President Barack Obama linked “climate change” and the Second Amendment to the threat of Islamic terrorism – which he described as “violent extremism” – during a Tuesday address at Macdill Air Force Base in Tampa, FL.
Obama claimed that Islamic terrorism was partly driven by food and water scarcity brought about by anthropogenic global warming. “A changing climate is increasing competition for food and water,” he said of Syria and other Muslim-majority and conflict-ridden failed states.
The Second Amendment – or at least its current interpretation by the Supreme Court and Congress – also facilitated Islamic terrorists’ designs by supposedly making it easier for them to procure firearms, said Obama. “Somebody who is trying to kill and willing to be killed is dangerous, particularly when we live in a country where it’s very easy for that person to buy a very powerful weapon,” he said.
Free speech and expression online, Obama continued was also a driver of Islamic terrorism by preying on what he described as “impressionable minds.” “We’ve worked with our tech sector to support efforts to push back on terrorist messages on social media that motivate people to kill,” he said, adding that counterterrorism operations against Islamic terrorism must include Islamic counternarratives in order to undermine “ISIL’s perversion of Islam.”
Obama maintained his refusal to acknowledge the overlaps between Islamic terrorism, Islam and Muslims. Social, cultural and religious pathologies affecting Muslims in relation to Islamic terrorism were also ignored. In compartmentalizing the broader phenomenon of Islamic terrorism into its component groups and “homegrown and largely isolated individuals,” the president deliberately avoided the unifying threads between these groups and individuals with respect to Islamic terrorism.
Obama implied that his detractors, presumably including President-elect Donald Trump, lack sufficient rhetorical nuance in describing the nature of Islamic terrorism. He implied that his critics conflate all Muslims with Islamic terrorists:
“We are fighting terrorists who claim to fight on behalf of Islam. But they do not speak for over a billion Muslims around the world, and they do not speak for American Muslims including many who wear the uniform of the United States of America’s military. If we stigmatize good patriotic Muslims, that just feeds the terrorists’ narrative. It fuels the same false grievances they they use to motivate people to kill. If we act like this is a war between the United States and Islam, we’re not gonna lose more Americans to terrorist attacks, but we’ll also lose the sight of the very principles we claim to defend.”
The rise of ISIS, said Obama, was unrelated to his decisions in withdrawing most US forces from Iraq shortly after assuming the presidency:
“By 2011, Iraqis wanted our military presence to end, and they were unwilling to sign a new status of forces agreement to protect our troops from prosecution if they were trying to defend themselves in Iraq. In addition, maintaining American troops in Iraq at the time could not have reversed the forces that contributed to ISIL’s rise.”
Indirectly pointing to George W. Bush, Obama credited his predecessor’s foreign policy decisions with facilitating ISIS’s rise. “Some of the mistakes of the 2003 invasion that have helped to give rise to the organization that became ISIL in the first place,” he said.
Obama cautioned Americans against expecting a “clearly defined victory” against Islamic terrorists (a claim he first made in 2009):
“We will not achieve the type of clearly defined victory comparable to those that we’ve won in previous wars against nations. We won’t have a scene of the emperor of Japan and Douglas Arthur in a surrender.”
US President Barack Obama greets service members after speaking at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida on December 6, 2016. / AFP / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
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