Obama condemns Russia, calls for action against ISIS and Ebola
Addressing the U.N. General Assembly, President Barack Obama on Wednesday condemned Russia’s “might makes right” actions in Ukraine and warned that the world must coordinate action against threats ranging from Ebola to ISIS.
“There is a pervasive unease in our world—a sense that the very forces that have brought us together have created new dangers, and made it difficult for any single nation to insulate itself from global forces,” Obama said.
“As we gather here, an outbreak of Ebola overwhelms public health systems in West Africa and threatens to move rapidly across borders. Russian aggression in Europe recalls the days when large nations trampled small ones in pursuit of territorial ambition. The brutality of terrorists in Syria and Iraq forces us to look into the heart of darkness,” he added.
Obama criticized what he described as Moscow’s outlook as “a vision of the world in which might makes right—a world in which one nation’s borders can be redrawn by another.” He called upon other countries to be on “the right side of history” in dealing with Russia’s international actions.
The president said the current ceasefire in Ukraine offers an opening to peace, and the U.S. will lift its sanctions if Russia allows this state of affairs to persist.
Obama addressed criticism that America is hypocritical about fighting aggression abroad in light of police action and riots in Ferguson, Missouri this summer.
“Yes, we have our own racial and ethnic tensions. And like every country, we continually wrestle with how to reconcile the vast changes wrought by globalization and greater diversity with the traditions that we hold dear,” he said. “But we welcome the scrutiny of the world.”
Who are US’s Arab allies?
CNBC’s John Harwood reports on U.S. efforts to get other regional powers to participate in the campaign against ISIS strongholds.
Obama also focused on the fight against militants in the Middle East, emphasizing that “America will not base our entire foreign policy on reacting to terrorism.”
United States and its Arab allies began bombing Islamic State targets in Syria on Tuesday. This marked the first time that American-led action against the militant group, which is also known as ISIS or ISIL, has extended beyond Iraq. The airstrikes continued into Wednesday.
After initial hesitation to take on the group, the president has increasingly called for a group of allies to “degrade and destroy” ISIS.
In his speech, Obama called for the international community to address the rise of terrorism in four areas. destroy ISIS, explicitly reject the philosophy of violent religious extremism, stem the cycle of sectarian conflict and focus on creating opportunities for the young.
“No God condones this terror. No grievance justifies these actions. There can be no reasoning—no negotiation—with this brand of evil,” Obama said. “The only language understood by killers like this is the language of force. So the United States of America will work with a broad coalition to dismantle this network of death.”
Looking toward a long fight against extremism in the Middle East, Obama pledged to “neither tolerate terrorist safe-havens, nor act as an occupying power.”
But America will act to pursue freedom and peace throughout the world, the president insisted, and it will do so without being “distracted or deterred from what must be done.”
Later on Wednesday, Obama presided over a Security Council meeting to pass a resolution to fight the threat of ISIS. Despite the unanimous passage, the president underscored that its words must be more than symbolic.
“Resolutions alone will not be enough. Promises on paper cannot keep us safe. Lofty rhetoric and good intentions will not stop a single terrorist attack,” Obama said.
Obama Ignores Congress Again to Launch Syria Attack with No Legal Basis
By Paul Joseph Watson
President Barack Obama has once again flagrantly violated the U.S. constitution by launching air strikes on Syrian territory under the justification of an illegal framework and with no Congressional input whatsoever.
In a move that threatens to enflame the entire region, Washington launched a wave of Tomahawk cruise missile attacks against ISIS targets late last night. Early reports indicate that eight civilians, including three children, were killed during an aerial bombardment on the city of Raqqa.
Despite the administration enjoying widespread support for its military campaign against ISIS, with nearly two thirds of Americans advocating air strikes within Syrian territory, suspicions are rife that Washington will subsequently turn its weapons against the Assad regime, which it has been trying to overthrow for more than two years.
Whatever the necessity and justification of the campaign against ISIS, Obama’s decision to once again ignore Congress, just as he did before the ultimately disastrous attack on Libya, reinforces the precedent of the White House launching military action with absolutely no legal foundation whatsoever.
Shortly after reports of U.S. air strikes on Syria emerged, Congressman Justin Amash also summed up the feelings of some lawmakers to Congressional leaders’ failure to engage in a vigorous debate about the new conflict.
It’s irresponsible & immoral that instead of debating & voting on war, congressional leaders chose to recess Congress for nearly two months.
Although Congress recently voted to approve a plan to arm so-called “moderate” Syrian rebels (many of whom are aligned with or have sold weapons to ISIS), lawmakers did not give the green light to launch air strikes.
“What Congress never did was to specifically authorize a war,” writes Lynn Sweet. “The chain of events starting with Monday’s attacks in Syria may dilute pressure for another authorization vote. No matter what happens in the midterms, Congress may be hesitant to deny Obama war authorization when in fact the U.S. is again at war.”
President Obama claims that he has legal justification to attack ISIS based on the same 2001 authorization to use military force (AUMF) that preceded the war on terror. However, as W. James Antle notes, that law only covers “those nations, organizations, or persons” that “planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons.”
“On its face this is an implausible argument because the 2001 AUMF requires a nexus to al Qaeda or associated forces of al Qaeda fighting the United States,” Robert Chesney, a professor at the University of Texas School of Law, told The Daily Beast. “Since ISIS broke up with al Qaeda it’s hard to make that argument.”
Prior to the attack on Libya, Obama brazenly undermined the power of Congress by insisting his authority came from the United Nations Security Council and that Congressional approval was not necessary. “I don’t even have to get to the Constitutional question,” scoffed the President.
This time around, Obama hasn’t even bothered to get a rubber stamp from the UN, nor has he even addressed the notion that Congress should have a say in deciding whether America should commit itself to another military campaign which could easily expand into a full blown conflict given the Assad government’s vow that it will treat any U.S. military action within its territory as an act of war.
According to Congressman Walter Jones, Obama’s failure to obtain Congressional approval for the 2011 attack on Libya constituted “an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under article II, section 4 of the Constitution.”
By once again snubbing Congress, Obama has brazenly violated the constitution and committed yet another impeachable offense.