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President Obama’s speech justifies war and counter-terrorism

Roger Caldwell

Roger Caldwell

President Obama’s speech justifies war and counter-terrorism

By Roger Caldwell

On May 23rd President Obama gave a broad and comprehensive address at the National Defense University on how the United States and his administration have developed a strategy to manage global threats internally and externally. In 2013, America is at war and the battle is against a different kind of enemy and we are learning how to win against different odds.

“First we must finish the work of defeating al Qaeda and its associated forces. Beyond Afghanistan, we must define our effort not as a boundless global war on terror, but rather as a series of persistent targeted effort to dismantle specific networks of violent extremists that threaten America,” says President Obama.

On paper and during a speech the president appears to know who the enemy is, but in reality the enemy could be your next door neighbor, or a friend that you have known for ten years. Our president and our leaders would like Americans to think that they know who al Qaeda is, but al Qaeda can be anyone who has learnt how to build a bomb.

During President Obama’s speech, he appears to grapple with his moral conscience, and he appears to struggle with drone strikes and whether they are killing innocent citizens. This is a new technology and in his speech, he asserts that the drone strikes have been successful and many of the al Qaeda commanders have been killed. The president justifies this war as honorable, and the drone attacks are legal under domestic and international law.

Many liberals and conservatives continue to struggle with the president, because they wonder if all of his fancy rhetoric is the truth. President Obama would like the American citizens to believe that there is strong oversight with drone strikes and the Congress is briefed on all targeted strikes. But there are too many strikes for the administration to keep up with, and there are profound questions concerning the policy.

The war on counter-terrorism has entered a new phase and the president is refocusing American’s strategy in the war, and the way we fight. Extremist all over the world still want to kill Americans, but our image has been damaged in Muslin countries and internally. As a result, the president will only target extremist who are an “imminent threat” internally and externally.

With the three recent scandals, it appears that this speech on national defense was given to promise real limits on presidential power. “That means putting careful constraints on the tools the government uses to protect sensitive information, such as the State Secrets doctrine. And that means finally establishing a strong Privacy and Civil Liberties Board to review those issues where our counter-terrorism efforts and our values come into tension,” explains the president.

The president is asking Congress to pass a media shield that guards against government over-reach and asking the Attorney General to review investigative procedures that involve reporters and the media by July 12th. The Obama administration is still in a damage control phase on many different fronts, and our president is trying to recover from some of his problems. In the last couple of months there have been scandals, the Boston Marathon bomb explosion, and horrific mass gun violence, but the president continues to move forward to keep Americans safe.

In this hour long speech, the president again made many promises and now the media, the lawmakers, and Americans will wait and see what is achieved and delivered. There is always a gap between what the president promises and what he delivers. The president was also in the speech claiming that he will close Guantanamo again.

This was a good speech, but the rhetoric is the talking part of the plan, and now is the time for the execution part of the plan. The president and his administration have great plans, but at times they overpromise, and many of their ideas get lost in the rhetoric.

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