“If Washington wants to do something about the Islamic State, it should send humanitarian aid to displaced civilians, restart talks to end Syria’s civil war, and condition all assistance to Baghdad on its willingness to improve conditions for Iraq’s Sunni minority. The last thing Obama should do is fight a war for allies who are losing a popularity contest to a group that beheads people.”
— “Obama’s Dumb War”
11:12 am • 18 October 2014
Critique from an Obama fan
“America will lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat,” Obama declared in his speech Wednesday night. He described it as a “counterterrorism campaign” that would “degrade and ultimately destroy” ISIS.
There’s some inconsistency there. Counterterrorism is the right prism through which to approach this, rather than all-out war, but it’s unlikely to destroy ISIS any more than it did the Taliban or militancy in Yemen.
Indeed, the president, in his speech, said that his strategy in Syria “is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years.” That’s a plausible comparison, but Obama may be the only person in the world who would cite conflict-torn Yemen and Somalia as triumphs. […]
“We’re going to war because we’ve been spooked,” notes Joshua Landis, a Syria specialist at the University of Oklahoma. “But if we do it wrong, we could ensure that the violence spreads.”
8:54 pm • 14 September 2014
“To recap: we are going to war with no clear exit plan; we are doing so before the regional allies have been forced to take a stand; Obama is shouldering all of the responsibility himself, based on a hysterical public mood that could evaporate in a month’s time. To argue that this is a reneging of everything Obama ran on is an understatement. Even Bush went to Congress for a vote before the Iraq War. And the legitimization of panic and fear and hysteria undoes so much of what Obama had previously achieved in amending US foreign policy.”
— The Nightmare Scenario
5:36 pm • 13 September 2014
Of the 680,000 people caught up in the government’s Terrorist Screening Database—a watchlist of “known or suspected terrorists” that is shared with local law enforcement agencies, private contractors, and foreign governments—more than 40 percent are described by the government as having “no recognized terrorist group affiliation.” That category—280,000 people—dwarfs the number of watchlisted people suspected of ties to al Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah combined.
The documents, obtained from a source in the intelligence community, also reveal that the Obama Administration has presided over an unprecedented expansion of the terrorist screening system. Since taking office, Obama has boosted the number of people on the no fly list more than ten-fold, to an all-time high of 47,000—surpassing the number of people barred from flying under George W. Bush.
“If everything is terrorism, then nothing is terrorism,” says David Gomez, a former senior FBI special agent. The watchlisting system, he adds, is “revving out of control.”
12:20 pm • 6 August 2014
“I cast another absentee ballot for Obama. And this time, when he won, I felt my hope a little more absent as well.”
— I’m a Millennial and I’m disappointed in Obama
8:48 pm • 11 December 2013
“I’m really good at killing people.”
— U.S. President Barack Obama reportedly said to aides
8:48 pm • 4 November 2013
White House under assault over healthcare, NSA, Benghazi
A trio of issues — Obamacare, spying allegations and Benghazi — bring headaches to the White House this week.
In a place accustomed to tough stretches, this has been a particularly tough few days at the White House.
After emerging from the showdown over the Republican-led government shutdown relatively unscathed, the Obama administration finds itself under assault on three fronts: problems surrounding Obamacare, the revelations of the U.S. spying on allies, and the 2012 attack on the U.S diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, the latter for which a senator has threatened to hold up all of the Obama administration’s nominations.
2:24 pm • 1 November 2013
“Even as the debate about arming the rebels took on a new urgency, Mr. Obama rarely voiced strong opinions during senior staff meetings. But current and former officials said his body language was telling: he often appeared impatient or disengaged while listening to the debate, sometimes scrolling through messages on his BlackBerry or slouching and chewing gum. In private conversations with aides, Mr. Obama described Syria as one of those hellish problems every president faces, where the risks are endless and all the options are bad.”
— U.S. President Obama’s experience with Syria
11:12 am • 29 October 2013
‘But as U.S. president for the last 4-1/2 years,Barack Obama has faced accusation after accusation of impinging on civil liberties, disappointing his liberal Democratic base and providing fodder for rival Republicans as he deals with the realities of office.
News in the past week of the federal seizure of phone records from the Associated Press news agency and the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative Tea Party groups, has intensified criticism already simmering over the Guantanamo Bay prison camp and aerial drone strikes abroad.
Asked at a news conference on Tuesday why the administration had not done more for civil liberties, Attorney General Eric Holder said: “I’m proud of what we have done” and emphasized the administration’s shift from Bush era harsh interrogation practices of terrorism suspects that had drawn international criticism.
When he took office in 2009, Obama promised to close the Guantanamo camp for foreign terrorism suspects, but it remains open with 166 detainees, many on hunger strikes in protest at indefinite detentions. Obama said last month he would revisit that pledge and blamed Congress for blocking his plan to close the camp, partly through restrictions on transfers of detainees.
The administration has defended its aerial drone strikes abroad, which have included targeting a U.S.-born terrorism suspect, as essential to the fight against al Qaeda and other militants in places such as Pakistan and Yemen.’
4:09 pm • 16 May 2013
American leaders unveiled a statue of Rosa Parks on Wednesday, briefly setting aside political differences to honor the civil rights heroine, who became the first black woman to have a monument inside the U.S. Capitol.
Parks’ refusal to give up her seat on a segregated Alabama bus for a white passenger in 1955 sparked a boycott that galvanized the movement for equal rights for blacks in Montgomery and nationwide.
Black men and women stayed off the buses, walking or arranging other rides to work for more than a year to fight for desegregation.
Read on: U.S. leaders honor civil rights activist Rosa Parks with statue
6:15 pm • 3 March 2013