Barack Obama

All the President's War Declaration (or Whatever it Was); Transcript

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Here's a transcript of tonight's speech by President Barack Obama about ISIS, Iraq, and Syria. Take a read through it and if you figure out exactly what he said in it all, let the rest of us know in the comments section.

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 Qaeda's leadership in Afghanistan and Pakistan. We've targeted al Qaeda'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 Qaeda'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 UN 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 counter-terrorism 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 6 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.

NEXT: Obama: Airstrikes in Syria, Train 'Moderate' Rebels, No American Ground Troops

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  1. You Know Who Else claimed to be anti-war except when TOP. MEN were doing it?

    1. The President? Every single Obama voter from 2008? This is too wide a group to choose from.

    2. Everyone Evar?

    3. Elton John?

      Am I right?

    4. Rand Paul?

  2. I think The Onion summed it up best:

    Obama vows to split ISIS into dozens of extremist splinter groups”

    I have already discussed this plan with congressional leaders, and I have no doubt that our efforts will eventually replace this militant organization with many smaller but equally determined groups bent on using extreme brutality to impose fundamentalist Islamic rule. It will not happen overnight, but I can assure the American public that, in time, this group will be defeated, allowing us to focus our attention on the countless threats to homeland security posed by its many immediate successors.

  3. Has there been a real anti-war Democrat since the Copperheads?

  4. I just drank at every mention of a “broad coalition” and “freedom.”

    1. So you’re posting from the hospital after the alcohol poisoning. I hope your recovery is quick and complete!

      1. Mostly Irish, immune to alcohol poisoning.

      2. No, he’s dead. In fact, we’re all dead. Brain aneurysms due to the sheer stupidity of it all. Unfortunately, this is Hell. Expect Tony, Shreek, Alice Bowie, American, Tulpa, Dunphy, and a few others in the thread soon.

          1. You’ve recovered! Here’s mud in yer eye!

    2. I picked “America.” I can’t see things now.

  5. The Moron in Chief gave a speech about something? Watched RFDTV instead. #MartyStuartShow

    1. Not Mollie B’s Polka Show?

    2. LOVE Marty Stuart and Kenny Vaughn and all the other Fabulous Superlatives!

  6. Welcomes congressional support? Consult with Congress? IT’S NOT HIS FUCKING DECISION WHETHER WE GO TO WAR.

    Jesus, does no one care about this? Fine, attack ISIS. But get a resolution from Congress first, like the Constitution clearly requires.

    1. God dammit Pro L, why do you hate freedom?

      1. He’s a goddamned wackobird glibertarian pot-smokin’ good time rock n roll party boy THAT’s why.

        1. Seriously, why is this tolerated? Wars are incredibly expensive, can create a lot of long-term problems, and mean lost and disrupted lives. Shouldn’t that, of all things, be determined by the most representative institution in government? If not, why not?

          1. Because FYTW. Your job is to pay for it, helot, not to think about it.

            1. All it would take is for people to say–and vote–no more.

    2. Relax, dude. It’s just kinetic action against large scale workplace violence.

  7. When I said that:

    the libertarian foreign policy that the US should remove its troops everywhere and intervene nowhere and leave those countries to their fate even if the US intervention made things worse?

    Guess who called this a caricature of libertarian foreign policy?

    1. Your mom?

      1. * narrows gaze *

    2. Well the answer is Ed Krayewski.

    3. A libertarian policy would be to have militia instead of a military.

      The US should not prevent, nor sponsor, nor care about private persons, groups, or parties, local or international, who want to get voluntarily involved, doing arms trade, business deals, security, etc.

      1. Indeed, are there not many memorials to the many foreign volunteers to came here to support the American Revolution (e.g. Casimir Pulaski, Tadeusz Ko?ciuszko, Baron von Steuben)?

    4. Can I phrase my answer in the form of a question?

  8. So in ten years when Cyberg-Clinton is in the Oval Office and the Brotherhood of Nod arises from the ashes of ISIS will we finally admit that we’ve (i.e. the West) got our dick stuck in a hornet’s nest (the Middle East and its mess of tribal bullshit going back hundreds of years)? Or will it be another round of ‘broad coalitions’, crappy bombing campaigns and more claims that ‘this is not an Islamic movement’?

    1. Yes?

    2. Maybe we should just give Kane a chance.
      I want a flame-tank.

    3. The Brotherhood of Steel will make short work of the insurgency, what with their powered armor and such.

  9. “It has no vision other than the slaughter of all who stand in its way.”

    Whoa. Obama’s getting kinda medieval about his foreign policy team.

    1. Valerie Jarrett [greater than] Attila

    2. “…oh yeah — and a worldwide Caliphate. That’s a part of the whole vision thing, too.”

  10. “let me be clear: these tired half-measures are intended to give the illusion of strength and progress, while ultimately changing nothing except the body count. thank you.”

  11. REMEMBER! Tomorrow is the anniversary of last Thursday! One week. #neverforget #godDAMNIhatenineeleventymaudlinbullshitSTFUZOMFG

    1. +1000

      I barf a little bit inside my mouth every time I see these fucking bandwagon “patriots” and their #neverforget bullshit and their sheeply complacency. Not to mention their eagle shirts and American flag pants.

      I would gladly accept the sacrifice another 3,000 Americans if it meant having our freedoms returned.

  12. My fellow Americans ? tonight, I want to speak to you about what my foursome will do with our friends and allies to beat the terrorist group known as ISIL for the club team championship.

  13. “When we helped prevent the massacre of civilians trapped on a distant mountain”

    Yeah, about that….

    …didn’t they later say it was kind of a mistake, and the people were leaving before we even showed up?

    because if you recall? They shipped out teams, which arrived on Monday, and by Wednesday there was apparently “no need for an airlift or evacuation”.

  14. “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.”

    The only legitimate purpose of government is to protect our rights, and the purpose of the military is to protect our rights from foreign threats.

    He’s speaking on point (for once). I’m just not convinced that ISIS really is a substantial threat to American security.

    “While we have not yet detected specific plotting against our homeland, ISIL leaders have threatened America and our allies.”

    So have a lot of other groups over the years. That, by itself, is insufficient reason to go to war.

    “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.”

    Does that justify a foreign war? Isn’t that more of a reason to beef up our borders?

    1. why are you against killing them over there so we don’t have to kill them here?

      /warboner derp

      1. You won’t be laughing when they build their zeppelin-armada, mister!

        1. They’re gonna come over here and make our women wear burkas!

          They’re gonna replace the Constitution with Sharia!

          I am genuinely not scared of ISIS. I’m as much against beheading a couple of journalists as the next guy, but short of a substantial threat to American security, I’m trying to do a cost/benefit analysis, and I’m comin’ up short on the president’s plan…

          And if we aren’t doing it, then ISIS looks like a problem for Syria, Iran (both enemies), and, sure, the Kurds.

          If we do this, we shouldn’t put any boots on the ground. I guess that’s our last hope for any kind of limiting principle, here.

  15. I liked Obama’s speech better when it was:
    Take up the White Man’s burden, Send forth the best ye breed
    Go bind your sons to exile, to serve your captives’ need;
    To wait in heavy harness, On fluttered folk and wild–
    Your new-caught, sullen peoples, Half-devil and half-child.

    Take up the White Man’s burden, In patience to abide,
    To veil the threat of terror And check the show of pride;
    By open speech and simple, An hundred times made plain
    To seek another’s profit, And work another’s gain.

    Take up the White Man’s burden, The savage wars of peace–
    Fill full the mouth of Famine And bid the sickness cease;
    And when your goal is nearest The end for others sought,
    Watch sloth and heathen Folly Bring all your hopes to nought.

    etc.

    1. That’s more or less what we’re looking at.

      How do we keep getting dragged into these things?

      Obama should go read “Shooting an Elephant”, too.

    2. I don’t know, I’ve never kippled.

      1. Then you haven’t truly lived. I recommend a Tuesday in April.

  16. “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.”

    so… what’s your definition of “secured,” BO?

    1. I welcome congressional support? Don’t you mean that you NEED congressional support, asshole? Fuck you, jackass, this is your war, not mine.

      1. As I pointed out in an earlier thread, Peter King had already offered Obama a crown (yet ’twas not a crown neither, ’twas one of these coronets) and, as I told you, he put it by once?but, for all that, to my thinking, he would fain have had it. Then he offered it to him again, then he put it by again?but, to my thinking, he was very loath to lay his fingers off it. And then he offered it the third time. He put it the third time by. And still, as he refused it, the rabblement hooted and clapped their chapped hands and threw up their sweaty night-caps and uttered such a deal of stinking breath because Caesar refused the crown that it had almost choked Caesar?for he swooned and fell down at it.

        1. It wasn’t a crown Peter King offered. Remember, Peter King supports terrorists who want to kill monarchists.

          1. Only because his monarch wears a tiara.

        2. So long as it’s literature night…

          But if the cause be not good, the King himself hath a heavy reckoning to make when all those legs and arms and heads, chopp’d off in a battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all ‘We died at such a place’- some swearing, some crying for a surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left. I am afeard there are few die well that die in a battle; for how can they charitably dispose of anything when blood is their argument? Now, if these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the King that led them to it.

          1. Every subject’s duty is the king’s, but every subject’s soul is his own.

    2. Peter King, John McCain, and Lindsey Graham.

  17. As Commander-in-Chief, my highest priority is the security liberty of the American people.

    You need to get your speechwriters to re-read their first drafts so that they can catch amateur mistakes like this.

    1. The gods only reward survivors.

      1. But, NOBODY survives!

  18. President Obama needs to be careful; if he gets rid of ISIS, then he’ll have to deal with the inevitable OSIRIS.

    *nods knowingly*

  19. “At this moment, the greatest threats come from the Middle East and North Africa, where radical groups exploit grievances for their own gain.”

    “And the only thing that these radical groups have in common is that they definitely, surely, unquestionably are not Islamic.”

      1. They need TOP MUSLIMS in charge.

        1. Obama nominates…himself!

          1. “A confirmation is stronger with Congress, but I can confirm myself by myself.”

      2. As a libertarian you surely believe that there are no Muslims at all. There are only individuals happening to be Muslim all in the same neighborhood.

        1. See, you just have to accept the fact that you can’t think, due to all the paint chips you insist on eating.

          1. Be nice to Tony – this is probably one of his last free nights. I’m sure he’s heading down tomorrow to enlist and support his liege in his non-war war.

            1. You’re right! I apologize tony, we shall remember how you gave your life for freedom!

              1. Freedom be damned, for king and country!

            2. Tony’s posts are the electronic version of Elizabeth Warren’s farts.

        2. I can’t answer that, because as a libertarian, I must surely believe there are no libertarians at all.

    1. With IQs in the 70 to 85 range.

      1. Ah, then well higher than some of the regulars here.

  20. And it has no vision other than the slaughter of all who stand in its way.

    Funny, they’re saying the same thing about the U.S. military.

  21. ‘Roll back’ the threat of terrorism, WTF: is this Walmart strategy?

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