What Did Conservatives Dislike about President Obama?

When President Barack Obama was elected, I was rather a-political. I was starting college. I actually just got out of the Marines and off an Iraq deployment only a few months prior. I also had a slew of problems adjusting to civilian life amidst a recent series of personal tragedies. Politics? Whatever. Who has the time?

The only real moment that stood out to me in 2008 was when another student, a black student if I’m being very honest, said very confidently to the whole class, “It’s time we had a black man in the White House!”

That was it. That was the end of his explanation.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. My entire life, I had been raised on the belief that skin color had nothing to do with a person’s ability and that treating every race equally was all that mattered. We had been taught to be colorblindbut there was a student arguing that policies didn’t matter, voting patterns didn’t matter, experience didn’t matter. His skin color alone was what mattered. I was floored. This was racism. That was exactly racism. This was complete and total racism. It was saying, in a college History class no less, that a person was qualified for the most powerful role in the country because of the color of his skin. He might as well have said, “I’m not voting for anyone if they are white.”

I looked to the teacher, and she said nothing, as if, “Good enough.” When did it become acceptable for people to say that skin color alone was the qualifier for anything, especially the office of President of the United States?

I wanted to ask right then, “Don’t policies matter?”

I legitimately wanted to know. Like I said, I had a lot of life happening in 2008, so the election didn’t really weigh too heavily on my mind, even though it was already September or so. I’m ashamed of how ignorant and apathetic I was. But here I was in college and I wanted to know what the man stood for. In particular, I wanted to know his foreign policy. Remember, I was so fresh from the sandbox, I still had sand falling out of my… Let’s just say it was still on my mind. Many of my friends still in the Marines were going to deploy again very shortly into the tenure of the new president, and so many people I knew had already suffered so much for the gains we had made in Iraq. By the end of 2007, the war was as good as won. So all the next guy had to do was nothing stupid and we’d be fine there. Still, I wanted to know that this guy wouldn’t botch the whole thing.

But I said nothing. At that time, I was afraid of saying, “That’s not good enough for me. I’d like to know his foreign policy.” I feared that if I questioned his logic, I would be called a racist.

That was my first run in with identity politics. And as an additional point, I didn’t go to school in some blue state where I might have expected this. I went to school in Dallas, Texas.

I did start looking more into things on my own, though. That left me with only one real series of questions.

“What does Change even mean? Change what? How? What’s the context, here?”

Then the election happened. I wasn’t too torn up, though I was surprised. I expected people to go for the experienced veteran, being that we were in the middle of two wars. I understood very little back then.

After that, however, I started seeing a lot of things that were fairly alarming. Now President Obama was making some terrible choices with our military. This included ignoring the conflicts to a great degree while apologizing across the world for our presence. “This will embolden our enemies,” I thought. Then he placed in a series of secretaries over the DoD and the various branches who clearly were more interested in “reforms” that had nothing to do with making our warfighters more combat effective, but everything to do with partisan social agendas. There were also cuts being made and the sequestration. Just so you know, that’s a really frightening word if you’re in the military, and particularly if you’re in the military in the middle of two active conflicts. Then there was the pullout from Iraq. There, I got angry. I told my wife then that if we pull out of Iraq the terrorists were going to take over all of Al Anbar (where I had been deployed). But he gave out that wonderful stimulus package, so everybody got $800. Why should I complain?

Then ISIS happened and I was proven right. Places, where people I knew died, were now the property of the worst terrorists the world had ever known, born strictly out the absence of the American military forces after we had gained control of it years prior. I was upset about Iraq, to say the least. Then I got more upset at the complete lack of a response to Russia in Ukraine; upset about the Iran deal; upset that Afghanistan was ignored after they got Bin Laden; and upset that diddly squat was being done about a suddenly nuclear-armed North Korea test firing their first generation of ICBMs.

Switching back to local… did I mention that I also graduated during this time… and that I had to get a job during the slowest recovering recession in our nation’s history? Nothing will slap you in the face harder than finding out that graduating with honors from a good university and military experience aren’t enough to get you a decent job a full four years after Obama took office and more than five years after the start of the recession.

I ended up finally being hired in a crap retail management position where my job was to write schedules that screwed over my employees. Of course, that wasn’t what the ad read, but yes, that was my job. I had to take people who had been working with the company for years and deserved full-time status, and never allow them more than 32 hours a week. If they worked more than 35 enough weeks, they automatically qualified as full-time employees. Why is that bad? Thanks to this new healthcare legislation coming down that forced companies to pay healthcare worth more than the labor of their employees, the companies juggled to figure out a scheme that allowed them to stay in the black. That involved Operations Managers like me essentially switching from managing operations, the sort of harder and faster motivation that I was good at, to screwing over employees. I was good at harder and faster. I was Marine after all, but not screwing over good and hardworking people who deserved to work the hours they wanted to, but I would be doomed if I gave them more than 35 a week. Granted, I didn’t realize at the time that I was an evil corporate miser, but looking back, that’s all I was.

Oh, my company was bad, but then I found out that they weren’t the only ones. As it turned out, people predicted that this behavior would run rampant. Unemployment would go down, but underemployment would skyrocket as people would take on not one job adequate for their needs and appropriate to their skills, but three part-time jobs because no one was going to be hiring full-time employees now. Upward mobility also became impossible, and millions of people still couldn’t get healthcare.

I’ve read many arguments against The Affordable Care Act, but this is the one that did me in on the President’s desire to do nice things domestically. There were really obvious signs that this wouldn’t work, that it would cause some massive problems, but people who raised their hand to say anything… racists — or if they objected to the plan itself, they lacked empathy. I’m sorry, but all those kids in college who were so livid toward anyone who disagreed with them and said they lacked empathy, they never had to empathize with real people. They didn’t know Charity.

And Charity isn’t a euphemism. That’s her real name: Charity H. She was a real hard worker. Always reliable. I knew that if anyone flaked, I could rely on her. She was quiet, but exactly the sort I wanted on my teams. It was my job to force her into taking a second job. I became very angry years after leaving retail and walking past that same store and seeing Charity still working there, probably in the same position, and probably at no more than 32 hours a week.

At some point during this time, the church shooting happened where a deranged nutbag shot and killed a small bible study at a predominately black church. That was heartbreaking, reminding every one of Columbine and other shootings of the sort. The president himself went to lead the funeral. I thought that was classy. Then, out of nowhere in the speech,

“It’s time to take down that flag!”

He was talking about the Confederate flag, in whatever state still flew it. I’m sure there was a healthy debate about that before the shooting, but to me and many people, this was a statement taken so far out of left field — owing absolutely nothing to the problem of bat-crap crazy people murdering others — that I was floored at how he seemed to shift the blame to a whole state for what this one guy did. In reading the actual text of the speech, the entire three paragraphs of the eulogy where the flag came into question, he didn’t mention the actual killer once. Instead, the clear and overwhelming focus was on how racist America was, not the individual in question. American history somehow caused this. It was literally as if he was saying all of us were responsible — not just the killer. Even if he was a perfectly sane person who just simply was a horrible, horrible racist, we all were responsible because of American history. He was just a symptom of a deeply racist nation. I was completely lost as to why this egregious crime was being suddenly turned into a political call to action that had nothing to do with the events in question, one that put the onus of responsibility on all Americans and their inescapable racism.

I remember not long after that, there was this 16 or 17-year-old girl posing with her friends in front of the flag before prom. Prom. They’re freaking kids. You may not agree with that. You may think that every white person in the South with a Confederate flag is a raging racist out to enslave all the POC, but you’d be wrong. I know these people and you’re wrong, but whatever. What came next was absurd. A protest formed outside the girl’s home. I don’t know how, but she got doxxed and a mob of protesters began harassing her family and threatening her, right outside her bedroom window.

Full stop. That’s unacceptable. I am not a free speech supremacist. I’ll fight very hard for people to say things that I don’t even agree, but there is a line of decency we do not cross. I don’t believe that speech should happen at someone’s front door. People get crazy and at the snap of a finger can turn a protest into a mob. It was indecent for people to “protest” like that.

In a conversation among Top Writers about how terrible this girl was, where the fact that they were protesting at her house was the context of the article, I pointed out this fact. When a mob is allowed to threaten minors for an Instagram photo, I call the moment. Of course, that opened me up to a barrage of being called a racist. The heck? I wasn’t even supporting the flag. I could care less about the flag. I was just saying to leave the protests out of people’s front yards and don’t think you’re the good guy for terrifying little girls.

Then we get into Black Lives Matter. Look, I’ve read the data, and there are cases where police acted wrongly. Nobody is saying it never happens. But we were asking for people to wait for evidence before stories based on a few unverified facts became major national narratives and the source of outrage for millions. Case in point: Michael Brown, where wild protests followed the “execution” of an innocent black teenager trying to surrender to a murderous racist white cop. As the days went by, there was less and less evidence to support this story, and more that exonerated the police officer. So when we actually had evidence that Brown was doing a lot of stuff he shouldn’t, I was the guy who said something, “Maybe we should wait for some evidence before the riots?”

Oh, how things went South after that. Turns out, I was completely right and that the Department of Justice’s investigation completely proved that Brown attacked the police officer, made no effort to surrender and that the officer was completely in his rights to shoot him. It turns out that the whole “Hands Up; Don’t Shoot” story was completely falsified by the guy who was Brown’s accomplice in the crimes that got him killed. Doesn’t really matter. By this point, we had Top Writers literally saying, and I am directly quoting, “Jon Davis wants people who look like me back picking cotton,” and posting pictures of some random white guy assaulting Martin Luther King Jr. saying, “Here’s Jon Davis’ grandpa,” inside Quora answers!

It was insane. Of course, I don’t blame Barack Obama for that directly, but he set the stage for this outrage culture. He normalized outrage culture and never tried to check it as cities went up in riots based on little to no evidence other than narratives of systemic racism.

Then there was the slaying of several police officers at a BLM protest in Dallas. This was it for me. In the speech at the memorial service, many people, myself included, interpreted the President’s words as, “But a lot of cops do bad things too.” It felt, in that moment, that the President of the United States was standing over a funeral where police officers had given their lives protecting people who despised them, and there was a suggestion that the killer was in the slightest way possibly justified because some cops somewhere are bad?

You don’t have to agree with me. You don’t have to respect my opinion. That’s just the way it sounded to me… as well as millions of other people like me. I know that most people reading this don’t have access to right-wing news, but people were furious that this was being politicized so blatantly and that it happened by way of pushing this notion over the bodies of as-yet-not-buried police officers who died fighting a radicalized terrorist to protect citizens at a protest against them. This was insane. But you’re not allowed to say these things. I know, because repeatedly, those of us who did were bombasted if we were ever critical of anything.

He had a personality cult. That’s what it was. The core of his supporters were a repressive and hateful cult of personality around the man. Whether you call them Social Justice Warriors or whatever, that’s what they were: A cult of ideologues; an extremely vocal minority of his followers with far too much power who used dirty tactics to silence anyone who disagrees with any of their agenda. I’ve never seen anything like it. No one was allowed to be critical of anything he did, what he said, or even the massive and undeniable policy failures he led like pulling out of Iraq. If you ever opened your mouth, you were immediately branded with every hateful, toxic ad hominem meant to smear your reputation so that anything you said no longer mattered. Many good liberals, people who I don’t fault for voting Obama for very good reasons, did nothing about it. I was bitter about that for a while. Many were and still are my friends, but now I think they were just terrified of the SJWs too. Over the last year, many, have come to me silently to say as much.

Again, I can’t blame President Obama for what everything his followers did, but I got sick of the constant feeling of mob tyranny, of a president who was above criticism, and of the feeling that anything I said would get Google to return my name with “he wants people who look like me back picking cotton.” I think that’s what really turned me from simply saying, “I don’t like the President’s politics, but I appreciate his service,” to “I’ll do anything to avoid another eight years of this madness.” It wasn’t him. He seems like a decent human. Good husband. Good father. He seems very fine, and I do appreciate his service to the country. But it was that personality cult of his rabid fanatics.

I’m going to be honest, I don’t think I would very much like Donald Trump as a person. I would have rather had Marco Rubio. I’m still happy I voted for Trump, though. That’s because I didn’t want a nice fella. I wanted someone who would win and who would be a hammer to the fanatics that supported Obama to the point of militancy. I mean that. Militancy. They said and did things I would expect to see in Iraq. Blatant acts of terrorism were ignored or even had the blame pushed to people like me for speaking out. Nothing could be questioned and if you stepped out of line, you were slandered or people threatened to take away your jobs, and often, even real threats of violence. They’re still doing it. What would eight more years of that look like? Would my writing be censored as “hate speech”? Would people who speak like me have thugs show up at my door? Would I be locked up in the gulag?

No. Not cool. The intolerance of these people was enough. I was sick of it.

I may not like Donald Trump as a person, but I love Donald Trump Supporters. I’m their supporter because I know them personally. I grew up with them, and I know their hearts. They’re good people who didn’t deserve the unmitigated treatment they got over those years and continue to receive today. And no matter what kind of a person he is, he spoke for them when everyone, even the other Republicans, ignored them. I didn’t want a nice person out to win the Nobel Prize for making the world feel special. I wanted a hammer.

Short answer: Maybe as an individual, President Obama was a really swell guy, but I felt he was a bad president. Not a communist or a Kenyan born Muslim Manchurian candidate. Not Satan or the anti-christ. Not even the worst President ever, but in the bottom half. I felt he was someone who had a vision of the United States that didn’t reflect reality, made bad policies reflective of that vision, and alienated many when he stirred up the divisive rhetoric to push his vision on us.

I know, I know, you want to tell me about what a terrible person Trump is. Say what you want about Trump, but at least now people are listening to the “flyover states” and the unacceptable behavior by radical left-wing fanatics is finally being called unacceptable by the good Obama voters who I still love as dear friends. Maybe if that had happened years ago, we’d be having a conversation about Marco Rubio. But it didn’t.

That’s why, if we’re being honest with ourselves, most conservatives don’t think Obama was a bad person. It was his core fanatics we couldn’t stand and it was they who helped Trump win the election.


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Questions Remain as Inconsistencies Surface in President’s December 6th Oval Office Address.

I, like millions of other Americans, watched the president’s address to the nation concerning the fear that has been mounting, due to the continued threat of active terror in the United States.

Others will discuss at length many of the correct or comforting points the president made. I agree with him that all Americans are brought together in mourning for the tragedy of more than a dozen of our own. I also agree that the attacks in San Bernardino do not represent a conflict between the United States and Islam, but to use his words, “that the two of them [Tashfeen Malik and her husband, Syed Rizwan Farook] had gone down the dark path of radicalization, embracing a perverted interpretation of Islam that calls for war against America and the West.” He also followed this by pointing to the difficult work of our military, police and law enforcement, as well as the heroic efforts of our intelligence services to stop countless numbers of these attacks from being made, both domestically and abroad. Among these efforts, he listed the killing of Osama bin Laden, the disruption of terrorist safe havens, and the decimation of al Qaeda’s leadership network. For that recognition, I heartily agree.

I also agree with him where he states that, in spite of the efforts of millions of men and women over the last fourteen years, the War on Terror still continues, and the terrorist group known as ISIL and has survived to reach a second phase. Now, instead of the highly organized attacks that initiated the war, many more attacks of a lesser nature are happening, such that we have seen in Europe and now in the United States. I will also agree with his words that as the Commander in Chief, he has no greater responsibility than to the security to the American people.

There is much, however, that was said beyond this, that I find I disagree with. Following his points that the road to victory against terror won’t depend on tough talks, abandoning our values, and giving into fear, he began to paint a picture that was intended to educate Americans of what the ground situation in Syria actually looks like. He mentioned that we will “destroy ISIL, and any other organization that threatens to harm us”. In this picture, he stated that the US military will continue to hunt down terrorists by being strong and smart, and relentless, and by drawing on every aspect of American power. He continued that in Iraq and Syria, US bombers are taking out ISIL leaders, heavy assets, and infrastructure, and that since the attacks in Paris, we have been joined by our allies in Europe to do the same. He also mentions that we are providing equipment and training to forces on the tens of thousands of local fighters in Iraq and Syria who are combatting ISIL on the ground, to take away the safe havens of the terrorist organization. Next, he mentioned that efforts have been underway to dismantle ISIL’s operations, their finances, and their recruiting efforts abroad. Along with this, he mentions how the United States is working with Muslim majority countries to solve this problem and combat the vicious spread of the perversion of Islam he referenced earlier. Finally, there is mention of a ceasefire, led by American intervention and a possible end to the Syrian war.

If this picture were all that was going on in Syria, we would be in a very good situation. One is almost forced to ask, if this is case, why has ISIL not yet been defeated?

To answer that question, we have to look at the rest of what was not said.

  • We will “destroy ISIL, and any other organization that threatens to harm us.”

 

This is reassuring. It is a statement of force that says that the United States and her allies will not stand against the threat that these attacks have imposed. The problem with this, is that it differs in almost no way from similar speeches made over a year ago where the President promised to “degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL.”  Since that point, the Islamic State has suffered little loss of territory in Syria and Iraq, and has since spilled over into Libya, has claimed direct responsibility for numerous terror attacks in Europe, and have reached at least as far as Bangladesh, where Muslim bloggers speaking out against the Islamic State are being murdered for delivering the voice of Muslim activists the world so desperately wants to hear. Only weeks ago, the President referred to the Islamic State as “contained” within Iraq and Syria, a comment whose timing was tragic, appearing only days before the Paris attacks of late November, and which completely ignored the presence of ISIL troops ravaging Libya, all those acting abroad, and recruiters working throughout Europe. It, however, made apparent how very disconnected to the crisis the President’s foreign policy concerning ISIL is to the truth on the ground, or that what he is communicating is a far more optimistic interpretation of events than followers of the crisis have come to know.

In a post by Carter Moore, numerous polls are showing that more and more Americans aren’t being swayed by what an increasing number of us are viewing as a half-hearted policy towards ISIL’s elimination, and an overall lack of belief that the President’s plans for the region are grounded in either a realistic understanding of the situation, or that his plan can succeed in the future. Along with this, Americans have embraced the unfortunate reality that terror would likely grace our shores, reality that terror would likely grace our shores, “soon”, as indicated by polls done by CBS and Quinnipac University. Along with further polls done by ABC, the overriding theme of the American people is an overall lack of belief in the President’s continuing promises to “destroy ISIL, and any other organization that threatens to harm us.”

  • The US military will continue to hunt down by being strong and smart, and relentless, and by drawing on every aspect of American power.

Every aspect of American power does not correlate to the offensive that is currently taking place. To begin, the United States does not have the forces it had available when we left Iraq prematurely in 2011, and we lack the ability to regain the initiative in this fight. The forces available in the Middle East have been reduced to the point that it’s first option of regular troops for when something in the region goes South isn’t even a combat team.

The US Marine Corps is preparing to deploy about 2,100 grunts to be based out of Kuwait in a new unit configuration designed to respond to crises in the region, according to Corps officials.

Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force (SPMAGTF) Central Command will be equipped to perform noncombat evacuation, humanitarian assistance, infrastructure support, tactical aircraft recovery, fixed-site security and theater sustainment missions, said Brig. Gen. John Love, assistant deputy commandant for plans, policies and operations.

This sort of force would have been useful during events such as Benghazi amid the Libyan turmoil several years ago, but utterly lacks the strength necessary to secure and occupy a region the size of Texas.

Yes, we still maintain powerful air and naval assets in the region, such as the 6th Fleet in Bahrain. From here, you will see many of the air strikes originating. But the problem we are seeing, is that there simply isn’t enough power being delivered by the air strikes to have a meaningful effect. While we might be able to “hunt down” forces in dramatic bombing missions, it is obvious to most that this effort isn’t winning any territory on the ground front.

Instead, what we are seeing from our allies on the ground, is that the attacks against ISIL are having only marginal gains. The overriding US strategy is to bomb jihadist forces using fighter, bomber, and UAV, and weaken them, paving the way for allies to overrun them on the ground. Where this strategy fails is that the US airstrikes in Syria have been shown to be based on startlingly little intelligence. Often, the strikes do little more than send the fighters cowering during the bombardment, only to return once it is over. Secondly, the largest single flaw in the plan is a lack of supporting fighters on the ground who are able to take the regions. Examples include Kurdish forces who, while excellent fighters when fighting for their own lands, have no vested interest in conquering lands that are not home to Kurdish people, and therefore, not worth the risk of Kurdish soldiers. In Southern Syria, it is worse as the rebels we are supporting number only a few tens of thousands, at the most. They are, however, fighting against not only the Islamic State, but also the sitting dictator of Syria, and now also being bombed by Russia. The Iraqi army, for that matter, has show virtually no initiative in even attempting to retake the lands lost to ISIL for purely ethnic reasons, which explains why the Iraqi military is unable to handle fighting ISIS without US intervention. For that reason, the statement during the president’s speech that “…we will continue to provide training and equipment to tens of thousands of Iraqi and Syrian forces fighting ISIL on the ground, so that we take away their safe havens,” is based either on optimistic deception, or denial based myth.

Furthermore, the bombings themselves aren’t even providing much gain in the actual killing of insurgent forces.

“The air attacks to date have been what can only be called anemic,” says David Deptula, a retired Air Force lieutenant general.

Deptula, who directed the air campaigns in the first Gulf War and the invasion of Afghanistan, says it is not possible to defeat the Islamic State by flying what’s been an average of little more than a dozen airstrikes a day.

“The administration’s incomplete strategy places U.S. commanders in an untenable situation,” he says. “It’s not unlike the failed strategy that was employed in Vietnam.”

For a point of reference, the Iraq War 2003-2011 averaged closer to thirty strikes a day and the Gulf War more than a thousand over its short duration.

The current air campaign drew fire as well at a hearing last month on Capitol Hill.

“Our means and our current level of effort are not aligned with our ends,” said Senate Armed Services Committee chairman John McCain, the Arizona Republican who himself flew combat missions in Vietnam. “That suggests we are not winning, and when you’re not winning in war, you are losing.”

What many believe, instead of attempting to destroy ISIL, the administration is instead attempting to use it as a weapon. The strikes by American forces have been primarily centered on some of the insurgent assets, but mostly in areas where ISIL is in direct conflict with Syrian rebels we are allied with. There, they are attempting to funnel ISIL away from the rebels, but leave them to fight Bashar al-Assad‘s government. In this way, they do not achieve the strategic victory of defeating either, but are having the effect of hardening ISIL against our tactics and strategies, while they continue to grow. The biggest problem with this strategy, however, isn’t that ISIL is learning to defend themselves from the bombings, but that Russia (a close ally of Assad, along with Iranian supporters) is currently engaged in campaigns to destroy both ISIL and the rebels we have been arming and training. Worse than this, the Russians are working a lot harder at this than we are.
This outlines why many analysts agree that bombing alone cannot defeat ISIL on the ground, in spite of the enormous and never-ending steady stream of smart bombs against a hardening target. To better understand that cost I would suggest learning how much one airstrike can cost.
Add to this the impact of sequestration on federal agencies. For the military overall, the funding available to maintain the forces has been reduced by over one hundred billion dollars. This has manifested itself in the form of over seventy-thousand troops leaving or being forced out of the service.  It takes the form of hiring freezes and promotion ceilings for American servicemen, forcing many of our best and most experienced warfighters out of the service in search for a productive and meaningful career. In total the sequestration has left us more than 70,000 less troops than in 2011 before the start of the President’s second term. The cutbacks against the United States military have been called for repeatedly, to the point of ad absurdum, to where now we have the United States army is at its smallest since 1940, and the Navy since 1915. U.S. Military Personnel 1954-2014: The Numbers

In the meantime, our allies are facing greater and greater pressure militarily from overseas from sources like the Islamic jihadists, Russia in Eastern Europe, and China in the South China Sea. Several member nations of the Arab League have even allied together to form Joint Military Force to provide for their own independent interests, further exacerbating the conflicts in the Middle East. The net effect of the United States’ regression toward isolationism, is that the world has become a much more hostile place, where our enemies can no longer rely on us for aid, and are looking elsewhere for support. This has not only left us less secure, but decreased the security of billions of people.

Having said all of this, it brings about the question of a land invasion into the country, which many Americans don’t even realize, isn’t even possible. We’ve reached the point where we shouldn’t be asking if we should deploy boots on the ground, but rather, “is the deployment of ground forces even possible?” To do so would require months of logistical support and maneuvering of forces to the region to reach invasion strength, more than enough time for the Islamic State forces to become aware of what is happening, hide among the civilian population or even return to their respective homelands, continuing the global jihad elsewhere. Perhaps this helps explain why has ISIl still has not been defeated even after a year. Ultimately, the question of “removing the Islamic State” has been lost from us entirely in anywhere close to the near term. Perhaps this, more so than any sort of ideological reason or because of fear of “another long and drawn out war” is why the President so strongly advocated against the option to send in American ground forces. My greatest concern is that that simply isn’t an option anymore.

  • Third, we’re working with friends and allies to stop ISIL’s operations — to disrupt plots, cut off their financing, and prevent them from recruiting more fighters.
There is a great deal wrong with the third points. To begin with, it mentions working with allies on goals of cutting off ISIL’s financing, but in July, it was shown that Turkey and ISIS are now ‘undeniable’ linked through ISIL’s discounted oil sales. I’ll continue that we are failing the intelligence war when it was only discovered through a raid last year how the organization was set up in the first place. More than that, evidence collected by Kyle Murao in Where is ISIL getting their ammunition? has shown that there is little stopping the Islamic State from utilizing black market resources and its vast wealth of independently earned (looted/ransomed/taxed) wealth to procure from virtually any source on the planet. The table below demonstrates forensic evidence of brass casings found on an Islamic State battlefield and where the casings originated. The findings are unsettling.

Along with this, the President mentions that recruitment efforts are being weakened, which, according to all current evidence, is also failing. In Europe there is already a large movement in place where recruiters for the Islamic state are being made to attempt to convert Europeans to Islam, and to convert the local Islamic population to the Wahhabi doctrine, which is the branch of Islam most responsible for the current era of terror we are now experiencing. There, established Islamic “preachers” and recruiters already in Europe, such as Pierre Vogel AKA Abu Hamza, are transitioning young and easily influenced Muslims into fanatical jihadists.

Abu Hamza, born a German named Pierre Vogel in 1978, is a very popular Islamist preacher in Germany. The former professional boxer became Muslim in 2001 and is now among the most influential German representatives of Saudi-originated Wahhabi fundamentalism, which masquerades as “Salafism.”

In Europe, ministries such as Vogel’s are considered “cool” by the native born Muslim youth, which sees thousands flocking to his influence and to that of his Lieutenants. From there, many face the sorts of extremist conversions that taken place disturbing fast, outlined more in detail here. Under leadership and direction, such as that offered by Muslim preachers like Vogel, these fanaticized young Muslims find their to the Middle East, where they are radicalized in militants. From there, they fight for the Islamic State and with no ties to the local “kuffar,” or “unbelievers” have been found guilty of many of the most egregious acts of criminal barbarism. There, they either die in service to the Islamic State or return home to conduct acts of terror in the name of the state. This can be seen in the famed former German rapper Dennis Cuspert, who operated under the pseudonym Abu Talha al-Almani. Cuspert converted to Islam in prison and went on to command a German speaking infantry unit in Aleppo after serving as a recruiter for the Islamic State in Germany. He was killed in an American airstrike, but had he lived, he may have found his way back to Germany, not unlike those who planned and executed the Charlie Hebdo massacre early in 2015.
What is most disappointing, is that even though this is well known, there is no good work being done other than an internet information campaign to stem the Islamic fanatization in Europe and the tide of foreign fighters into the Middle East.

Having exhausted all points on the image of Syria that the president is trying to communicate, I’ll move on to a few other items that need to be addressed.

  • “What could possibly be the argument for allowing a suspected terrorist to buy a gun?

Among the proposed solutions that the president offered was yet another implication that stricter gun regulations would have, in any way, affected the outcome of this event. One phrase he used repeatedly was the term “Common Sense” legislation. I dislike phrases such as “common sense” initiatives, as well as other like, “the right side of history” or, “it’s what the terrorists want”. They imply a certain unquestionable infallibility, without providing either context or evidence to support the claim. With the example of common sense initiatives in gun-control, the language communicates that the policies are logical to the point that anyone who would disagree is not just of a differing opinion, one with rational speculation and concerns, but are in fact, irrational and lacking in some necessary degree of basic human intellect. It is a dehumanizing and divisive phrase, designed to belittle opponents without giving credit or concern for their individual value or point of view, something the President of the United States should never do, and particularly when his nation is suffering a time of crisis.On the points in particular on gun-control, as I have elluded to, it is not a lack of common sense which has brought opposition to the current policies in debate, but rational concerns behind key failures in their policies. Narrowing the focus, the policy of not allowing gun purchasing by people on the “No Fly List” sounds like a reasonable, common sense proposal. The President even went so far as to ask “What could possibly be the argument for allowing a suspected terrorist to buy a gun?” I’m not sure I have ever met or heard of anyone who wants to allow terrorists to buy gun, so it seems like an odd to frame the argument like that… since literally no one has advocated it. In fact, the majority of those standing in the way of the “No Fly Rule” are the same who have been the most supportive of more thorough investigations for the individuals whom the president called “suspected terrorists.” They, for example, would be the first to ask why anyone considered a suspected terrorist is allowed to walk free and unadulterated by law enforcement, in the first place.

The failure here doesn’t lie in the intent, but in it’s execution. There are numerous problems inherent to the “No Fly” list that have been well documented. Among these is the drastic increase in the number of people added onto the list over the last seven years, far exceeding the last presidency.  According to Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff, in October 2008 the No Fly list contained only 2,500 names, with an additional 16,000 “selectees” who “represent a less specific security threat and receive extra scrutiny, but are allowed to fly.” Since then, that number has grown to over 47,000 people by 2013 with another 468,749 watch-list nominations. Some have called into the question how easy it is for an innocent person to be placed on the list and how arduous it can be to rectify yourself in getting your name off the “No Fly” terrorist watch list. Along with this, several people have been detained for “false positives”, including a United States Marine returning from Iraq, an ACLU lawyer (big mistake), a one year old girl, and a guy whose only crime was having the same name as a terrorist who went to Guantanamo Bay. Scores of other false positives exist. Together with all the other problems associated with the No Fly list, it was obvious to some that it was too broken of a system to merit being tied to something as foundational to the American identity as the 2nd Amendment. Second, this methodology, had it been in place, would not even have caught most of the mass shooters responsible for terrorist events already, such as the Boston Bombers. It isn’t that anyone wants to put guns in the hands of terrorists, but this is a broken system that won’t be fixed by adding more broken elements to it.

A second proposal made by the president was to make it harder to access the types of high power weapons these two terrorists used. While I will agree that if these weapons did not exist, no one would be shot by them, simply banning them nationally or even their sale is not a rational approach to solving the issue of mass shootings. For instance, it is widely known that California has some of the tightest restrictions on guns. Social media is has made arguments based on the numerous statistics statics supporting a push for more gun regulation, theoretically as a solution to this sort of crime. These statistics, however, don’t change the truth that California has already adopted President Obama’s gun control wish list, which includes the common sense initiatives such as “universal” background checks, registration, waiting periods, gun bans, magazine bans and an expansion of prohibited gun categories, I can’t really fathom. No combination of these laws, however, prevented this act of domestic terror from taking place. Furthermore, evidence has shown that further expansion of gun regulation, such as that which the President has recently proposed, would not have even had an effect on preventing this case.

Requiring background checks for all weapons sales might not have had any effect on Wednesday’s shootings in San Bernardino in which at least 14 people were killed. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has determined that Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the two shooters, legally purchased two of the weapons at a gun shop in Corona. Two others were legally purchased and given to him by a friend, federal officials said Thursday.”

Yet even more, the vast majority of the guns used in the most recent shooting sprees were made through legal weapons purchases including background checks. This serves to support many gun owner rights advocates who have stated that outlawing the weapons will not affect the actions of the criminals who take note of the laws only so far as to subvert them, but will inhibit only those actions of law abiding citizens.
To answer the main question of “what are some of the major takeaways of President Obama’s Oval Office Address on meeting the threat posed by terrorism” there are a few.
  • The publically communicated policy for Syria hasn’t changed, in that it still relies on US bombing campaigns that have proven not to work.
  • Key allies in the region form a major leg of the operation, but have thus far failed to make significant gains on Iraqi and Syrian soil, in spite of coalition support.
  • There is still no plan (nor capability) to launch ground forces.
  • While there has been a significant number of major terror plots prevented, there is very little that can be done to prevent the “self-radicalized” native born extremist.
  • The only viable plan for this includes placing many people suspected of being somewhat involved in terrorism on a list which forbids them from purchasing weapons.
  • The only other viable plan involves creating gun control regulations, which would have had no impact on cases like this, but that hypothetically would prevent a portion of them in the future.
  • There was also a note on stronger screenings for those entering the United States without a visa. For the life of me, that sounds like an illegal immigrant, something the president has ardently fought up to this point, but at this point, now seems to be a “common sense” initiative.
In closing, however, I would like to make note one thing I am thankful for that the president did. I would like to reiterate that I am thankful that the president spoke when he did. People were scared. They don’t know how to rationalize their fear with a realistic knowledge of the risk they are under. When terrorism strikes in the United States, they don’t have that understanding of how very safe and secure the vast majority of them are. During the day, I am a teacher, and today I taught a class of seventh graders. They know that I am a Marine who served in Iraq when they were little, and that I write in the evenings and am very knowledgeable about these sorts of events. They had many questions, and were scared. For that, I was angry, but also very glad that I could help ease their fears with an understanding of the dangers they actually face and the safeguards which will ensure their security. So, too, did the president. He did that for everyone who doesn’t know enough about the events. He helped a scared nation get moving again, and for that at least, I am thankful.

Thanks for reading!

This is a post presented for the Quora blog The Defense Quorum and Jon’s Deep Thoughts. If you enjoyed this post and would like to support me in writing more like it, please visit: Support Jon Davis.

What are some of the major takeaways of President Obama’s Oval Office Address on meeting the threat posed by terrorism (December 2015)?

Quora Answers: Does President Barack Obama’s decision to stop deporting some illegal immigrants violate his oath of office?

I would say that it isn’t quite a violation of his oath. More a choice on distribution of resources, but it does set a dangerous precedent and I don’t think it is a good idea. 
What the President is advocating is that we should focus our immigration efforts away from nonviolent immigrants and focus it elsewhere. While this is sound in reasoning it is also going to put even more pressure on some of the hardest hit of the last recession and channel taxpayer funds away from their intended recipients. While I like that the President is advocating we do the right thing for these people, I disagree with it because to do so would hurt many Americans and many more Americans do not agree with this policy. I am also worried that this policy won’t actually have any power or affect any change to help those in question, but may just be a ploy to sway Latino voters. That is the short answer, here is the long one…

What is really being said here?
What the President is advocating is that a group of illegal immigrants no longer fall under the threat of deportation. This isn’t amnesty and it isn’t citizenship. It is just not being deported, according to his words. This group, according to the press conference of the President, will be limited to those who:

  • Were brought here by their parents at a young age.
  • Have been here for 5 years or more.
  • Are seeking to go to college or join the military.

http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video…

I try to be fair in my posts, so you will see pros and cons. I have my opinion and I will share it, but I will also try and give alternative points of view as well.

Pros:
The immigration system will be able to focus it’s efforts on more dangerous criminal immigrants and be diverted from less dangerous threats such as students. 
One of the arguments mentioned that there was a need to fix the broken immigration system. This is true and has been for a very long time. The borders, particularly the southern border, has been a highway for criminal smuggling activity for decades. This is a main route for drugs, weapons and human trafficking into the United States and black market money out. This argument is not concerned that too many people entering are flooding labor markets, but that without the secure borders we are allowing dangerous contraband to enter the states and even more dangerous people. Here the argument makes sense because the initiative does focus efforts where they will be most useful.

More suspicious and deserving of our attention…

Than this.

Some very good talent will be kept in the United States that would have otherwise been lost through deportation.
I have a great deal of faith in many immigrants who come into this country. They possess within them a great courage and enthusiasm, enough to leave their homeland and start fresh among strangers. Immigrants and first generation Americans have the highest rates of entrepreneurship in the country and are serving as much of the foundation of our economy. Many come here just seeking work and don’t come with baggage that many of my fellow white privileged Americans seem to hold. We feel entitled and a lack humility. Many of the Chinese and Mexicans that I have known and work with in particular exemplify this mentality of hard work and humility while leading a quiet life. They add to not only the countries financial wealth, but also her cultural, moral and social wealth as well. If those who fit this description, a reasonable filter being those seeking higher education, are ignored by immigration then perhaps that is a better use of INS resources and might not be the worst thing.

Cons:
There are already programs in place to protect immigrants who seek college education and service in the military.
While I was in service in the United States Marine Corps I served with several illegal immigrants. Of course they had become naturalized citizens by this time, but I, as a home grown white American was in shock the United States would allow such people into the forces! (This statement was meant in sarcasm people, unbunch your britches.) But it was a surprise to me. Several of them described a process of expedited citizenship in exchange for service in the military. That being said, I am not an expert on this process, but I am aware that it already exists and doesn’t just offer protection, but citizenship. Along with military service comes veteran benefits including the GI Bill and loans for housing. There are also other programs in place to aid illegal immigrants in college already in place that I will mention later down. So the President’s statement seems at best misleading, at worst creating a new solution to an already fixed problem. In the case of these other Marines, many of them were my friends and I trusted them very much. As a born citizen I think that those who leave behind their homeland, pick up weapons and fight our wars beside the “true” Americans don’t just need to be awarded citizenship, there needs to be a statue somewhere in their honor. That, however is a different post. The point is, this program already exists, why is he selling a new one?

This is already the standard practice of INS.
The Immigration and Naturalization Service is already fighting one of the toughest unsung wars in US history. They are undermanned and patrol a massive area. By practice their policies already focus on the most dangerous and the most trafficked areas. They already put much more effort into apprehending those who are a danger to the citizens of the United States than they ever would to a college student. The President in his speech remarked that in recent years there has been a great increase in dangerous immigrant captures. This could not have been done checking ID’s at the local community college in Denton, Texas or any other college campus for that matter. It also can’t be done by “being a nation that expels young kids” which is a quote from the speech that seemed more intended to incite an emotional response rather than reflect what statistically is not the case with the majority of deportations.

This represents the President choosing to ignore certain mandates for certain people.
This is really the heart of the question that Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez was pointing to. By saying that laws set about can be ignored he is saying that he has the power to prosecute whomever he wishes, even treating two people differently who are guilty of the same crime. This is a funny grey area since in this case neither are citizens of the United States, but the ramifications are scary. Could the President or future Presidents one day do the same for other groups, Democrat/Republican, Black/White, Male/Female? I believe that was the direction Mr. Gonzalez was pointing to. No matter how nice it would be a President should not have the power to choose who they do and do not punish. This reasoning places the President’s moral high ground and doing the right thing ideals on a foundation built on very sandy soil. That being said, he would certainly not be the first president, Republican or Democrat (or Federalist) to do this, in all fairness.

This is in opposition to the wishes of many, many American people.
While the issue is deeply contested most Americans worry about too much immigration. They are concerned about dispersal of jobs, resources such as in the public schools and entitlement funds for a growing portion of the population that goes largely untaxed. They feel that if the investment in tax payer dollars is made in these young people there is no guarantee that they will stay around to better America for it. There is also a large argument brewing between the differences in American illegal immigration policy and the much more severe policies of other countries, one ironically being Mexico. This worries a lot of people. Whatever your particular stance on this issue is, a very large number of Americans do not support any program they feel makes it easier for illegal immigrants to take advantage of American wealth. Since so many feel this way, it leads me to say that the President’s job isn’t to decide when the American people are wrong, but to be a conduit for their wishes. He is their elected representative to the most powerful position in the United States. For that reason, I would view that it is his obligation to follow the expressed wishes of the majority and not decide on his own what is right.

This hurts the Americans who right now are already suffering greatly.
Another major concern is that this new policy will create a massive surge in college attendance. While at face value this sounds like a wonderful thing, there are issues with this. The problem with many schools today is that they have already dumbed down the curriculum to open their doors for less serious students and gain their tuition. This is creating a generation of college graduates little better off and with no fewer skills than when they entered school. To confound this with a flood of students not interested in learning, but on not getting deported would only dilute the school systems efficacy further. This brings about the question of payment. There are already numerous government grants that reward a great deal of college tuition based only on household income. Proof of citizenship is not an issue and therefore, government money is used to compensate non citizens for attending college. This too reflects a bad policy diverting funds intended for the American poor to non-Americans. Skip ahead a few years and you have a massive influx into the job market for people aged 22-28.

This group recently has been hit the hardest with the unemployment crisis ranging at times of 25% unemployment. While the average unemployment during the recession was between 9-10% the young college graduates struggled around 14%. This being due to slow growth in the economy, the lack of growth in entry level jobs and few start-ups in non-tech industries. These people are already having hard times getting their carriers off the ground and to invite more competition would be inviting failure for all parties involved. This sub-crisis has been a major contributor to many of the recent politcal action of youth like the Occupy protests.  While I disagree with much of the movements rationalities I do see their point of view in this struggle. We already have a country who’s economy can’t support it’s current college graduates, what good would more and less educated ones do? You have to ask, “As a country do we want to weaken one of our most vunerable groups of proven talent by inviting, supporting and protecting non-citizens?”

In summary…
No. I do not think that this is expressly going against the President’s oath. He is choosing to govern the resources of agencies like the INS in a more efficient way. He is also not dealing with American citizens in how he chooses to follow the laws or mandates. I do however think that is policy is a bad one because:

  1. It doesn’t actually create any new programs that don’t already exist in one way another or are not already the standard practice.
  2. It could put new pressures on schools and the labor market hurting American citizens.
  3. It is built around the story of the “hard working, good grade earning kid who has never done anything wrong” who has historically never been the real target of deportation. This is an emotional pull which diverts people from issues and dilutes them in idealism and racial debate.
  4. Is against the wishes of many, many Americans. As I mentioned before, it is the role of a president to be the representative of the people, not the one who decided when they are wrong.

My final concern is one also shared by the Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, that the President may be trying to use this as a hook to gain Latino voters a few months before the election. These of course are actual citizens, but sympathetic to many illegal immigrants today.