...and the public sentiment on this is going agaist Obama in a huge way.

This should give the break needed to establish just how soft the democrats and particularly the administration really is on defense. And It reinforces his desire to appease those who ant to destroy the US and our allies.

Yesterdays launch by Iran...todays court ruling that we can and have a right to detain these terrorists, congress opposing this wrongheaded move...and now this speech that is so arrogant and so offensive to the military, the public, and the country.

Quite a day..and it isn't noon yet.
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Old 05-21-2009, 10:24 AM   #14
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Somehow, I wonder how giving the terrorists one less reason to HATE YOUR ASS is possibly considered a bad thing.

Terror is an idea, HCF, and you can't bomb an idea. You essentially, and I know this is a strange concept for you, have to attempt to change a cultural perception of who you are as a nation. And while there will always be nutbars in caves talking on HAM radios attempting to blow up the GAP, an attempt to not seem like the world's playground bully goes a long way to making sure young, impressionable Muslim men AREN'T willing to strap dynamite to their chests and explode in a Starbucks.
The naive left (and some elements of the right) can be so cute if you ignore how dangerous they are.
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Old 05-21-2009, 10:27 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Unleash_the_Phury View Post
Well, since they just foiled a plot to blow up New York City synagogues, it appears you CAN in fact stop terrorist plans without sticking a pen in a suspect's kneecap.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/05/21/...lot/index.html
First of all, that plan was foiled by the Bush/Cheney administration so unless "they" refers to George and Dick, your premise is flawed. To Obama's credit, he didn't screw it up.

When did we ever stick pens in suspect's kneecaps? If you're using a reverse euphemism for harsh interrogation, it's always been clear that you can foil SOME terrorist plans without them. It's the OTHER terrorist plans that those techniques are designed to foil.
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