Skip to comments.Obama Unveils Strategy, Says ISIS 'Not Islamic'
Posted on 09/11/2014 6:40:15 AM PDT by xzins
President Barack Obama addressed Americans Wednesday night increasingly concerned about the threat Islamic State militants are posing in the Middle East and about their commander in chief's ability to face it.
In his prime time address, the president reminded people of the uniquely brutal character of ISIS.
"They execute captured prisoners," he said. "They kill children. They enslave, rape and force women into marriage. They threaten a religious minority with genocide."
Despite the militant's name, the president told Americans, "ISIL is not 'Islamic.' No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL's victims have been Muslim."
In concert with its allies, the president says America will continue fighting the group from the air, coordinating with Iraqi security forces fighting on the ground. Obama also announced he's dispatching nearly 500 more U.S. troops to assist Iraq's security forces.
He also called on Congress to approve a program to train and arm moderate rebels in Syria who are fighting both ISIS and the Syrian Army. However, he insists no U.S. troops will be used in ground combat.
"This is not our fight alone," the president said. "We cannot do for Iraqis what they must do for themselves, nor can we take the place of Arab partners in securing their region."
The president also walked back an earlier statement saying he now won't hesitate taking action against ISIS in Syria.
"This is a core principle of my presidency," he says. "If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven."
Speaking on the eve of September 11, Obama says his administration is not aware of a credible threat of a potential attack by ISIS in the U.S. However, he did express concerns about Americans and Europeans who have joined the militant group returning to their home countries to launch attacks.
The president's pro-aggression stance is in contrast to the policy of his administration which has been to draw down forces in the Middle East.
However, recent polling shows a majority of Americans think the president isn't prepared to do what it takes to defeat ISIS and that he's weak and indecisive on foreign policy. Certainly the White House hopes this speech puts some of those concerns to rest.
The president has briefed House and Senate leaders in recent days.
House Speaker John Boehner says those briefings will continue and that he still has questions.
"A speech is not the same things as a strategy," he said in a statement. "While the president presented a compelling case for action, many questions remain about the way in which the president intends to act."
House Republicans plan to meet Thursday morning to discuss the situation.
The following is a transcript of the entire speech as released by The White House:
"My fellow Americans - tonight, I want to speak to you about what the United States will do with our friends and allies to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group known as ISIL.
As commander in chief, my highest priority is the security of the American people. Over the last several years, we have consistently taken the fight to terrorists who threaten our country. We took out Osama bin Laden and much of al-Qaida's leadership in Afghanistan and Pakistan. We've targeted al-Qaida's affiliate in Yemen, and recently eliminated the top commander of its affiliate in Somalia. We've done so while bringing more than 140,000 American troops home from Iraq, and drawing down our forces in Afghanistan, where our combat mission will end later this year. Thanks to our military and counterterrorism professionals, America is safer.
Still, we continue to face a terrorist threat. We cannot erase every trace of evil from the world, and small groups of killers have the capacity to do great harm. That was the case before 9/11, and that remains true today. That's why we must remain vigilant as threats emerge. At this moment, the greatest threats come from the Middle East and North Africa, where radical groups exploit grievances for their own gain. And one of those groups is ISIL - which calls itself the "Islamic State."
Now let's make two things clear: ISIL is not "Islamic." No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL's victims have been Muslim. And ISIL is certainly not a state. It was formerly al-Qaida's affiliate in Iraq, and has taken advantage of sectarian strife and Syria's civil war to gain territory on both sides of the Iraq-Syrian border. It is recognized by no government, nor the people it subjugates. ISIL is a terrorist organization, pure and simple. And it has no vision other than the slaughter of all who stand in its way.
In a region that has known so much bloodshed, these terrorists are unique in their brutality. They execute captured prisoners. They kill children. They enslave, rape and force women into marriage. They threatened a religious minority with genocide. In acts of barbarism, they took the lives of two American journalists - Jim Foley and Steven Sotloff.
So ISIL poses a threat to the people of Iraq and Syria, and the broader Middle East - including American citizens, personnel and facilities. If left unchecked, these terrorists could pose a growing threat beyond that region - including to the United States. While we have not yet detected specific plotting against our homeland, ISIL leaders have threatened America and our allies. Our intelligence community believes that thousands of foreigners - including Europeans and some Americans - have joined them in Syria and Iraq. Trained and battle-hardened, these fighters could try to return to their home countries and carry out deadly attacks.
I know many Americans are concerned about these threats. Tonight, I want you to know that the United States of America is meeting them with strength and resolve. Last month, I ordered our military to take targeted action against ISIL to stop its advances. Since then, we have conducted more than 150 successful airstrikes in Iraq. These strikes have protected American personnel and facilities, killed ISIL fighters, destroyed weapons, and given space for Iraqi and Kurdish forces to reclaim key territory. These strikes have helped save the lives of thousands of innocent men, women and children.
But this is not our fight alone. American power can make a decisive difference, but we cannot do for Iraqis what they must do for themselves, nor can we take the place of Arab partners in securing their region. That's why I've insisted that additional U.S. action depended upon Iraqis forming an inclusive government, which they have now done in recent days. So tonight, with a new Iraqi government in place, and following consultations with allies abroad and Congress at home, I can announce that America will lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat.
Our objective is clear: We will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy.
First, we will conduct a systematic campaign of airstrikes against these terrorists. Working with the Iraqi government, we will expand our efforts beyond protecting our own people and humanitarian missions, so that we're hitting ISIL targets as Iraqi forces go on offense. Moreover, I have made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are. That means I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq. This is a core principle of my presidency: If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.
Second, we will increase our support to forces fighting these terrorists on the ground. In June, I deployed several hundred American service members to Iraq to assess how we can best support Iraqi Security Forces. Now that those teams have completed their work - and Iraq has formed a government - we will send an additional 475 service members to Iraq. As I have said before, these American forces will not have a combat mission - we will not get dragged into another ground war in Iraq. But they are needed to support Iraqi and Kurdish forces with training, intelligence and equipment. We will also support Iraq's efforts to stand up National Guard Units to help Sunni communities secure their own freedom from ISIL control.
Across the border, in Syria, we have ramped up our military assistance to the Syrian opposition. Tonight, I again call on Congress to give us additional authorities and resources to train and equip these fighters. In the fight against ISIL, we cannot rely on an Assad regime that terrorizes its people; a regime that will never regain the legitimacy it has lost. Instead, we must strengthen the opposition as the best counterweight to extremists like ISIL, while pursuing the political solution necessary to solve Syria's crisis once and for all.
Third, we will continue to draw on our substantial counterterrorism capabilities to prevent ISIL attacks. 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 U.N. Security Council to further mobilize the international community around this effort.
Fourth, we will continue providing humanitarian assistance to innocent civilians who have been displaced by this terrorist organization. This includes Sunni and Shia Muslims who are at grave risk, as well as tens of thousands of Christians and other religious minorities. We cannot allow these communities to be driven from their ancient homelands.
This is our strategy. And in each of these four parts of our strategy, America will be joined by a broad coalition of partners. 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. Secretary Kerry was in Iraq today meeting with the new government and supporting their efforts to promote unity, and in the coming days he will travel across the Middle East and Europe to enlist more partners in this fight, especially Arab nations who can help mobilize Sunni communities in Iraq and Syria to drive these terrorists from their lands. This is American leadership at its best: we stand with people who fight for their own freedom; and we rally other nations on behalf of our common security and common humanity.
My administration has also secured bipartisan support for this approach here at home. I have the authority to address the threat from ISIL. But I believe we are strongest as a nation when the president and Congress work together. So I welcome congressional support for this effort in order to show the world that Americans are united in confronting this danger.
Now, it will take time to eradicate a cancer like ISIL. And any time we take military action, there are risks involved - especially to the servicemen and women who carry out these missions. But I want the American people to understand how this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil. This counterterrorism campaign will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out ISIL wherever they exist, using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground. This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years. And it is consistent with the approach I outlined earlier this year: to use force against anyone who threatens America's core interests, but to mobilize partners wherever possible to address broader challenges to international order.
My fellow Americans, we live in a time of great change. Tomorrow marks 13 years since our country was attacked. Next week marks six years since our economy suffered its worst setback since the Great Depression. Yet despite these shocks, through the pain we have felt and the grueling work required to bounce back - America is better positioned today to seize the future than any other nation on Earth.
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. Despite all the divisions and discord within our democracy, I see the grit and determination and common goodness of the American people every single day - and that makes me more confident than ever about our country's future.
Abroad, American leadership is the one constant in an uncertain world. It is America that has the capacity and the will to mobilize the world against terrorists. It is America that has rallied the world against Russian aggression, and in support of the Ukrainian peoples' right to determine their own destiny. It is America - our scientists, our doctors, our know-how - that can help contain and cure the outbreak of Ebola. 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. And it is America that is helping Muslim communities around the world not just in the fight against terrorism, but in the fight for opportunity, tolerance and a more hopeful future.
America, our endless blessings bestow an enduring burden. But as Americans, we welcome our responsibility to lead. From Europe to Asia - from the far reaches of Africa to war-torn capitals of the Middle East - we stand for freedom, for justice, for dignity. These are values that have guided our nation since its founding. Tonight, I ask for your support in carrying that leadership forward. I do so as a commander in chief who could not be prouder of our men and women in uniform - pilots who bravely fly in the face of danger above the Middle East, and service members who support our partners on the ground.
When we helped prevent the massacre of civilians trapped on a distant mountain, here's what one of them said. "We owe our American friends our lives. Our children will always remember that there was someone who felt our struggle and made a long journey to protect innocent people."
That is the difference we make in the world. And our own safety - our own security - depends upon our willingness to do what it takes to defend this nation, and uphold the values that we stand for - timeless ideals that will endure long after those who offer only hate and destruction have been vanquished from the Earth.
May God bless our troops, and may God bless the United States of America."
I’m not even surprised that this man has to begin his speech defending Islamism by pretending that a group that calls itself Islamic isn’t really Islamic. That is beyond offensive BECAUSE he then has to make sure everyone knows that religious minorities have been killed but more muslims have been killed than minorities. (One would think so since this war’s being fought in the heart of the Islamic middle east.)
What this narrow-minded president has done is refuse to acknowledge that Christians are being martyred for refusing to convert. Perhaps I’ve missed that muslims are being killed for refusing to convert.
I’m deeply offended by this speech at the outset.
So far as the strategy...fine...it’s what has come from the military.
So far as the leadership...I do not trust the man who sacrifices lives with ridiculous ROEs in Afghan to safeguard American lives in Iraq. I won’t trust him. After the mid-terms, he’ll have a year to see more Americans pay the ultimate price, this hater of America.
Wouldn’t that make them NISIS?
So the ISLAMIC State of Syria and the Levant is not Islamic???
What an bleeping SOS we have for a president.
“...ISIL is not “Islamic.” No religion condones the killing of innocents...”
So says our Muslim born president from his house stacked with Muslim Brotherhood associates.
Obama, as usual, is lying. Of course ISIL is the essence of Islam and all of its atrocities are fully in accord with Muslim scripture.
This man, barack obama, reveals at the outset that he doesn’t know his enemy and that he doesn’t care about his own people and his own allies.
I’m offended by this coming from his lips, but from any lips anywhere, as if Americans are going to go off killing the islamics living near them.
That’s who they are. He must be so indoctrinated in how they are that he automatically superimposes their methods onto all people.
“The Salvation Army...is Not Christian”
“ISIL is not ‘Islamic.’”
I’m ever so glad that I chose to “miss” this evil punks “speech”.
I somehow sensed that he was going to go Full Orwell..and he did not disappoint.
“Obama is Not Very Intelligent”
More words read from the TOTUS. Also known as: Every time this manure salesman opens his mouth, he gives out free samples.
What an idiot!!!
he doesnt know his enemy and that he doesnt care about his own people and his own allies
Examine your assumptions behind this statement...
“his enemy” is not Islam attempting to take over the world and destroy the Western Civilization.
“his own people” are not Americans
“his own allies” are not America’s allies
Obama means the "I" in "ISIL", "ISIS", "IS" or whatever this barbaric organisation calls itself now is not "Islamic"?
It's the only thing consistent in their names.
Yes, for some reason Obama does not use the word — ISIS but ISIL,
Jordanian politician: Islamic States doctrine stems from the Quran and Sunnah
Jihad Watch ^ | 09/10/2014 | Robert Spencer
Jordanian-Palestinian Politician: There Is No ISIS Ideology Its Islam; Syrian Soldiers Deserved to Be Slaughtered, MEMRI, August 31, 2014 (thanks to Michael):
Palestinian-Jordanian politician Muhammad Bayoudh Al-Tamimi recently defended ISIS, saying that its doctrine stems from the Quran and the Sunna. The Syrian soldiers recently killed at the Tabqa airbase deserved to be slaughtered 100,000 times over, said Al-Tamimi, a member of the Jordanian Umma movement. According to Internet reports, the show was not broadcast by the Jordanian ANB TV channel that had produced it, but it was posted on the Internet by ANB TV on August 31, 2014.
Today, the whole world is divided into two camps one led by America and its satellites and the other led by the Islamic State. The war is raging between these two camps and everybody leans towards one camp or the other. This is true especially of the Muslims of the world. They support the U.S. and its collaborators and Iran and its Safavid agenda, or else they support (ISIS) There is no such thing as ISIS ideology its Islam.
The (Syrian soldiers) who were slaughtered yesterday at the Tabqa airbase deserved to be slaughtered 100,000 times over. They had killed tens of thousands of Muslims. They would drop 100 barrel bombs on Aleppo every day. They killed women and children. They destroyed Syrian cities. The Taqba airbase was where the barrel bombs were manufactured. These bombs were used to kill all the Syrian people. If these Muslims are terrorists I salute those terrorists! I salute the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria! Blessed be your hands! March on!
(Excerpt) Read more at jihadwatch.org ...
Didn't Mohammed do all of those things?
That is what so offends me by this speech right at the outset. The approach cannot just be 'tone-deaf-ear'. It has to be 'in your face'. This petty man is minimizing the martyrdom of Christians....and on purpose.
The approach is beyond deplorable. It's condescending, and I think maybe even hateful.
“They execute captured prisoners,” he said. “They kill children. They enslave, rape and force women into marriage. They threaten a religious minority with genocide.”
Just like mohammed (piss be upon him)
The muslims have been doing exactly those things for 1400 years. I'm pretty sure that is what Islam is about.
Those actions ARE Islam.
It’s infuriating that the left insists that people following the CLEAR INSTRUCTIONS of the Koran and the example of Mohamed are “not really Islamic”.
And which religious minority is being threatened with genocide???
How very tellling the HMIC* cannot even bring himself to even say the word 'Christian'. Not a real surprise. He has and always will stand with mudslimes over Christians.
*Head Muslim in Chief
I'll match your definition as "deplorable" - and "condescending" - and yes, "hateful" - and raise you
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