Thursday, May 23, 2013

Ending the war: a refutation of fear

There is no doubt. For me, today is one of the most important days of Barack Obama's presidency.

As regular readers here know, for quite a while now I've been writing about the need to end the indefinite war. I must admit that over the last couple of years, I've felt a bit lonely in championing that cause. But I've always had a feeling that this is where the President was going - even as all the talk on the left ignored the fact that we were at war and focused instead on civil liberties as a concern.

Today...headlines like these tell the story:




OMG - all of the sudden I don't feel so alone anymore. And if those titles don't represent a summary of your take-away from President Obama's speech today, you are clearly missing the forest for the trees.

Here's what the President said about that:
So America is at a crossroads. We must define the nature and scope of this struggle, or else it will define us. We have to be mindful of James Madison’s warning that “No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.” Neither I, nor any President, can promise the total defeat of terror. We will never erase the evil that lies in the hearts of some human beings, nor stamp out every danger to our open society. But what we can do -- what we must do -- is dismantle networks that pose a direct danger to us, and make it less likely for new groups to gain a foothold, all the while maintaining the freedoms and ideals that we defend. And to define that strategy, we have to make decisions based not on fear, but on hard-earned wisdom...

The AUMF is now nearly 12 years old. The Afghan war is coming to an end. Core al Qaeda is a shell of its former self. Groups like AQAP must be dealt with, but in the years to come, not every collection of thugs that labels themselves al Qaeda will pose a credible threat to the United States. Unless we discipline our thinking, our definitions, our actions, we may be drawn into more wars we don’t need to fight, or continue to grant Presidents unbound powers more suited for traditional armed conflicts between nation states.

So I look forward to engaging Congress and the American people in efforts to refine, and ultimately repeal, the AUMF’s mandate. And I will not sign laws designed to expand this mandate further. Our systematic effort to dismantle terrorist organizations must continue. But this war, like all wars, must end. That’s what history advises. That’s what our democracy demands...

Our victory against terrorism won’t be measured in a surrender ceremony at a battleship, or a statue being pulled to the ground. Victory will be measured in parents taking their kids to school; immigrants coming to our shores; fans taking in a ballgame; a veteran starting a business; a bustling city street; a citizen shouting her concerns at a President.

The quiet determination; that strength of character and bond of fellowship; that refutation of fear -- that is both our sword and our shield.
Our country experienced a trauma on 9/11/01. I've never been particularly proud of how we handled that. We let our anger and fear be manipulated by the Bush administration into doing some pretty despicable things. President Obama has been tasked with cleaning up a lot of the mess we made of all that. And now he's asking us to join him in completing that work so that we can move on.

Ending this war means not letting our fear drive our actions anymore. We can recognize and deal with the threats we face by summoning our "hard-earned wisdom" and "quiet determination." Who better to lead us into that kind of healing than this President?

2 comments:

  1. That's why we voted for him. I'd hate to think what the lunatics running against him would've done.

    Vic78

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  2. I had no doubt that we were headed for an end to the "War on Terror" - President Obama madee it perfectly clear that by 2014 it would be finished. He ended the Iraq war and I've always had faith that he would end it entrely as promised. The hair-on -fire act on the supposed "left" - which I suspect is not so much left as right-wing libertarian for the most part - is nothing more than a few useful idiots allowing themselves to be manipulated by the right into joining the Obama hate fest they've had going from day one. It's been fairly transparent if you ask me.

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