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Obama's National Security Speech

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  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    President Obama went to the American public today and laid out his vision of the "War on Terror" as America moves forward. It was a wide ranging speech, but the part that stuck out the most to me was when the President spoke on his desire to work with Congress to “refine, and ultimately repeal” the Authorization For The Use of Military Force that Congress passed with nearly ZERO debate back in 2001. This is a monumental proposal and we can not take this lightly. There are not many times in American history that a President willfully offers to give up Presidential powers that were granted to them. I honestly can't think of one instance of this off the top of my head.

    The President also touched on a wide range of other topics, as well. He spoke of the need to re-frame the way we fight an "enemy" that knows no battlefield and reminded us that not every "collection of thugs that labels themselves al Qaeda will pose a credible threat to the United States." That was music to my ears after a decade of politicians labeling every person that tries to set off a bomb as a high level terrorist that can destroy our country as we know it. The whole point of terror is to scare people, and they have succeeded in more ways than we will ever know in that front. Just think of the trillions of dollars we have now spent in the name of "national security." It just doesn't make economic sense to continue down that path and I was so happy to hear our President finally admitting that.

    Thoughts on President Obama's speech today?
  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    I think because of the relentless bombings by drones and the now low survival rate among so-called high level Al_Qaeda commanders the planning and success of large scale missions here in the US. is pretty much over, if the goal is to instill terror then one only needs a small cell, perhaps no more than 3 or 4 operatives tops, I feel that by scaling back our efforts to detect and prevent such suicidal missions will eventually lead to a complacy and a lax attitude that could lead to a disaster, if by repealing that particular Bill makes the Congress and the President really consider the reasons for sending our soldiers off to some godforesaken place to defend someone else's ideals that we ourselves oppose here in America,also perhaps the real purpose of sending troops off to fight might be made more clearer if there is a sense of accountability for the action, I hope the Congress does repeal it.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Huffington Post Transcript as Delivered: Obama Drone Speech Delivered At National Defense University (FULL TRANSCRIPT)

    Jared --

    I agree with your comments. I watched the speech in which he laid out with clarity the arguments and logic, pro and con, and the decisions on the issues that have been in the forefront of the debate on drones, closing Gitmo, and yes, repealing the Authorization for Use of Military Force. We've discussed the issue of drones in depth in other threads, but I thought that his recognition of the positives and negatives of the drone program were articulated well. A few extracts:

    "And yet as our fight enters a new phase, America’s legitimate claim of self-defense cannot be the end of the discussion. To say a military tactic is legal, or even effective, is not to say it is wise or moral in every instance. For the same human progress that gives us the technology to strike half a world away also demands the discipline to constrain that power – or risk abusing it. That’s why, over the last four years, my Administration has worked vigorously to establish a framework that governs our use of force against terrorists – insisting upon clear guidelines, oversight and accountability that is now codified in Presidential Policy Guidance that I signed yesterday.

    "...it is a hard fact that U.S. strikes have resulted in civilian casualties, a risk that exists in all wars. For the families of those civilians, no words or legal construct can justify their loss. For me, and those in my chain of command, these deaths will haunt us as long as we live, just as we are haunted by the civilian casualties that have occurred through conventional fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    "But when a U.S. citizen goes abroad to wage war against America – and is actively plotting to kill U.S. citizens; and when neither the United States, nor our partners are in a position to capture him before he carries out a plot – his citizenship should no more serve as a shield than a sniper shooting down on an innocent crowd should be protected from a swat team."

    -------------------------------------------

    Going forward, Obama will be involving Congress in options for more oversight. This will be especially needed if we ever have another Republican Presidential administration like Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld...
  • Democrat
    Julian, CA
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    Considering the counterproductive and extremely harmful foreign policies of the U.S. Government during the last two generations one can only conclude that the same loonies are always in charge no matter what party is in charge and the only hope for the future well being of the American people is for this country to become isolationists, mind our own business and instead begin to clean up an increasingly corrupt, criminally irresponsible and incompetent government which at present is owned and operated by the Robber Barons and their Stooges.
  • Other Party
    Nebraska
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    US Government isolationism? Isn't that how World War II started?

    Then again, how could things get worse? Well...World War III might be one way things could get worse.
  • Independent
    Dover, TN
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    He must have over looked the damage he committed to the Posse Comitatus Act. When President Barack Obama signed National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 into law, it reworded the Insurrection Act so broadly that it could imply anyone or group the President wanted it to.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    jamesn Wrote: US Government isolationism? Isn't that how World War II started?

    Then again, how could things get worse? Well...World War III might be one way things could get worse.
    I guess not; "connie" got it right. Things have changed a lot since WWII; there should be always a carefull balance in the at home bussiness versus getting involved internationally. Right now we are leaning way too much to trying to run the whole world and tell them how to do things (of course to our advantage) instead of running this country properly. So if we continue this way; first of all we will not be an example for the world with our slums; people sleeping under bridges with no food and huge yachts in our harbors as well shiny 200 million dollar a piece defense planes. Thus what do we want as people of this country?
  • Other Party
    Nebraska
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    Dutch yes you are pretty much right about a lot of what you say, but you and connie are just dreaming.

    Yes ..."Things have changed a lot since WWII"... but some things have not. There were crazy power hungry dictators before WWII and there are crazy power hungry dictators after WWII. Crazy dictators started wars before WWII and crazy dictators have started wars after WWII. That has not changed and never will.

    The US is the worlds policeman and that is NOT going to change anytime soon. I WISH the US would pull back some but I know that we will not become ..."isolationist"... that is just not going to happen. We may as well wish to suspend the laws of gravity, or wish for Congress to act with honesty and integrity and those things are not going to happen either.

    Sure we should pull back and try to run our own country instead of getting involved in the business of other countries but the reality is different from what we wish for.