In U.N. Speech, Obama Vows to Fight ISIS ‘Network of Death’

President Obama on Wednesday charted a muscular new course for the United States in a turbulent world that includes threats by the Islamic State.

Comments: 265

  1. President Obama made a very moving and forceful speech. However, it did not address the most cost effective and realistic approach that can achieve peace for millions of Iraqi civilians who have known nothing but death and destruction over the past 13 years or so.
    To kill the Isil monster the US does not need boots on the grounds. What it needs to do is to make sure that the mostly Shia Iraqi government shares power with the Sunni minority. Otherwise it will cut off all military and civilian aid.

    This is the leverage the US inexplicably has not used, when this is the only way to lasting peace in Iraq.

  2. And this would be exactly what Iran (Shia) would like us to do. Then they could fill the vacuum left by us. Iran would get Iraq almost without firing a shot. IS is headed by hardcore Al Qaeda tactically, and technically by former Saddam military(Bath/Sunni). They hate Shia. To make it easy, they all look alike.

  3. Iraq and Iran governments are closer now more than they have ever been in recent history. They share the same religious beliefs of the Shia sect of Islam. However the similarities end there. Iran cannot “get Iraq” any more than it has gotten already. Common religious beliefs are not enough. Both speak different languages; have different cultural traditions and history, which sets a majority of Arab speaking Iraqis and Farsi speaking Iranis apart. Just like the majority in France and Spain share the same religion -Catholicism, but have different histories and cultures. On the other hand Arab Iraqis - both Sunnis and Shias inherit centuries old common bonds of language, culture and traditions that if the US manages to get an equitable power sharing deal between Iraqi Shias and Sunnis, it will help build Iraq into a formidable force to check and even push back ISIL without US boots on the ground.

  4. To me Obama's speech was more about insisting that the US has the right to do whatever it wants and bomb any country it wants, because it is the leader of the free world and is always right in its judgement. Sorry I don't buy any of that point of view.

    One man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter. Who gets to make the judgement call. I don't always believe in the judgement call of the US. The speech to me was more about insisting the US has the right to do whatever it wants in the world because it has the strongest military.

    Obama said there was no right to redraw borders, although I didn't hear him attack the Scottish Referendum, the creation of Kosovo or S. Sudan. His point of view is that ONLY the US can redraw borders. Sorry about that but the right to self-determination is in the UN Charter and provinces, oblasts, etc have a right to self-determination without interference or permission of the US.

    Whatever Obama says does not make it so. It is arrogant to insist that we are the leaders of the free world and are thus entitled to rule it and make decisions about what other countries can or cannot do. That is HUBRIS in the first degree and one would hope that NEMESIS comes along to end the US HUBRIS.

    We have enough problems at home which require our money and attention. Leave the rest of the world alone. It will do better it. There is no such thing American Exceptionalism - it is just US HUBRIS.

  5. Judyw, You ask, "One man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter. Who gets to make the judgement call." Perhaps you can ask the guys who got their heads cut off whether these guys are terrorists or freedom fighters. Let us know when you hear.

  6. You were tuned to a different channel and speech from the ones I heard.

  7. The problem is NOT ISIS - to me this speech dealt with our view that we can go and bomb any country we want. There is almost universal agreement that ISIS is a terrorist organization, but there are many organizations opposing their government in this world - is every group that opposes and fights against their government a terrorist organization? I think the KLA is a terrorist organization and at one time so did the US, but the US bombed Serbia so the KLA could have its own country. Just an example of where there is no bright line to determined who is a terrorist. The issue is the shades of grey.

  8. Ten years from now when ISIS has been "dismantled and destroyed," another terrorist entity with an equally ominous sounding name (Cobrah Kai maybe?) will be striking fear into the hearts of our amygdala-centric citizens. The leaders and media will tell us that ISIS was merely a JV squad compared to CK, and the military industrial complex merry-go round will keep on spinning, lining the pockets of a few global plutocrats who are quite content to suck up the attention and tax dollars that should be going toward Universal Pre-K funding, healthcare, and domestic infrastructure investment.

  9. Yes, if the Sunni countries of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey,etc. with the backing of the U.S., were not supporting these rebel groups with weapons, money, etc. over the past approx 3 years, the uprising in Syria would have likely been over within 6 months. Syria is a secular country so we should be demanding to know the true reason why it is in our interest to overthrow Syria's leader, Assad.

  10. You forgot to mention Russia.

  11. e.s. wants us not to overthrow Assad since "Syria is a secular country."
    Nazi Germany was a pretty secular, even proto-pagan, country. It's not what you believe that makes you an enemy, it's what you do to your people and others.

  12. At the UN today President Obama provided the best example of authentic leadership and gave the best speech I've heard in my 75 years on earth.

  13. Listening to this speech was an hour that I would not trade with any other in my 81 years on earth.

  14. Saddest thing I read this week. So sorry.

  15. The fact that this comment is at the top of the "Reader's Picks" demonstrates the sheer mindless partisanship of many Times readers. The same speech would have been blasted if it was from a Republican and everyone knows it.

  16. I have voted the Democratic ticket for years but I am against this proposed surge. It is a eastern mess that the American is not about to understand. We have enough problems here at home.

    We lost thousands in Viet Nam and too many in Bush's imagined war!

  17. Unlike this one, Obama's war, Bush's war was approved legally by a huge Congressional bipartisan majority. Good to remember.

  18. We need a regime change in congress. Republicans cannot get a free ride on such an important matter and then claim Obama exceeded his constitutional limitations because he didn't get their permission. Fox is already debating this issue. Unspoken and unsaid, the Middle East is on notice. Clean up your act or this is going to become entirely your problem. We are not going to put boots on the ground. That is your job not ours.

    Obama at least had the courage and intelligence to proceed. Has anyone externally ever won a sectarian war? No. Personally, I am very tired of the obvious racist, political, hate-mongering by some politicians who should know better.

  19. Good to remember congress courageously left without voting.

  20. President Obama conveyed forceful leadership at the U.N. while skirting the legality of the U.S. led attack on ISIS in Syria. But, for me, the statement of the day was uttered by General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon who said at the Security Council meeting chaired by Mr. Obama that "missiles kill terrorists, but good governance kills terrorism." By that Mr. Moon did not mean democracies like Canada, England, France and the U.S., but the "politics of inclusion" that lets all groups, especially Muslims, participate in the economic opportunities of prosperous western societies. Unfortunately England and France have felt the sting of their inability to bring their Muslim communities into the main stream. Consequently, disaffected Muslim youths have been expressing their frustration and rage by joining ISIS. Clearly, part of a successful strategy against terrorism is to follow Secretary Moon's advice and extend an economic helping hand to Muslim youth mired in poverty and unemployment.

  21. Testosterone driven Muslim youth -- what's their end goal? Take over power and wealth??? (the poverty, unemployment arguments get no sympathy from me anymore. BTW what was the name of the movie where the Muslim girl pretended to be a boy to accompany her widowed mother when the lady needed to get things done. The daughter went to school with the boys (why educate girls) and once discovered was married to an old man... (made into a sex slave-- let's be frank about it.) Great movie.

  22. Immediately after Obama's Arab Spring speech in Cairo, he doled out $5 billion extra to each of Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria to help disaffected youth find legit employment. Didn't work, and by the way, where's the $15 billion in handouts for American youths who are out of work.

  23. I have viewed this latest run-up to war with anxiety and disgust. ISIS is frightening alright, but Obama's rhetoric, especially in the absence of clear objectives and strategy (including exit strategy) and consideration of potential and unanticipated outcomes of our further involvement in the Middle East, is truly horrifying. It's as if he is channeling George Bush. Are we really willing to accept a state of permanent war? Then I suggest the US should have a system of universal compulsory service. If everyone had some skin in the game, maybe us ordinary people would have some power to temper this madness.

  24. This speech was not so much about ISIS as it was about the US right to bomb any country it wants. ISIS, yes they are horrible and savage, and maybe the US has a right to bomb them, BUT not without UN or Congressional Approval. This speech was about doing whatever we want in the world - ISIS is just one group that we are using to bomb Syria and bring about regime change in that country. Never forget OUR real object is not so much ISIS as it is regime change in Syria and it is not up to the US to do regime change in any country it wants

  25. Now that he sees what has to be done he must act swiftly. Passing universal compulsory service would take years.

  26. The President is fully authorized to take action against ISIL.

    Whether Assad and supporters are collateral damage is irrelevant. Regime change in Syria is not keeping me awake at night, but the cries of the children Assad gassed is.

  27. I gotta tell you all, from previous comments and these so far people are saying"talk with ISIS," "Try and work with them," diplomacy basically, and whatnot because ISIS will sit down and happily listen then cut off your head, put it on a pole and shoot it out of a stolen tank. Come on, now. really? Are we on the same planet or is this all made up for my hallucination that's been going on for months now?

  28. I read a good number of these comments everyday and I am not hearing anyone stating that we should sit down and talk with the terrorists. What liar are you listening to? Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, et al?

  29. Just a 'fog of words', and we know where that leads. Dishonesty, untruthfulness and loss of blood and treasure. A coalition? More like a gang that will run at the first sign of difficulty. O will be long gone when the real fighting must take place.

  30. well, fortunately Coolhunter, you will have nothing to do with the outcome.

  31. I'm grateful for a President who is slow to go to war yet is willing to do so when the reality of the ground changes, as it so often does. Mr. Obama is a careful thinker, and thankfully, he is not inflexible; he is able to make difficult and politically uncomfortable changes as needed.

  32. pkb, I thought so as well, until yesterday. Now I see him as no better than Bush. "Let's just add a line to our post war resume!" These young and niave men are so called leaders who "never" served in the Armed Forces.

  33. I agree 100%! I'm rather proud that we have a level headed leader who doesn't rush off to war. Obama may not desire conflict, a good thing if you ask me, but he has proven to be an able leader and deadly to our enemies.

  34. So slow that thousands of Christians were killed and the whole region is living in fear. Now we have twice the job ahead. Slow or just plain stupid?

  35. Would it be too much for the "newspaper of record" to provide readers with the actual text of the resolution, along with whatever speeches and jounalistic spin dominate the story? Perhaps the text is buried somewhere in the paper, but I have searched in vain. One of the concerns here is that the "legally binding" resolution might provide a permanent ticket for any U.S. President (or the Head of State of any other country) to take legal action against any organization that it chooses to label as terrorist. It might provide a blank check for any U.S. President to take military action against any weaker country without at least having to go to Congress for approval. "Terrorist" is a pretty broad brush these days, even applied at times to the teachers union. And typically, organizations or charities are labeled as terrorist-supporters by a faceless bureaucracy with no right of appeal and all the evidentce (if any) hidden behind the shield of "national security." It's ironic that people who frequently express their distrust of government and elected officials (often rightfully so) are quick to trust nameless security forces in this sphere.

  36. Orwell had it right. That's far more frightening than any acronym-named Muslim organization.

  37. You're right on all counts, but Congressional approval. If the POTUS wants war, Congress is constitutionally obligated to declare it. Only Congress is supposed to that. People who want guns for personal use seem to forget that part of the Constitution and only cry for their rights under the Second Amendment.

  38. There's a great deal of wealth that needs to be protected. We're there to protect that wealth for those who can not protect it themselves. It's important to the world economy that we do so.

  39. "War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses."
    Smedley Butler

  40. Then you send your kids and your dollars to Syria if you want to protect world wealth. I want mine to stay here in this country.

  41. Always an effective and persuasive speaker, of undeniable intelligence and charisma.

    Which makes it more worrisome and disappointing when the deeds fall short of the words.

  42. He's already doing the deeds. He knows he will be criticized for this, and established a record of deeds before he spoke.

  43. Carol, he raised our expectations sky high with his first campaign of 'hope' — I voted for him. The second time the expectations were lower, don't remember his motto — I voted for him.

    He has acomplished much, but much less that promised. The circumstances of his coming to office were the worst possible and the opposition by republicans ever since have been nothing but treasonous.

    Only the arrow of time will tell whether he struck target.

  44. Of course, but listen! He still speaks of hope vs. fear. I think his arrow is a masterpiece.

  45. We should stay out of this conflict.
    We have no allies among the belligerents, only enemies.
    Our security would be better enhanced by taking the steps necessary to keep these enemies outside our borders.

  46. It's déjà vu all over again all over again.

  47. President Obama's second speech, addressing the young Muslims of the world, should raise concerns for all Americans. What will it accomplish? Somehow his first speech in Cairo (the first year as president), did not work; except for the turbulence and killing going on right now. With all due respect, does our President actually believe that the young Muslims of the world will now listen to him?

    The ultimatum and harsh language, will, by all accounts, fail. It is fair to say, that those President Obama is talking to, were educated in the madrassa's (Muslim religious schools) of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. It is what they believe...the good or the bad.

    President Obama's attempt to change the Muslim world is a fantasy. It does not mean that we should not defend ourselves. The alarming thing is his passion to get us involved in the midst of a Muslim war among themselves.

    The threat to our homeland should not be a cause of an unending war with Muslims.

  48. While President Obama may be concerned that the increasing instability in the region may make Israelis "ready to abandon the hard work" to make peace, their Palestinian counterparts have yet to begin. Both the PA and Hamas share one thing in common: they have no interest in an end to the conflict where Israel exists as the acknowledged homeland for the Jewish people. Abbas said so explicitly to Secretary of State Kerry and the Hamas Charter couldn't be any more clear. What ails the Middle East is not Israel, that much should be clear to any objective observer. Friedman's op-Ed piece today quoted an al-Arabya journalist who concluded that Arab society has collapsed into chaos and that is what we're witnessing. Israel is not the cause. If the Arab countries tried to emulate it's example rather than fantasize about its destruction, everyone would be better off. Don't hold your breath, though, Islamic theology needs to change first before Jews are held in anything other than contempt.

  49. The only differences between ISIS and Saudi Arabia is the number of beheadings and the use of cameras to record them and publicize then by ISIS. But do any in our government loudly protest the Saudi's beheadings, and is the US going to start attacking that country with air strikes? The emergence of ISIS is the result of illegal US invasions and the chaos and blowback that result. But our leaders will go on holding hands with the Saudis, literally, and not hold them to account. For the oil.

  50. "Only difference?" Last I checked, the Saudis were beheading those they regard as criminals, rather than innocent civilians from other countries, including our own.

  51. “This [the ISIS atrocities; Russia, etc] is a vision of the world in which might makes right..."

    Indeed, and one which is shared by the US and the West. We aren't exactly bombing ISIS with values, now are we? Might, in fact, does make right.

  52. What President Obama is saying sounds very similar to what President Lyndon Johnson told Americans in 1964-65. Johnson said we seek no wider war. He also said he was not going to send American boys to do what Asian boys ought to do. When Johnson became president (Nov. 22, 1963), America has 16,000 "advisers" in Vietnam. When he left office, America had 535,000 combat troops in Vietnam. I have the strong impression President Obama does not know what he is doing. Congress should cut off the money for the current Iraq-Syria operation. All Americans should be brought home immediately -- before there are any casualties.

  53. Bravo Coleman, It appears that every President feels he must have a war in his history bio. Such egos who have never been on the battle field!

  54. The parallels with Vietnam are rather eerie. Johnson, however, was lying in 1964; he knew the war would expand after he was elected. What Obama is thinking is anybody's guess, but in my opinion he sincerely (and naively) believes he can win this fight without ground troops. It's not impossible that 100,000 US troops will be in Syria-Iraq before this administration ends, but I would bet against it. Politically it could kill the Democrats' hopes of holding the presidency in 2016. Obama I think will try to skate through 2016 by containing ISIS with airpower, rather than seeking to defeat it with ground troops.

  55. My friend Richard you sound like a derailed train. I am no Obamas' fan, but this time relative to ISIS and like terrorist activities he has hit the nail right on the head. We can not sit down and allow them to conquer and subdue half the world, befoere considering action.

  56. If there is going to be a settlement and peace in the Moslem world including Iraq, Syria, Pakistan and Afghanistan not to mention Palestine and Israel it is going to take a serious and enduring change of heart by the individuals, governments and movements backing sectarian warfare and terror with their wealth.

    This change or heart must include all the radical religious leaders who simply will not tolerate other sects of their own religion let alone people who espouse other religions or no religion at all.

    Frankly I am not even sure that the cutting off funding will bring and end to violence since the blood feuds, vendettas, enmities and hatreds of decades if not centuries of mutual persecution and violence have so warped the psyche of the population and so deprived them of their human rights that It is hard to believe that they can learn to live together now.

    Fundamentally there is nothing the that the Western Developed World including the United States can do besides defend our interests and blunt the weapons of international terrorism to settle this dispute.

    It is going to take the people of this region of all persuasions and ethnicities coming to the realization that they are destroying themselves with hate, religious bigotry insane ideologies. Only by stopping the insanity themselves can they end this all to bloody mess.

  57. Unfortunately, I cannot buy into any of President Obama's rhetoric. The thought of spending trillions of dollars to rid the Mid-East of ISIL and now another offshoot of Al Quaeda without the approval and debate within our Congress is unprecendented. These men and women are cowards except for those who did not support our bombing escapades in Syria. We will not emerge victorious in yet another foolish war. America will go bankrupt with our continued involvment which looks like this will go on ad infinitum.

  58. What is depressing and demoralizing about Americans is that about half who comment appear to complain and the other half to support Obama on any given issue. Do any of those who comment bother to read, research, or think in depth? Very few, I think.

    Without confirmation bias, hatred, politics, religion, or racism what will happen if we do not confront Islamic violence and insanity? Will it simply go away? Will peace reign? Think, be honest, and describe the alternative to being ruthless with Islamic fundamentalism that will lead to a happy end.

  59. The problem of the IS Empire is best addressed by the nations closest to it.
    The U S can provide complimentary support from the Air and by sea, and resources for ground actions by these nations.
    Boots on the ground can raise risk and complexity. More importantly, direct ground troops can inflame regional sensibilities against the the United States.
    We want to avoid the COIN myth. The idea of building democracies is thoroughly discredited.

  60. Very simplistic approach to the situation. The same approach that lead us into Afghanistan and Iraq for "nation-building" in the last decade. (Not to mention Viet Nam.) The difficulty is America has no viable and sustainable allies in this encounter. History has shown "European Free Riders" of NATO will leave any coalition if difficulty occurs at home. (Presently only France and Britain have given tacit limited approval.) Turkey, a NATO member and bordering the region, doesn't appear to be giving much assistance. And exactly why is this a situation which demands America's leadership? Is America more threatened than Western Europe, the Asian Pacific Rim? No, to the contrary. Europe has a large diaspora of people from the Middle East Region of these conflicts. The Asian Pacific Rim (China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan) and India rely on Persian Gulf oil for their economic well-being. Personal opinion, the United States needs to assist in coalitions, not create them. You create it, you basically are required to own it. And eventually, that will lead to American boots on the ground, with limited or no international assistance. Suggestion: Begin by being ruthless with Islamic fundamentalism at home. Secure the borders. Limit and scrutinize immigration from the region. And fast track deportation proceedings on those who are deemed security risks.

  61. For those who fret about the legality, remember that it is the responsibility of congress to approve it. When congress abdicates that responsibility by not taking a vote, we all lose. This is a lose/lose situation. It forced Obama to take the needed action on his own. The Republicans think they have a win/win situation. They can criticize if something goes wrong and accept kudos if it goes right. The question for us should be and "where were you when a vote was needed". It was the political avoidance thing to do for what should have been a requirement for everyone to take a position. Just one time, I would like to see a politician do what is right rather than be concerned about who is right.

  62. I do not recall the President asking for a vote. But, hey, don't let that fact put water on your partisan fire.

  63. John,

    Don't let reality put out your snark. As if the R controlled House does almost anything Obama requests.

  64. Boehner made it clear there would be no vote. Last time I looked it is in congress's job description, not POTUS's. Only Congress has the power. Doesn't matter whether he asks or not. Boehner didn't want a vote which might impact republicans.

  65. "....whether one year from now or 10. I can promise you America will remain engaged in the region...." What is this really about? The nations of the region can defeat ISIS/ISIL with their own air power. There is plenty of it in Saudi Arabia, Turkey and other nations, including billions of dollars and hundreds of fighter jets. We can advise from here in the U.S. but we do not need to be actively involved. It's a regional issue that we cannot and should not address. The people in the area or the safety of the U.S. are not why we are bombing, bombing bombing. This can only be about 'big oil'.

  66. Ann,

    Thus far neither Syria or Iraq nor the Peshmerga have been able to take on the "JV". Your views match Obama's views until he got into office. Perhaps reality is not the friend of the left.

  67. I strongly agree with all that you say Ann Marie but I do not believe that "This can only be about 'big oil'."

  68. Reality like the weapons of mass destruction. give me a break.

  69. A fiery speech indeed.I cannot judge how much of it was just plain rhetoric. That said I would he made a real case to declare war. There is a defined barbaric enemy- the ISIS. It is confined to a specific geographic area. There is an end point- destruction of the ISIS.It is not go-it- alone. There is broad based coalition. To me, the most important part was,"Not acting as an occupying power". Nor promised boots on the ground. Another interesting part was about Iran. Looks like Israel cannot chide us to make choices especially since Israel is so hypocritical about Iran going nuclear. As for Assad- for the moment he is fighting on the same side as us. Therefore he is not of priority for now. To me though ,unlike Bush we are in the right part of the town.

  70. Where did I get the idea that THIS summit session at the U.N. had something to do with climate change? I must have had a dream, I guess. Or was it an hallucination?

  71. Since the president is now "calling on the world to join the fight" against IS, one would think that he's speaking to those nations having the greatest stake in IS's defeat. Does that now include UN member states Iran, which we have repeatedly threatened, and Syria, against which he is presently waging war?

  72. Please explain in what sense Obama is at present "waging war against Syria."

  73. I'm amazed by how many commenters think it is a good idea to ignore ISIS and hope for the best. There are extreme jihadist groups strectching from West Africa to Pakistan who hate the USA, and these groups pose a threat to our allies, to the US and to the world economy. Obama gets it finally, and he knows that decisive action is required.

  74. A good question to ask: Why and how did they come to hate us? Could it be because we interfere in their part of the world in ways that they find offensive?

  75. RE "There are extreme jihadist groups stretching from West Africa to Pakistan who hate the USA..."

    I expect that these groups actually hate outsiders who spy on them, and bomb them, and prop-up their enemies. That just happens to describe the USA.

    From what I've read, I don't like ISIS. But it seems that few in the Middle East are willing to actually resist them. Isn't this sort of a parallel to Vietnam, where the USA was frightened about a domino falling, but the local population didn't really care... or even favored the new regimen?

    It's time for America to mind its own business.

  76. Re: " Why and how did they come to hate us?"

    Because we dismantled the Ottoman Empire after the first world war, and installed puppet rulers in the newly created countries from that empire. They want to recreate their Caliphate with no consideration for universal human rights. If nothing is done, this infection of humanity can only get worse.

  77. I keep hearing from President Obama that we "have American interests" in the region. What is he talking about? Oil? American employees of multinational corporations? If my hunch is correct then why should we offer our resources to multinationals that have no allegiance and pay no tax to our coffers here coupled with American expats that are able to exclude $97,500 of their income earned abroad along with housing allowances and other such tax breaks as they are not paying for protection either.

    I listened to Obama this morning and all I could think about is how hypocritical this country sounds and whose interests are we trying to rescue. These wars are tribal and civil war related and we do NOT have any American interests in the Middle East other than ambassadors which need to be brought home and the embassies closed during wars.

  78. I invite you to contemplate the phrase "an interconnected world." When an ISIL-organized or inspired 9/11-style attack occurs you will reconsider your statement that "these wars are tribal and civil war related and we do NOT have any American interests in the Middle East."

  79. Our Congress should return to DC and vote for or against President Obama’s warring interventionism in Iraq and Syria before the midterm elections. War and peace is too big an issue to put on the back burner when politicians are home schmoozing up to their sugar daddies for campaign dollars and worrying about reelection chances. If they do not return to DC and take ownership of war or peace for our country moving forward with their vote then they don’t deserve to represent America in any official capacity. Is our Congress made up of statesmen or cowards? I think the latter.

  80. Our Congress is full of politicians, not leaders. That's the problem.

  81. This "whether one year or ten"language makes me sick. It looks like there was a pre-planned intention of going back in Iraq for a second war, while Americans are told repeatedly that their social service programs cost to much. I guess spending the money on fighting someone else's war is more virtuous. Personally, I want a President and a Congress that takes care of the American People's needs, not the needs of some other country. And, I have a feeling their may be a HUGE backlash, if our social services money is spent on ANOTHER foreign war and if the rich don't start paying their fair share. The American People have lost ALL respect for Congress, and most Americans polled believe their own personal representative should be fired. In the face of this, Congress goes on a cowardly two month vacation so they don't have to voice an opinion on our new poorly thought out war.

  82. President Obama spoke forcefully to world leaders and said America is at war in the Middle East, again. Global business leaders were suppose to be concerned. They are not, why?

    In the past, even mention of war by an American President would provoke worldwide (negative) impact from oil prices to financial markets. Today, life goes on as usual. American wars are now ignored by the global economy.

    China's economy gets stronger/prosperous while the US keeps fighting winless wars in Asia and Middle East.

  83. Maybe you should pay attention a bit to business news...China economy is doing much worse than the US. The US is not fighting ISIL for money or oil, we have plenty of both. We are fighting them because they are vile barbarians who have no place in this world. When will the anti-war folks get their dander up about the mass murder of innocent people? When will we hear from those that are so concerned of the lives lost to errant bombs aimed at legitimate targets about why horrible reality being lived out by women who have been enslaved and sold into harems of ISIL fighters?

  84. @Uziel, not entirely true, at least in recent times equity market tends to rally when bombs fly - not yet I wish it so - perhaps because of the certainty principle.

    The strange case of oil is that now the U.S. is the largest producer of oil now. The anemic growth in China doesn't help. And a problem for Russia.

    To be clear, this is not an endorsement of the U.S. foreign policy, but we need to keep the economic facts straight and try not conflate the two

  85. Uziel, we are an inter-connected world economy, with America at the very center, especially since the U.S. Dollar is the world reserve currency. SO if America's wars weaken America's economy, the economies of the whole world -- including China's -- will get weaker... and a weaker world economy will make America's economy even weaker, and the cycle will keep heading downward.

    The world economy is now so fragile that further war -- especially stupid and useless wars -- will probably kick the world economy into another very Great Depression.

  86. Poor Obama.... this one I do not envy him -- but the other Muslim nations really should unite and solve this one by themselves. IMO time for the mostly Christian western nations to NOT be involved. I loathe all religious fanatics...frankly, at home and abroad.

  87. It is profoundly, frighteningly ironic that President Obama's speech referenced "The Heart of Darkness". Joseph Conrad's work of genius underlies the great "Apocalypse Now" about the futility of war as a civilizing endeavor.

    Conrad describes a European warship lying off the coast of Africa inexplicably firing its guns at a vast green continent.

    [Marlow listens to Kurtz talk while he pilots the ship, and Kurtz entrusts Marlow with a packet of personal documents, including an eloquent pamphlet on civilizing the savages which ends with a scrawled message that says, “Exterminate all the brutes!” The steamer breaks down, and they have to stop for repairs. Kurtz dies, uttering his last words—“The horror! The horror!”]

    Let us withdraw from Iraq and Syria and build peace in the rest of the world. We can't bomb ISIS to civilization. Their own savagery will run its course with or without our interference.

  88. With today's senseless execution of Hervé Gourdel, added to the previous recent executions, it is the beginning of the end for ISIL and its compatriots. While my sense of rage would support indiscriminate retribution, as a member of a civilized society, THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, I know that we have to temper our rage and be discriminating in our seeking out the perpetrators and supporters of these barbaric atrocities, who would love to kill you and me in similar fashion if given the opportunity!

    To add, I must admit that I am no longer sensitive to concerns about "collateral damage" in the pursuit of the necessary objectives. My fellow Americans, and yes, Republicans, that includes you too if you choose to call yourselves Americans, if you don't support our President today so we can forge this difficult road ahead, make yourselves known, because you have no right to call yourselves Americans. Enough is enough, we as Americans must stop bickering over useless political ideologies or we'll continue to see more of the same executions. It's time Americans stop acting like children. Go POTUS. I support you 100%!

  89. I'm pretty certain there have been MANY more senseless executions here in America (Newark, Detroit, Chicago, etc) that no poster here seems to care about nor mention --- but 3 killings by ISIS is reason to go to war?

    Why are we not at war in Chicago?

  90. Bravo!

  91. Yes, we all have serious domestic problems that our politicians choose to ignore whilst waging futile foreign wars. Why can't our leaders learn from the Iraq debacle and strengthen our homeland security?

  92. Aside from telling me the Republicans are making him do it (which would seem to be the ONLY thing they made him do), why is Obama leading us into another war? The "expectation" is this will take years. Unless ISIS is planning an attack on America - and there is no evidence other than "intelligence" (which is the same as what we were told about Iraq, Al-Queada etc) why are we doing it?

  93. Well, ... the reason is to stop ISIS before it establishes an unbeatable Caliphate.

  94. This time we are not the aggressors, we are the defenders and this action is righteous.

  95. Good Middle School debate topic.

  96. With sadness I watched/listened to national political leaders' speeches at the UN.

    They are yet to realise that continual world crises originate from them. And their sporadic short-term reactions to the crises ensures even more of the same and the continual wars.
    Unfortunately, despite their failures at world 'peace', the world seem so content with the leaders 'fire-fighter approach' to world crises. Then, they await the next.

    Reasons for the leaders persistent failure seem obvious.
    Only they can use wars to resolve their intractable crises -just as they are exempted from the consequences. They therefore conveniently use them during periods of political stress. (World Wars, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Ukraine, etcetera.)

    Moreover, unremitting 21st century realities ensure wars are now generally both 'un-winnable' and frustrating even for military superpowers.

    The solutions are simple and the effect will be immediate.
    National political leaders MUST accept the 'unthinkable' of excluding themselves from all war preventive efforts (and the UN which depends on them to function).
    Institute a new global independent (without obvious political attachment) body to use verifiable rules to resolve all pro-war crises; and so, prevent war.

    All pro-war crises would be easily amenable to these two initiatives which can NOW be instituted.
    Without them, the world will no doubt lurch from one crises into the next -as it relies on its national political leaders for 'peace'!!

  97. It would be nice, but Woodrow Wilson was not able to succeed. Salute your idealism.

  98. I love a good scold and our commander-in-chief didn't disappoint. He is an exceptional leader, keeping his powder dry until it's time to build a coalition of nations willing to stand up to bullies. FDR inspired and so will Obama. It's not complicated. Obama, like FDR, will summon the will of nations and together, we will turn back this evil. The battle is never ending, much to the chagrin of the far right and left. They love their protestations and the wringing of their hands. No Drama Obama is the perfect antidote to the drama kings and queens of mass hersteria. We're lucky to have such a leader.

  99. Absolutely, he proceeded deliberately and thoughtfully.

  100. And so it goes. American foreign policy will continue to revolve around the Middle East for the foreseeable future. It is an unhealthy fixation on oil and Israel that has gotten the US into this quagmire and, because of domestic politics, they can't get out. As long as those things determine US foreign policy (and all other foreign policy is second to that), there will be turmoil, oppression and bloodshed in the ME, and terrorist threat all over the world.

    However, much of the problem in the ME is internecine warfare - Sunni against Shia, and it has been thus for centuries. If the US thinks they can end that animosity they're myopic. If they think they can impose a different order in the middle of it, they're fools.

  101. This time around it is not such much the case of Sunni vs. Shia it's barbarian vs. civilization thus you have Iran, Shia power backing Sunni Muslims in their opposition to barbarism being carried out in the name of Islam. Too bad so many in this country are default supporters of barbarism.

  102. So you believe there is such a thing as 'humanitarian' bombing?

    The response to beheadings is just as barbaric when women and CHILDREN are dismembered from being bombed to smithereens.

  103. True, Einstein. If video and photographs of the deaths of each of the men, women, children, and infants who were dismembered by bombings in Iraq and elsewhere, as for the men beheaded, I wonder what outrage would ensue, and who we would punish for them.

  104. And what do we suppose will be the length and strength of our allies' participation. Sorry, but anyone with sense, or a sense of history, would do the utmost to avoid involving themselves in the tribalism of the area.

  105. This nation just honored the deaths of nearly 3,000 people on September 11th, all killed in 2001 after a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks were launched by the Islamic group al-Quaeda, attacks specifically designed to destroy and kill American civilians on American soil. At this writing I see little difference between al-Quaeda and ISIS or ISIL. They are all terrorists and I fully expect we will see another attack on American soil in the near future. This has to be a hard call for Obama, but after 9/11 he's right to try and keep the battles restricted to the Middle East and out of America.

  106. There are many ways that 9/11 could have been avoided and it did not have to involve bombing or wars.

  107. The response to the ebola epidemic seems totally out of proportion to the response to ISIL. Yes, beheadings are horrible, and so are the mass executions of prisoners of war and civilian minorities.

    Yet ebola threatens to kill tens of thousands in an equally horrifying way. If we can mobilize scores of warplanes at a cost of millions of dollars against ISIL--why can't the US lead a similar rapid and massive response against ebola?

    This imbalance reveals a staggering ethical blindness among our citizens and leaders.

  108. The threat of ISIL is very grave and much larger than most naive anti-war folk realize. There are hundred's of thousands of people massed at the Turkish boarder because of ISIL. They have enslaved women and sought to kill all that oppose their radical version of Islam. The time to confront and kill such threats is not when they are in your house but when they are as far from your has as possible.

  109. The time to confront them is to not give them arms or money in the first place!

    This endless war foreign policy is nuts!

  110. @JSH: There are 500,000 people who have had to flee their homes in C.A.R. There are tens of thousands murdered by warring ethnic groups, a situation bordering on genocide. Neither you nor Obama seem to care about them. Why is the Middle East so special that they get our funding, training and arms?

  111. President Obama knows how to give a leader's speech. What has changed for me is that he no longer has any credibility. His speech was filled with conventional wisdom and the usual bromides about helping nations change their cultures of terrorism. It was the usual claptrap. If you take much of what he said, and apply it to us, you will find out what is actually happening in U.S. foreign policy and in the Middle East (ME). What are we building in the ME? Nothing lasting, that is for certain. What are we destroying there? Syria, for one thing, and any hope of ever "pivoting to Asia", for another. His decision to put us back in Iraq, and add Syria to our agenda is a colossal mistake, and one that will haunt him, us, and his legacy for decades to come. He decided to show us who he is and make it clear to us that we are a military state, with a figurehead, civilian commander-in-chief, just as surely as Pakistan is run by a military junta.

    There will ALWAYS be another potential terrorist threat somewhere in the world that our leaders will trumpet to us in an effort to scare us into submission. They have been doing this since WWII, the last truly righteous war. I'm tired of the lies, threats and false wisdom of our leaders, including from the man we hoped would change the way Washington does business, and get us out of Iraq. He is business as usual, sold to us as somebody special, somebody truly different. What a bunch of marketing garbage we fell for, twice.

  112. How many heads will have to be cut off before you take the threat seriously. The sad thing is that many so far away and living such soft lives as we have here in the USA seem imperious to the idea that there is a serious threat present until that threat affects them personally. Then all we hear is "why it took so long for our government to act".

  113. Yeah, Obama knows how to give a speech. But does he know how to be a commander in chief? Fight terrorism by bombing empty buildings after the terrorists have been warned and fight terrorism by providing a sectarian military with weapons which are then handed over to the terrorists. All in the name of Americans. Is it no wonder that Americans are being beheaded?

  114. The beheading of the two journalists is not a supporting justification to go to war. These men, on their own volition, had gone into a very dangerous war zone. Our State Department had given them very strong advice not to travel to Syria. See the State Department web site. The warning is quite scary.

  115. U.S. out of the Middle East. Just leave. We can't make things better. We've tried.

    If the people over there need to have their wars, or learn to live together, or redraw borders, or change regimes -- fine, do it without us. (We did it ourselves 150 years ago.)

    When the dust settles, we're ready to do business with the decent ones. The theocratic lunatics will eventually answer to their own subjects.

  116. Andy,
    I agree. We need to have a real debate.
    "Just leave." Why not? What would happen? Run some scenarios. One scenario is that Middle Easterners will continue to fight among themselves. There will be a some attempted terrorists attacks on the U.S. and a few horrific ones, but for 99.99% of our population lives would be unaffected.

  117. The first person who can convincingly explain how bombing Syria will save Syria gets the next Nobel Peace Prize, or a box of chocolates from the 100 largest U.S. defense contractors. Because Barack Obama is starting to sound and act more and more like George W. Bush every day.

  118. Since no one, to my knowledge--and certainly not President Obama!--is making the nonsensical claim that "bombing Syria will save Syria," I fail to see the point of your comment. Since you apparently need to have things explained very, very clearly: 1) bombing targets IN a country is not the same thing as bombing the country itself; 2) the point of this bombing is to harm ISIS, not to "save Syria." Saving Syria is, at this point, beyond anyone's power.

  119. Oh, how refreshing--no more pretense to "spreading democracy" anymore? Are we supposed to applaud the President's efforts to destroy ISIS by bombing Syria back to the stone age? Simply because Syria is beyond saving? And because of "Terrorism," a useful and vaguely defined threat that justifies all manner of atrocities on our part including our indiscriminate dropping of bombs on Syria, which, we are now told, is expected to continue for years. Years. (Somewhere, an arms merchant is dancing a jig.) Of course, even you must admit this means that we are going to murder hundreds of thousands of innocent Syrians including children, who, by your reckoning, are just collateral damage and hardly worth a second thought, in a country simply beyond saving. The President made a wonderful warmongering speech today. It's too bad he never applies any of that forceful rhetoric toward solving any of America's problems at home.

  120. The King has spoken. Long live his Queens! Is this president already gone over the deep end? The Presidency is an elected office. The President does not actually lead the world. He actually is part of it. But you would never know it from his shoot-from-the-hip speeches. I am getting to believe that he believes everything he says...will be taken as truth by those that hear him, but not by him. Orwell, where are you when we need you? It's only a matter of time, folks.

  121. One can easily envision ISIL operative, who have shown a canny tech ability, reading such a post by a person in New York, the scene of one of the worst terrorist attacks in modern times, talking about how Obama is out of his league and the threat is not real and smiling. It's time for some to remember that Orwell was a fiction writer...where Obama is a leader in the real world.

  122. Unfortunately a JV CinC of a formerly Varsity defense force.

  123. Interesting how the biggest bully on the block, the U.S., seeks to bomb and 'influence' small countries which have little to no ability to fight back. Imagine if Obama for the sake of 'world security against terrorism' decided to do one its bombing or drone missions in a larger sovereign nation, let's say Russia, China or India.

    I watched a video of candidate Obama in 2007 and he is unrecognizable with this morphed version of himself circa 2014. The man who promised peace and stability has transformed into the attacker in chief. Honestly, I cannot even bear to look at him anymore, let alone listen to his vacuous speeches.

  124. I wonder if President Obama in 2014 knows quite a bit more classified information than did Candidate Obama in 2007. He also has a good sense of history, something that many Americans lack. He has pt all this togethe and his decision is the result. Do you really think if we waked away from this, snatched all of our nationals back home, that these loony-toons in Daesh would just slink away and forget about us? They are crazed ideologues, and they will change the lives of millions, if not billions of people if they are allowed to continue on their rampage. They are murdering and terrorizing large populations in Syria ad Iraq.

  125. Why in this avalanches of language concerning ISIS and US' interests in any Middle East conflict is so little reported concerning US-based petrochemical or other industries whose pipelines and resource-access are actually and directly being threatened and/or secured by our collective investment of mind, muscle and materiel there?

    Why is the "Follow the Money" thread not being much more aggressively pursued and documented in these columns?

  126. Good speech but of course he had to ruin it by drawing a tortured comparison of ISIS and a Ferguson police officer who most likely killed a young black man in self defense. Very disgusting.

  127. The president has assumed leadership of a frontal attack on ISIL/ISIL. The international community no doubt has no problem with America taking the inside lane in the long race against terrorism. It's more than clear that President Obama would prefer not to unleash the dogs of war, but given the clear and present danger of the Sunni militants, what other choices remained. The ridiculous Congress will doubtless hide under their beds while awaiting the mid-terms to blame the president for "usurping" their corroborative duties regarding war. What a lot.

  128. This "clear and present danger" was clear 6 months ago. Obama is very late getting into the game and is now playing catch up to the Islamic State - the "jayvee team" that we all recall.

  129. George Bush said this all much more effectively and he also wasn't a hypocrite. Put together a much larger coalition too. Obama is really just a poor man's Bush.

  130. Yea, it's real shame that his cause wasn't just.

  131. Actually we are now fighting ISIL with the largest Arab coalition since 1991. Try again conservatives...I'm sure you can find some other angle to bash Obama with.

  132. I hope the NYT will publish an estimate of the carbon footprint of Obama's new war in the ME.

  133. I believe it will be smaller than ISIS.

  134. Strong speech by our president. As David Brooks said on NPR, it is admirable to see a leader submerge his natural inclinations against war to do the right thing for our country. Lots of truth-telling and laying it on the line in the speech, including the lengthiness of this horrible but necessary war. No rosy prognostications of short term success as in the Iraq war run-up. Good to expose gangster Putin's aggression, leveraging chaotic world events for his naked land grab.

  135. Hey Mr President don't you remember when you promised no mission creep. Predict you will end up attacking Assad eventually using the same warped Dick Cheney justification. Now we all see what we voted for. As they say 'Never Again'.

  136. Well its a good thing for you he can't run again isn't it. And you seem to be putting the car before the horse and ready to lay blame for failure that has not occurred at his feet.

  137. President Obama at his finest. I am proud of him.

  138. Are you going to say that ten years from now when the US is flat broke but still fighting a reincarnation of Al Qaida or ISIS or another straw man?

  139. I don't see why nations of the world would fight to protect the economic interests in, US corporate profits from, and domination of the ME. If I were young enough to join the US military, I certainly would not. I learned my lessons during the Vietnam War, when I should have fled to Canada to avoid military service.

  140. I am very proud of the President's leadership. When I read the comments I am convinced that some people expect a wizard. What is most distressing is these same folks critical of the President expect nothing from Congress, which decamped to their campaigns with no outcry.

  141. I used to believe in the UN and it's mission but anymore we hear nothing from UN let alone decisive action on issues from terrorism, ISIS, or Ebola. It is only when decisive leadership is exhibited by others does Ba Ki-Moon decide to ride other's PR coattails.

  142. How fortunate for the military Industrial Complex. They've had to unhappily contend with scheduled exits from Iraq and Afghanistan for the wars Bush started. Now, they have what they've wanted all along: A "battle that may take years."

    We now have an enemy that is more terrible and fearsome than AQ. . heck, even the AQ dudes fear these terrorists. How cool is that? We have the forever war that Chenney, Wolfowitz, Perle, Brenner, et all always wanted, and it's being introduced by the president who I helped elect twice.
    Shame on me!

    I will not vote for an Obama third term by Hillary, or perhaps I should say Bush's 5th term. Elizabeth Warren for president!

  143. Hillary is a disaster. But so is Jeb Bush.

    Both worship war criminal Henry Kissinger.

  144. Yes, I totally agree!!

  145. Who am I supposed to vote for in 2016 that does not support bombing and killing as a means of achieving Peace? A strategy that has failed us for over six decades.

  146. That's what we ALL want to know!

  147. That would be Bernie Sanders....

  148. ScottW: Define your definition of "failed."

  149. We have to stand up to this aggressive abomination. We have to fight climate change. We have rise to the challenge of the crisis in West Africa. We have to stand up to Russian imperialism. We have to build this coalition of the world to do these things. And yes, we need to deal with the many, many problems here at home, but we can tackle them all simultaneously. If fact, we are the only country in the world that can lead effectively with each of these issues, let alone all of them simultaneously. We are the United States of America, and yes, we certainly our share of faults, but don't be cynical my fellow Americans. We can do it and we will do it because it is the right thing to do. When we embark as a nation on a plan that is righteous, we are successful, and these are righteous acts.

  150. Can do. "Truth, justice and the American way". Gerb, this is not a movie. The glaring facts is after that 50 years and trillions of dollars and thousands of American lives and hundreds of thousands of Middle Eastern lives, we have made things worse not better. It may be painful to our national ego, but we need to admit that we are not capable of bringing peace and American style democracy to the Middle East. Therefore I recommend that we disengage. Give it a rest. Stop giving money, arms, training and support to any country in the Middle East. Stop buying oil from the Middle East. We are down to 2 million barrels per day of Middle Eastern oil already.

  151. Obama really felt the need to compare one possibly justified homicide in Ferguson with what is happening in Iraq and Syria with ISIS? That's almost laughable if it weren't so serious. We have a country of laws. In general people understand property rights, and we have freedoms which the middle east can't even comprehend. They have no freedom of speech, or religion. There you are killed for rejecting Islam. Not really the same thing Obama.

    I also want to know the end game. Terror is a booming industry - no pun intended. As long as these butchers can make millions of dollars per day by raising mayhem, we will never see the end of it. We can keep send our million dollar tomahawks into the deserts of Syria, but new "men" of evil will take their place. My primary suggestion is to be very guarded about who is allowed entry into the U.S. I realize that is not PC, but unfortunately we have to give up some civil liberties due to the insanity which is militant Islam.

  152. As far as I can recall, I haven't seen much reporting about the advisers around Obama. They must be uber persuasive, to have turned a man who ran on a peace plank into our Chief Hawk.

    Oh, well. We're in the toys and boom phase now, with grainy videos showing buildings being blown to smithereens, and colorful night time footage of missiles zooming off Navy ships. We haven't gotten to the film of dead children collateral damage, or the shooting down of our fighter jets.
    Nor have we gotten to the part when our allies go home and the Iraqi army disappears into the sand.

    It's charge ahead time, with our President finally in the lead. We will figure out what we're about later.

  153. "As far as I can recall, I haven't seen much reporting about the advisers around Obama. They must be uber persuasive, to have turned a man who ran on a peace plank into our Chief Hawk. "

    They're called Generals.

  154. Obama's multi-war ready advisors are: Susan Rice, Samantha Powers, Victoria Nuland et al. Female warriors with no battlefield (military) experience but immersed in Neocon orthodoxy and contractor/DC Beltway inspired think tanks.

  155. In 1984 we trained and funded the mujahideen, who later morphed into the Taliban and AlQaeda. Instead of a force to defeat the Soviets they turned against us and everyone else. What will happen this time with the so called moderate rebels?

  156. My biggest concern is the intentions of our Gulf State partners, especially Saudi Arabia, which supported ISIS. ISIS follows Wahhabism, the Saudi brand of extreme fundamentalism. They may be more interested in taking down Assad than getting rid of ISIS, then effectively annexing Syria. Life under Assad was no picnic, but life in a Wahhabist state is far worse. Women and religious minorities have no rights, and beheadings simply become legal.

  157. President Obama is the only Nobel peace prizewinner to have bombed more countries than FDR did in WWII.

    His legacy is assured.

  158. Not necessarily. After all, he'd have to kill a LOT more innocent people to match the last president we had. And no republican remembers that man's name.

  159. Please list by name 1) the countries that Obama has bombed; 2) the countries that FDR ordered bombed during WW II. After doing this, see how well your claim stands up.

  160. Reading the drivel below about how war isn't nice, the US should mind its own business, etc., all I could think was that these people would be singing a very different tune if they were living under ISIS.

  161. Obama's underlying message is that the world, for the sake of humanity, has to join together to create the conditions for peace and relative prosperity. At the same time, he says that militants whose only answer is death to unbelievers, must be stopped. This seems a reasonable approach and I support him.

  162. 2 journalists are beheaded so it's Ok to inadvertently bomb innocent women and children to smithereens? 'Collateral damage' is OK?

    Besides, this is BANKRUPTING the American People!!!

    The polls lie. The American people don't want this war, and certainly NOT 'endless war'.

    President Obama's advisors must step down! Ban Henry Kissinger from anything to do with USA foreign policy.

  163. I dont understand how this ISIS went, in a few short months, from an inconsequential threat to a danger to the global community. They were barely on our national security one month and the next we are targeting cells that were actively plotting against the US. How can that be? Something is terribly wrong.

  164. Any excuse will do for war profiteers and the banks that finance them...with the people's money, of course.

  165. The Khourasan group that we just bombed in Syria was not ISIS, and it was actively plotting. It is an off shoot of Al Qaeda.

  166. Denial. Works every time.

  167. I struggle to understand how "we will demonstrate that the future belongs to those who build, not those who destroy" as we set out to destroy a building network. The goal is absurd on its face. There is no end to this, no conclusion. "Building an architecture of counterterrorism cooperation" will get a blank check paid to the order of very, very few who will feel no obligation to tell us anything about what they are doing, much less justify it. There has got to be a better way.

  168. President Obama originally told us that renewed military intervention in Iraq would be limited to, “precision” targeted bombing against ISIS operations and no deployment of troops. Days later, General Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, with Defense Secretary Hagel seated at his side, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that, “…he would recommend deploying United States forces in ground operations against Islamic extremists in Iraq if airstrikes proved insufficient.” In quick succession Mr. Obama informed us that the war may have to expand into Syria. Next, we learned of a new and even greater terrorist threat to the U.S. posed by Khorasan that also must be extirpated. Today Mr. Obama delivered a forceful speech to the UN which was essentially a declaration of war: “…there is no other way for this madness to end — whether one year from now or 10. I can promise you America will remain engaged in the region, and we are prepared to engage in that effort.”

    President Obama never exercised his constitutional obligation to ask the American people first for their consent through their elected agents in Congress.

    The breathtaking speed of changing objectives leads me to conclude that President Obama willfully lied to the American People about his true intention no different from the willful lies of WMD by the Bush-Cheney Regime to justify their war of aggression against Iraq.

    This madness of perpetual war must end. Impeach President Obama.

  169. Because of your irrational cry for impeachment, @Paul, I am forced to elaborate the historical implications of your statement. You are correct. FDR should not have entered WWII in deference to Republican isolationists. True, they had to capitulate when Japan attacked us, but surely the holocaust was no provocation.

    Look, ISIS further destabilizes the Middle East mess that Bush and Cheney got us into. It's a simpler matter to irradiate them so Iraq can struggle with the naive democracy that the Neocons thought that they could install there. It's not a perpetual war. Got it?

  170. @Charles Clifton, NJ

    Impeachable offenses by Obama:

    1. Unilaterally committing this nation to a new war against ISIS in Iraq and Syria without the approval by a full up or down vote by Congress;

    2. Authorizing the NSA’s blatantly illegal domestic spying program;

    3. Committing wars of aggression all over the globe without Congressional approval for each & every such separate act of war against a nation- invasions by armed drones, cruise missiles & JSOC hit squads (i.e. Yemen and Somalia, Pakistan);

    Suppose the U.S. gave sanctuary to a leader of foreign nation ZZ in Htfd, CT that ZZ considered a fugitive criminal. Would we consider any of the following actions by ZZ an act of war against the U.S.?

    ZZ flies a military jet into U.S. airspace and drops a “precision” bomb on Htfd, CT to kill the politician;

    ZZ flies a military drone into U.S. airspace over Htfd, CT and fires a hellfire missile killing the politician;

    ZZ launches a cruise missile into U.S. airspace to kill the politician in Htfd, CT

    ZZ clandestinely lands a military hit squad in Htfd, CT to assassinate the politician;

    You bet we would and rightfully so.

    4. Authorizing targeted first degree murder without any semblance of due process; unwilling to comply with Congress’ request for its legal justification; no oversight by any institution outside the Executive branch;

    5. CIA (under executive branch) spying on Congress and thereby violating the sanctity of separate co-equal branches of government;

  171. What a disappointment...
    All war, all the time, but bank bailouts are always available, too.
    Calling all money!
    Come and get it!
    Always plenty of money for you moneyed interests.
    Never any money for the common people, though.
    War President!
    Of course, I've never, never *ever*, believed one word out of any of these politicians' mouths, not even for a second, and have never understood how people could be taken in so easily.
    Wake up out there...these duplicitous politicians are all the same.
    This plutocratic puppet is no different than his predecessor.
    And, the next president will be no different, either, regardless of which party apparatchik gets the nod from moneyed interests.
    America is lost, deluded by the fake two-party shuffle...sacrificed freedom for money and ended up with neither.

  172. President Obama's speech was more meaningless rhetoric. 5 countries out of a total of about 195 countries is hardly a broad coalition.

    It was totally inappropriate to criticize one of our strongest allies Israel. No wonder very few people want to join Obama's coalition. What did Ferguson Missouri have to do with the fight against ISIS.

    Bottom line this is all politics. Obama's purpose with these limited airstrikes is to try and get more Democratic votes in November. Once that is over we will have another broken Obama promise with large numbers of US troops on the ground again in Syria and Iraq.

  173. I'm sure getting involved in military excursions will win votes for Mr. Obama

  174. Don't they also have weapons of mass destruction? The executive branch will never lie to you, children.

  175. Back to Latin: alea iacta est. The dice is cast in English, I think.

    Obama's forces are bombing both Iraq and Syria using good GPS guided bombs, not much collateral damage reported.

    Europeans killed over a wide area for 'propaganda reasons', the Times reports.

    Will it work? Nobody has any idea. Other countries are symbolically part of the coalition - good idea for our propaganda reasons.

    Will Obama spent his last two years in office consumed by these developments? Possibly. In his last two years he gets one support from Republican after seeking one of years: to wage another war.

    The generals say that the bombing will have to last several years. Obama started his 8 years with a promise to end the war in Iraq and our forces are, unfortunately, back.

    Obama probably has no choice, beheading of innocent people is a terrible thing to do.

  176. The generals are saying that the bombing has to last several years because of the disastrous Bush-Cheney destabilization of the Middle East. They are forced to be cautious for the isolationist Right and Left Wings. But ISIS is toast.

  177. "beheading of innocent people is a terrible thing to do".
    'not much collateral damage reported'.

    I guess you think we're even now?

  178. While the anti-interventionists here are up in arms, Perhaps President Obama did not enjoy the moment either. Had he wanted to get involved, he would have done so more than a year ago when the Syrian chemical weapons came to the forefront. And he would not have negotiated with Iran for so long.

    It seems that some here are confusing the trees with the forest.

  179. Both the extreme Right and Left merge in their disoriented views of the world. There are some things that need to be done. FDR fought an isolationist Republican Party. If one has ever served in our armed services, he or she understands the nature of duty. And they know how to navigate through forests.

  180. Unfortunately Obama seems to be channeling JFK, LBJ, Tricky Dick Nixon etc. A slippery slope for sure. While our infrastructure, schools are in shambles we are off fighting imperialistic wars. In the meantime the oil companies continue to make oodles of profit and the only other industry making money seems to be Silicon Valley and other tech centers of the country while the middle class and lower classes struggle to get by. There is something wrong with this picture.

  181. It's all crooked as us old curmudgeons are wont to aver...

  182. This is hardly an imperial enterprise.

  183. Thank heaven we've got a president who deliberates with all perspectives and then decides with intelligence, reserve and clarity.
    He has coalesced a true coalition of Sunni Arab countries to fight the Sunni murderous sociopaths intent on global jihad, who have declared war upon America. To anyone who has been paying attention, this is apples and oranges compared to our invasion of Iraq.
    Now the Arab nations are witnessing that they must be inclusive rather than sectarian. That they will not survive without uniting, at least in mutual tolerance, in taking the fight to ISIS. This is due to the evil of ISIS and the leadership of president Obama.

  184. Re: "Thank heaven we've got a president who deliberates with all perspectives and then decides with intelligence, reserve and clarity..."

    Certainly, the mass murder of random foreigners makes the destruction of America's middle class worthwhile in the eyes of some. I am not among them.

  185. Thanks for this expression. Most of the comments I've read before reaching yours are remarkable for their lack of insight.

  186. Viewing the targets hit I have seen none in residential areas. Moreover, however heartbreaking collateral damage is to civilians, it is the cost of war to end the true mass murders of ISIS, and the millions more they plan in their maniacally evil nightmare. Some cannot confront the worse of the Devil's Alternative. I am not among them.

  187. Let us be clear about one thing: Under no circumstances are current events some sort of vindication for the neoconservatives who thought that unilaterally invading Iraq in March 2003 and overthrowing its government was the right course of action.

    Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and all of their assorted cheerleaders in the media and America at large will NEVER be able to claim vindication for what they supported, no matter what happens in Iraq and Syria. Never.

  188. Great post, AR. We are fixing the Neocon legacy. It's painful, but even Republicans reject their historical failure. And who knows? Out of this action might come some sort of Middle East order.

  189. Nice writing by Mark Landler. He characterizes the political issue:

    "To some extent, Mr. Obama’s remarks seemed designed to get past months in which the president appeared openly conflicted about the proper use of American military force in the Middle East — an ambivalence that opened him to criticisms of being irresolute."

    This will be a quicker action than the President cautions. ISIS has chosen to go it alone. They got milage off of the Bush-Cheyney and Republican legacy, but now it's over. The only complaint Republicans have against the President is, why didn't he fix their disastrous policies sooner?

  190. ISIL and Khoras and all nations understand that the U.S. always resorts to, “the language of force.”

    “We will not succumb to threats, and we will demonstrate that the future belongs to those who build, not those who destroy.” --- We deliver all the threats all the time and make good on those threats. According to President Obama’s criteria, we have no future.

    The day is coming when the nations of the world unite and declare to the United States, “We will neither tolerate terrorist safe-havens, nor act as an occupying power. We will take action against threats to our security, and our allies, while building an architecture of counterterrorism cooperation.”

    President Obama could easily apply these words to the U.S.: “This is a vision of the world in which might makes right,” he said, “a world in which one nation’s borders can be redrawn by another, and civilized people are not allowed to recover the remains of their loved ones because of the truth that might be revealed.”

    We are the greatest terrorist threat to world peace. I rest my case with Mr. Obama’s declaration, “But there is no other way for this madness to end — whether one year from now or 10. I can promise you America will remain engaged in the region, and we are prepared to engage in that effort.”

  191. Obama's speech accepting the Nobel Peace Prize warned he would freely use wars. It was the most warlike speech accepting the Peace Prize that I know of.

    Obama's speech to the UN was a call for war, one of those small wars dressed up as make-or-break for all civilization, and he asked the others to join in, BUT without ever going to the Security Council.

    He's not GWB, but this is too much the same stuff for comfort.

  192. I have this nagging, persistent feeling that Obama was pushed into this war by GOP talking heads and Republican politicians. I hope that I'm wrong, but it just seems that President Obama did not want to get us into war again in the middle east but the political pressure from people right here in the U.S. of A. forced him into it. I am not blaming Republicans, but rather simply stating that the president bowed to pressure and I'm very, very disappointed in him. I'm still unclear on why ISIS is all of a sudden considered a serious threat to the U.S. Yes, the beheadings were horrible, but is that why Americans have gotten behind this bombing campaign? If so, I would say we have perhaps over-reacted.

  193. He is acting and talking tough because of the shellacking his party will receive in the mid-terms in a few weeks. His Nobel Prize has turned into an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor In a Dramatic Role!

  194. I'm one of those who have grown weary of the President Obama in his second term. Yet his performance today - at the General Assembly and in convening the heads of state for the ISIS meeting to begin with - remind me of why he is a historic leader.

    There's no one like him.

    We can nitpick all we want about his faults every step of the way. History will remember him as one of our greats.

  195. You're right Joanna. Isolationists here won't understand it, but the President has commanded leadership, just as he did in the capture of Bin Laden (hey, in response to posters here, he could have just let him go).

    Leadership is dealing with your detractors as well as responding to your proponents' needs.

  196. How does failing to seek a Congressional authorization for war in Syria make Obama (or any president) great? What is Obama afraid of such that he needs to rely on on Bush's rationale for declaring war unilaterally? You know, that rationale that Obama said just last year was unconstitutional.

  197. Oh yeah, gives a great speech. Empty of meaning while campaigning, empty of truth while governing. Many people in his thrall. History will remember him as a great speech giver.

  198. I was in the air force ROTC and was taught that wars are never won through air power. In fact bombing can make the enemy stronger as they scatter their production, move underground, and become harder to hit over time. It is nearly impossible to assess the results of bombing too from afar. But bombs are dropped anyway, I guess it makes people feel their leaders are doing something.

    Why not say we are fighting to liberate women, children, and all those who don't want to live in a society that cannot allow others in their midst? I guess we would be at war with most of the world, maybe even ourselves.

  199. Airstrikes are effective and even devastating to the enemy. However sooner or later we are going to have send troops in for mop up operations. Where will we get these troops? We a strong fighting force of soldiers ready to deal with thugs like ISIS. We need to bring back the draft to ensure that we have a sufficient number of men and women available to serve when needed. It would be terribly unfair to our brave men and women who have already served in Iraq and Afghanistan, to ask them to serve once again in the war against ISIS. It's time for all Americans to do their fair share in serving our great nation. It's time for a draft.

  200. I hope the veil is finally being lifted now, which shows that Obama is NO different than the previous war mongering presidents before him. We have essentially elected GW Bush for a 3rd & 4th term, except that he's getting away with things GW could have only dreamed of. This is on the heels of having just green lighted $1 trillion in spending to upgrade all of our nuclear weapons, which will give us enough firepower to blow up the entire planet 20x over. Congratulations Mr. President, Mr. Nobel Peace Prize winner. You have proven yourself to be every bit the phony and lying politician as your predecessors.

  201. Worse (but I take your point). Barry's phoniness and misrepresentation of himself has been so acute that it has given me a certain respect for GW. Though I did not share his politics I always had the sense that I knew who the man was. Not so with the current occupier of the oval office. Kinda scary.

  202. "Toward that end the Security Council unanimously approved a resolution Wednesday calling on all countries to adopt laws making it a serious crime for their citizens to join a militant group"

    How about to arm those militant groups against a government, or to attach CIA/KGB contractors and/or uniformed advisers and trainers, as for example Russia in Ukraine and the US in Syria? Is Blackwater illegal, or only those who go on their own?

  203. ISIS is like a metastasized cancer that's killing, rapeing, brutalizing, and destroying individual cells in the "global body."

    When biological cancer isn't caught at an early stage (like ISIS wasn't) and has metastisized, war is usually declared on the spreading sick cells. The big guns are called upon including surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and any other possible mind/body weapon. The process soon becomes a rigorous no-holds-barred battle to save the patient's life; even when there's no assurance the cancer will be stopped, eradicated, or cured. Yet when push comes to shove, what else to do. it's impossible to do nothing; thus ensuring the patient's death.

    Similarly, President Obama, who is going against his grain and deep desire to be a no-war president, apparently reached the conclusion that doing nothing regarding this spreading ISIS cancer like biological cancer, is also impossible. And that doing nothing would more reflect "stupid stuff" than doing the best possible somethings. Even when there is no assurance the fight will lead to eradication or cure.

  204. That's fine, bkay, but let Obama get the legal authorization he requires from Congress. Without it, he is nothing but Bush Redux.

  205. Congress fled. Hard to get authorization when we essentially have no Congress. Of course we have no Congress when they are in town.

  206. Our so called allies behead many more people than President Obama's new enemy. Texas has executed more people. At the UN he starts by making an enemy of Russia and then tells the rest of the World to follow him and America into war and mayhem.
    So - he has taken America into yet another war and our congress goes home.
    Years ago, the priest appointed to open the sessions in the US Senate was asked to pray for the Senators. He sadly replied that after seeing the senators he was going to pray for the nation.

  207. Why do we ignore the civilians killed in American wars?

    "Despite the fact that contemporary weapons are vastly more precise, Iraq war casualties, which are also hard to quantify, have reached several hundred thousand. In mid-2006, two household surveys — the most scientific means of calculating — found 400,000 to 650,000 deaths, and there has been a lot of killing since then."

  208. Einstein, the people we destroy, the civilians dismembered by the tens of thousands, actually just don't count with most of us. We are the good guys, and we get to kill tens of thousands, consider them "collateral damage" and still be the good guys. The rest of the world does not much see it this way, however. And if it were China or Russia killing tens of thousands of people in the ME, we wouldn't see it that way, either. It's an amazing blindness on our parts. As for those who would say, "Oh, well, you hate America" to those of us who say this, you have no idea how bitter it is to have to say it. Loving America does not let us go on killing so many innocents while pretending to virtue; it just can't.

  209. Her point is very well taken.

  210. President Obama, in his speech before the U.N. General Assembly today "delivered a searing critique of Russia’s incursions into Ukraine and promised to impose a rising cost on the government of President Vladimir V. Putin for what he called its aggression." He then went on to say, "the United States would train and equip moderate opposition forces in Syria to counter the government of President Bashar al-Assad." Hmm. I am trying very, very hard to see the difference between these two actions. The only one I can fathom is that one taking place in close proximity the Russian frontier and can be seen as a Russian response to the aggressive American policy of NATO expansion over the past 20 years, while the other is taking place 10,000 miles distant from the United States a country that presents no, zero security, threat to this country. Obama's rhetoric attempts to draw a distinction where there is none. It would be comedic if it were not so pathetic. Does he, or anyone, really believe this stuff?

  211. Yes, incredibly enough, most of America believed "this stuff" for approximately 5 years of the Obama tenure. Edward Snowden changed everything for Obama when it came to public perception and Obama's lies.

  212. In reply to Howard - Russia did indeed invade Ukraine, a sovereign nation and it armed pro-Russian terrorists in Ukraine due to Putin's desire to rebuild his Russian empire. So don't go blaming the United States and NATO in this case.
    Yes, the Syrian civil war and the IS threat in that region are taking place 10,000 miles from the US, but the threat from IS is real in Iraq where thousands of people have been displaced, many have been murdered and a sizeable chunk of Iraqi territory is under IS control. The Iraqis were incapable of defending themselves. Just imagine how powerful IS would become if it were to control all of Iraq and its oilfields. Then they would indeed be a major threat to the world.

  213. As respects all peoples of every nation:

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

  214. More than one commenter has suggested that we again have a compulsory draft, as if in doing so, it would in any way curtail or prevent the kind of military misadventures this or future presidents might embark upon. Let's let young people who would be affected by a draft be the ones who make that decision.

    Just as with the twin debacles of Iraq and Afghanistan, future historians will view this latest foray into Syria with raining death, mutilation of human beings and bombings as another abysmal failure. Obama has taken this country in a direction completely opposed to the one which he stated to get elected president, that is, to remove our troops and disengage from the Middle East.

    If he thinks these new actions are going to affect his poor poll ratings, he is sorely mistaken. What a 'legacy'.

  215. Is that the sound of the Arab League's bugle signaling their cavalry is charging to the rescue?
    Coming to protect and save their way of life?
    Gee, no its not.
    Let the Americans send their young and their resources into the meat grinder of middle eastern petty religious prejudices and politics while The League stands on the sidelines and complains about the tactics, the methods and the outcome, no matter what it is.

  216. That's it, America, drag everyone you can into your personal squabble with whomever and avoid responsibility for your blunders!

    Let regional problems be settled by the region within the region and stop intruding, even when you created them in the first place.

    You have more problems at home than you can handle. Deal with those before you go traipsing and evangelising globally. THAT is your first priority.

    “The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it.” ~ H.L. MENCKEN

  217. I am starting to believe this is a tag team wrestling match that Obama wants with Putin. Those two both immediately react to each other, with sneers at a minimum, like two school boys circling before a fist fight. Syria now belongs to Russia in the proxy war and this action against the state of Syria only makes sense if you look who actually owns Syria in a geopolitical (non)sense. Putin moved his knight against Ukraine, Obama responds with a rook against Syria. I wish Obama had the backbone to challenge Putin mano a mano, like Saddam did with little Bush II, and leave the rest of us out of it; though I would be willing to send Russia two of our loudest and most righteous warriors for team Putin, McCain and Graham.

  218. If you read and listen to Putin's statements and speeches in the original Russian, as I do, you would conclude that he is a sensible, intelligent, and dignified leader who is doing what he should be doing for his country. Just imagine: Russia has its own interests and perspectives on world events. The Russian press does not resort to sensationalism; it provides facts and a basic analysis. Moreover, the Russian media translates into English and some other major languages the most important stories it prints every day. The U.S., by contrast, does not translate into Russian or Chinese (as far as I know) its major stories of the day. This shows a lack of respect for those other cultures, and is in its own way media control.

    Putin has no interest in challenging Obama. It is the U.S. that consistently provokes, humiliates, and demonizes Russia. This is very tiring and counter-productive, to say the least.

  219. @ sleeve West Chester PA
    "I am starting to believe this is a tag team wrestling match...."

    To me it's more like a WWE (World Wrestling ENTERTAINMENT, parent company of WWWF) where, in a match, after one contender falls out of or leaves the ring, the victor drags him back in and continues the beating.

    No Putin here, it's America that gets dragged back into the brawl by the presidential bully.

    Isn't that what the "bully pulpit" is all about?

    “Government is actually the worst failure of civilized man. There has never been a really good one, and even those that are most tolerable are arbitrary, cruel, grasping and unintelligent.” ~ H.L. MENCKEN

  220. How about the forceful case for destroying Syria by fueling the rebels for many years against Assad and then realizing that those rebels are actually terrorists and then bombin the same places they accused Assad of bombing?
    How much more sick can Americans get?

  221. "Fueling the rebels against Assad for many years"!? For three years, Obama refused to offer concrete support, military or financial, to the rebels against Assad. That's why his recent request for $500 million to arm and train "Syrian moderates" has been universally, and rightly, regarded as a dramatic reversal of his previous policy. What evidence can you provide, Swami, that we have been offering the rebels anything more than verbal support up till now?

  222. Offering up an explanation of the reasons is not the same as offering up a loved one to do the deed, and possibly having that loved one end up in Arlington. So I am sure that the move will gain wide support......from the non-wearers of combat boots or non-flyers of combat aircraft......

  223. Would you rather they come here and do their nasty deeds, and have many, many loved ones murdered at their hands?

  224. Since you are offering options that don't exist, I would rather ISIS go to the moon to commit their "nasty deeds", and both options have equal chance of success IMO.

  225. In reading the prevalently isolationist comments here after just having watched Ken Burns's series on the Roosevelts, I understand the strong, isolationist stance of the Republican Party in the years before we were forced to enter WWII. You just don't want to go there.

    Would you have a dominant ISIS state in the Middle East?

  226. I thought he offered a strong argument for action. I didn't think he offered a "forceful" argument, nor was one necessary or required.
    Anybody who's followed these groups knows there's really no other way to deal with them.

  227. Mr. Obama is a tragic leader.

    He needs an international coalition for a fight against an organization that didn’t even exist mere three years ago. Really!?

    That’s an incredible insult to America. The implied premise is that we somehow could not be able to defeat ISIS if we went alone. Really?!

    The correct answer is that we could defeat ISIS on our own if we wanted to but don’t care at all because that’s an internal Arab problem.

    Somehow over the last 6 years President Obama completely turned into his predecessor in the White House who according to own Obama assessment put America on the wrong course and deeply hurt our national interests.

    There is no better criticism of Obama’s leadership than his own words from 2008…

    Regarding Ukraine, that could be an important topic for our foreign policy only after permanently solving the Palestinian problem that lasted almost 7 decades. Right know we cannot accomplish anything because we are chronically stretched between many priorities.

    The right attitude is to finish the first task before starting the next one.

    We are still dealing with the Palestinian problem, North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, Russia, Cuba…

    For God’s sake, nothing has changed since 1980’s – we still have the same problems and the same lack of leadership…

  228. His statement that one cannot use failure of peace between Israel and Palestine as a reason for the current events and also that the moderate Israelis were being marginalised by the actions of terrorisits was like hitting somebody below the belt.Very sad, considering that he stands to loose nothing this being his last term ,what was the necessacity to blame "again" the Palestanians for the plight they find themselves in.

  229. We have spent in excess of 30 Billion US dollars to train and arm the Iraqis to fight terrorists and insurgents all the while congress has under funded the medical care of our returning veterans. I demand a refund.

  230. The United Nation became so dysfunctional that is a waste of time watching government leaders , specially president Obama giving explanation why they should strike ISIS... etc,,, It's a shame! millions of dollars/month, going down like water, and where's the commonsense? How about domestic problems? Education (student loans big problem), unemployment (only 26% get pay), Houses going foreclosure, reduction for social programs affecting poor families, elderly and handicap people . The infra-structure, environment...many issues, and we are bombing Syria, Iraq, Somalia Yemen,,,for what ? to keep the capitalism strong? to save america corporations? The reality is, No good results will come from this.

  231. We should put you in charge of the Policy. Next, post directions to your place
    at all major airports and roadway intersections, so when they arrive here for
    the next major terrorist showdown - they can come and knock on your door first.
    Reward should be mentioned.

  232. What a stark contrast. In 2008 candidate Obama mocked Bush for having us in an endless war in Iraq. He was going to remove all troops. Now fast forward to 2012. bin Laden is dead and al Qaeda is on the run. 2013 Obama says the war on terror is over.
    Why would Obama make that statement when Eric Holder today say the administration was aware of Chorazon in 2012? Aren't they perceive today as actually being an imminent threat to our country? A Homeland Security email talks about the response to grievances they have and how it may manifest itself in attacks on the homeland. The plot by Chorazon, a staunch supporter of bin Laden was thought to be a multi pronged attack and not a singular bomb somewhere. Is Obama in a perpetual state of denial?
    Today in his United Nations speech he praised a radical cleric that the State Department had previously deleted a tweet because it was a lie.
    Obama began receiving intelligence briefings on ISSL almost 2 years ago. Can anyone indicate what contingency plans the intelligence community prepared? In January ISSL took Fallujah. What does Obama do? Calls them a JV team.
    If you want to see something eery watch Bush's 2007 comments about what would happened if they left Iraq too soon. He totally nailed it.
    For Obama to invoke Ferguson a joke. How can you possibly compare 1 murder to a caliphat in the mid east.
    Obama is ONLY acting because his poll numbers dropped and the outcry from the beheadings. Otherwise he'd stick his head in the sand.

  233. Sarah Palin herself could not have twisted the President's words any more skillfully than you "HealedByGod," notwithstanding the fact that even palin probably would rather not be "healed" by your "god."

  234. So Obama asks the world to join in "this" effort or, more appropriately, HIS effort which so far includes the bombing of ISIL's largely vacant buildings and the bombing of ISIL's portable oil refineries which produce 300-500 barrels of diesel a day - an insignificant fraction of the crude being being produced and trucked daily to Turkey and sold there.

    Had ISIL not been tipped off beforehand of the impending air strikes perhaps its Iraqi supplied American made tanks and artillery would not have escaped the bombing unscathed. And so ISIL continues to use the weaponry to route the Kurds from northern Syria.

    When Obama pulled all American troops out of Iraq leaving tanks and artillery behind could Obama have forseen turnover of the armaments to Sunni extremists? I wonder.

  235. When ANYBODY leaves the ME after intervening, or interfering (depending on your point of view), what they leave behind becomes more tinder for the fire. The Russians left, and their weapons behind them, and went on to a largely bankrupt fate. The men the US armed and trained against the Russians became Bin Laden and his ilk, with the arms and training we left with them. The Sunnis and Shia stuffed with arms and training over the last 11 years remain, to wreak more havoc now. And what is finally left after the next year, or as the president says, ten years, will fall into the hands again of those whose countries those actually are, who live there. Just what will be left of us is harder to say. The Soviet example is not encouraging, however, and our own economic troubles bode ill as well.

  236. I am glad that President Obama is taking the initiative in combating some of the evil that is growing ever more popular in the world. ISIL is way out of control in the Middle East. Beheading innocent people and posting video of it is about as dark and evil as you can get. If the United States has the ability to confront and stop that, it should because it can. Russia's bullying is out of control. You cannot redefine borders by force. That's how WW 2 started.

    I finally have some respect for our President. America needs to take the lead in confronting these issues because we may not be perfect, but we stand for something worth fighting for.

  237. As a non-American, I have much respect for the US for situations like this. Sure, many of us of the rest of the world resent seeing the American involvement and influence far and beyond, but when we face a problem that affects the entire world, like Ebola, climate change, and some crazy, violent people, we have to grudgingly but helplessly accept that there is no country that can replace the US.

    When faced with a problem that affects a group, often the most efficient and effective way is, unfortunately, to have a leader who drags forward the rest of the group.

    See, nobody in the world wants to take the responsibility and blame like what the US is doing now. We'll mostly just watch with our arms comfortably folded, and ocassionally complain the US acting like the leader of the free world.

    But aside from all the silly rhetorics and American greed, I think we all know that the US has done much harm but also much good for the world, and as much as we don't like them, we still need a country in our world to do all the work, take all the blame, and be incessantly criticized for any profitting.

    If ISIS were driven by greed like normal people, if what they wanted was political power and wealth, I would say leave them. But I really think it is very possible that these are people whose supreme goal in life is to convert or kill, regardless of borders or nationalities. That is the power of religion and that is why, this time I say, go USA.

  238. Your backhanded compliments to the US are nice, but most Americans no longer need to feel that we are an exceptional country. Instead, we want the rest of the world to step forward, pay for its own defense with its taxdollars and bodies. We are tired of our leaders spending $500 million here, and $5 billion there, to cajole, then attack people who will always hate us precisely because we are Americans. It is the duty of the rest of the world, particularly Europe, to cough up their 2% of NATO fees, take the lead on this ISIS war, and let Americans begin to save enough money to fix our roads, treat our vets, and educate our kids. Enough.

  239. Yankee stay home. Let someone else bankroll and spill blood.

  240. SW,

    You're absolutely right. Whatever country "J of CA" is from, I am glad he's not American, and presumably won't be in CA forever. The small-mindedness betrayed by his comment is the last thing the US needs.

  241. So the "coalition" will keep on bombing till the feckless Iraqi Army plucks courage from somewhere in the land of Oz and the "moderate" terrorists in Syria morph into an effective Army. Is this the strategy? Token bombing runs with the US Air Force absolves the Arab World of its collective responsibility? Obama should tell the the Arab autocrats that the barbarians are at their gates, not ours. He should never promise an open-ended conflict. There should be a time frame within which the Arab armies need to mobilize.
    The US Eighth Air Force and the British Bomber command bombed Germany for years, virtually destroying all its major cities and killing hundreds of thousands of Germans. Still the Allies had to slog through Europe for months with millions of casualties before the Nazis could be defeated.
    Granted, ISIS is not Wehrmacht, but it has shown more strategic depth than the vaunted, US trained Iraqi Army.

  242. There is no 'strategy': only the fattening of defense contractors in a feckless attempt to protect oil interests of the Exxons and save the Emirs at the cost of further destroying America until its collapse when it can do neither.

  243. I was impressed with Obama's message and presentation. However, I could not overlook all of those men, only men, listening to Obama's presentation. It is time for men to step aside. Collectively, history proves men have failed their nations and the world.

  244. While mindless violence and terrorism reigns in the ME there is another "network of death" working as remorselessly and, perhaps, more effectively in poisoning both the physical and the spiritual existence of human: the tyranny of entrenched monied interests standing foursquare for the status quo or for a return to some 19th Century status quo ante. The open enemy is more visible but the other is the more deadly and, like a colorless, odorless gas asphyxiates us politically, morally, and physically. That there is open religious fanaticism is only an American problem because of a entrenched and apparently invulnerable fossil fuel industry. End oil dependency then the ME returns to the desert.

  245. In Dexter Filkins' long New Yorker piece this week, he points out that most ISIS commanders were generals in Saddam Hussein's army who converted to radical Islam while serving time in American prisons in Iraq.

    I wonder whether things might have been different if Paul Bremer had not disbanded the Iraqi army, but had instead kept issuing paychecks to these guys in exchange for coming in every day and keeping their noses clean. Would that have worked, and cost us a lot less?

  246. It's the RIGHT thing to do at the RIGHT time !
    Hot the enemy HARD and FAST and by FORCE as this is the ONLY remedy to islamic fanatical despots who would destroy humanity to achieve their aims !

  247. The actions by the U.S. in the middle east for most of the 20th and all of the 21st century are responsible for the emergence of groups like Isis. Let's get out of there let's demand a different way forward from the petrol economy!!

  248. I wish the President had said that the United States isn't perfect. After all, he has no worries about re-election, and it is true, isn't it?

  249. He *did* say this--and he referred specifically to Ferguson. It's later in the speech.

  250. The man will be remembered as one lousy president. In way over his head for events that his Community organizer background left him totally unprepared. Good enough to get a naive electorate to vote for him but way out of his depth in the international arena. But he sure do like to give a speech...

  251. Ever since the US lost its ideological nemesis, the USSR, we have seemed sort of adrift and lacking any real good reason for getting up in the morning.

    ISIL sort of supplies that little jolt in the morning, like a strong cup of coffee, and makes the day that has something to get up and live for - or in this case, rather, die for.

    The economic and social needs of our people was not reason enough because that would have entailed democrats and republicans to be civil to one another in order to move anything forward. So no java jolt there.

    Climate change maybe? So complicated and too much personal sacrifice, no that's a non-starter for the morning as well.

    Irradiating hunger, poverty and diseases - been there, tried that, too boring and not enough bang, because any real cause worth pursuing needs to have high-tech weaponry to provide that visceral tingle up the spine when held in the hand.

    The environment, the oceans, endangered species . . . that's for the tree huggers, not the real men of Washington.

    So what's left? War, of course! So by golly we got it bow, and we got it big time; which is why Mr. Obama specifically threw that sharp barb directly at Putin who was sitting there in front of him at the UN.

    If you want to make getting up interesting, may as well make it really interesting which means why not fight two wars instead of just one.

    Starbuck's calls that the triple shot vente vente. . . . which is one step shy of mainlining.

  252. "Network of death." The rhetoric keeps getting stronger, as it must, to hide the fact that the threat is undefined at best, and manufactured at worst. We are seeing the kind of propaganda used in beating the drums of war before the invasion of Iraq. Once again, unfortunately, many Americans are obediently listening.

  253. And to hide the fact that there are real pressing problems at home! Obama is beholden to the oil corporation masters and bombing to death the entire middle east serves the oil masters. When do we say enough is enough?

  254. The threat is undefined? I would say the threat is very well defined...they will kidnap and behead citizens of any country that will not bow down to them! I guess it means nothing to you that these barbarians are beheading people for the fun of it...everyone knows we do not make deals with terrorists for any reason...the French and British have said the same; they have nothing to gain except sick pleasure. They are threatening to bring their insanity to our door...and you would have us do nothing? Maybe when they behead a Canadian you will feel a little differently.

  255. It is indeed frightening to see the same cheerleader style on the left that is frequented by the right. This war, because that is exactly what it is, does not find any more justification than Bush's war in Iraq. It is merely based on fear, not intelligence (which has been the most poorly facilitated aspect of this situation). It is their overt presence in the media due to their grotesque tactics that strikes fear into people, but their ability to reach out and strike large numbers of civilians in our country is almost nil (several Pentagon officials have said as much). Still, we cry for action and war in a country we have already caused a great deal of chaos. War is hell, which I interpret as chaos, and I am not sure how chaos will solve chaos. Maybe someone can explain this.

  256. Evidently there are about 18,000 active ISIS troops, hardly on the scale of combatants in World War I or World War II. Does President Obama want closure on ISIS as an existential imperative or is he engaging in political theater? Why no ground troops?
    This is Obama's forum. Where are the voices from Russia and China? He castigates Mr. Putin, but there is a cease fire in the Ukraine. Putin destroyed Syrian poison gas stores right in the middle of the war!
    I hope domestic politics is not informing Obama's actions.
    The United States, Russia and China need to take the lead to make sure that ISIS II is not the inevitable successor to the dispersed current ISIS.
    There needs to be more discipline at the UN.
    The US, Russia and China can provide the necessaryfocus.

  257. I agree. Russia and China could help the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East confront ISIS. But has anyone asked for their help?

  258. Obama is now sounding and acting like Bush II. Maybe Cheney is telling him what to do.

  259. How sad to see a man who inspired our hopes for historic transformation turned minion of the military-industrial complex. Stockholm just awarded an "alternative Nobel prize" in human rights to Edward Snowden, our true heroes are forged by courage and principle Mr. Obama.

  260. network of death = axis of evil... nothing changes

  261. Network of death?

    Who has missiles, drones, communications, bombers, etc. etc.?

    Versus a "book", pick up trucks with AK-47 waving gangs, and a black flag with slogans?

    Its the real network of death v/s TV networks!

  262. And who beheads innocent doctors, tourists, and aid workers?

  263. 1kozykat ~ our bombs cause much more damage, to bodies and souls, than do the weapons of ISIS. The only sane and moral (and Christian) way to demonstrate to ISIS that killing is wrong is not, IMO, to, uh, kill more people.

  264. Jonathan Blees: I resonate with you in spirit, but your position is at best desperately naive, at worst, terribly dangerous, and it all seems informed by left-wing sectarianism (and I consider myself spiritual, and left of center). Do you really believe that "demonstrating to ISIL that "killing is wrong" would prompt some sort of radical change in the direction of the whole billion-dollar operation ISIL such that its cult-members fall to their knees in shame, declaring "killing people is wrong. We have been wrong?" Do you seriously believe this?