Obama’s presidential address: A positive message?

So, Obama has decided to wane under public pressure and finally pull out of Afghanistan. Not a shock. In his speech he admits that America's War on Terror is what drove Al-Queda insurgents and Taliban fighters into Pakistan(apparently when they escaped from America where they lived a liberal, un-caged and rain-of-bombardment-free life. And possibly/probably still do...(no American life is lost in the name of "collateral damage") He also pays his condolences for the 'lives of American soldiers' lost in the war, completely ignoring the infinitely many more lives of Pakistani, Libyan and Afghan civilians and soldiers hampered, destroyed and taken, in the continuance of American war mongering the world over. In fact, he goes on to say, that Libyan soldiers, should fight their own leaders and people on their land; while American soldiers operate drones from safe havens to effectively deliver to Libya, a corrupt democratic ruse as in Afghanistan and Iraq. This idea draws inspiration from America's drone strikes in Pakistan-Afghanistan(explaining why the number of local soldiers dying in the war is twenty times as much as the American lives lost). "In a report that will be presented on Thursday to the U.N. Human Rights Council, Philip Alston, an international-law professor hired by the U.N. to examine extrajudicial and targeted killings, says that recent and growing use by U.S. administrations of drone-borne missiles threatens to undermine international human-rights laws on war and to encourage killings by remote control." Obama also mentions controlling Pakistan, as if killing thousands of Pakistani civilians and thousands of Pakistani soldiers in an effort(real or false?) to capture Arab and Uzbek terrorists, isn't control enough. Many will defend Obama's message because he knows how to deliver a speech(at least Harvard law gave him something), "Stuff enough of the word 'great' into it and people will ignore what you're really saying": More collateral deaths(civilian murder from negligence and random targeting, friendly fire), more money spent on the war to build more specialized drones, more mental problems for soldiers, more racial profiling, complete inaction on gun control(so more death by American shooter), retracting on Obama's really bad health care reform initiative(pressure from health care workers to do so), an ever-increasing drug-abuse/trafficking problem, a 90% high-school drop-out rate, depleting education standards and Obama's leadership, being an all-out disappointing 'regime'.

Obama’s presidential address: A positive message?

Yes because... No because...

He's getting troops home and talking about assigning a kind of sovereignty to the Afghan people

Whatever his motivations(caving under public pressure, for fear of not getting re-elected), at least in Afghanistan, he is doing the right thing. Once 30,000 American soldiers, pull out; this summer, the lives of afghan civilians will not be lost at the hands of American soldiers, playing hit and miss games with human lives, on the orders of their leaders, with little fault of their own. It's not the little guys, it's the people in power. [[http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21672863/ns/politics-white_house/]]
The corrupt , drug-peddling Afghan leadership has been ruling the country for many years now, so a few more won't make a difference.
Either way, an all-out positive message, 'self-determination', education, nation-building are terms we've heard before; to what effect; who knows? But it is a step in the right direction.

[[http://www.rawa.org/temp/runews/2010/08/27/corruption-tie-in-afghanistan-has-echoes-of-cia-s-past.html]] "It is found that 52 percent of Afghan adults had to pay at least one bribe to a public official in the preceding 12 months, and that in 2009 Afghan citizens had to pay approximately .49 billion in bribes, equivalent to 23 percent of the country's gross domestic product
By Joseph Schuman

Has Afghanistan become just one more troubled foreign land where Americans must hold their noses and support corrupt leaders for the sake of U.S. aims?

The New York Times reported today that a top aide to President Hamid Karzai at the center of the country's biggest corruption probe is on the CIA payroll. The revelation is the latest bit of bad news for the Obama administration and its ambitions for Afghanistan... In December, when President Barack Obama spoke from West Point about his plans for Afghanistan, corruption was the No. 1 trouble he named as hampering the Afghan government, ahead of the drug trade, an underdeveloped economy and insufficient security forces."

So insufficient security forces will be compensated by removing security forces? That's exactly the kind of self-contradicting dribble that defines, the Obama-Bin Laden administration today.

Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty

"When America goes to war, America needs to win," he said. "We need to close out the war successfully, and what that means now is not nation-building. What it means is to follow General Petraeus's advice and to get those security forces built up where they can pick up the slack as we draw down."

A military pullout, is not a CIA pullout. So long as the U.S interferes in Afghan affairs via Pakistan, the Afghan people will never be able to achieve self-determination. They will continue to cave under a U.S-supported by-all-counts-terrible Afghan regime, as did the Iraqis under a former C.I.A operative weapon-ized by America named Saddam, as did the Iranian people under a fundamentalist Shah.

Gov.Mitt Romney

"We all want our troops to come home as soon as possible, but we shouldn't adhere to an arbitrary timetable on the withdrawal of our troops from Afghanistan. This decision should not be based on politics or economics. America's brave men and women in uniform have fought to achieve significant progress in Afghanistan, some having paid the ultimate price. I look forward to hearing the testimony of our military commanders in the days ahead."

Obama’s presidential address: A positive message?

Yes because... No because...

U.N condemns drone strikes.

[[http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1694510709699078746#]] "This 23 minute video explains how United Nations' policies and practices infringe upon the freedoms guaranteed United States citizens under the U.S. Constitution. United States vs. United Nations answers the questions that many Americans are beginning to wonder out loud: Is UN membership compatible with our form of government? Do our UN "commitments" endanger America? What will happen if the UN becomes what its founders intended?"

The U.S.A enjoys veto power on all U.N decisions. The U.N has not helped soothe relations people and their governments. A non-militant solution, rarely works and when America plays bad cop, one good-cop U.N representative or the other makes an inquiry to set America straight, while like every good and bad cop duo , they are always on the same side.

"In a report that will be presented on Thursday to the U.N. Human Rights Council, Philip Alston, an international-law professor hired by the U.N. to examine extrajudicial and targeted killings, says that recent and growing use by U.S. administrations of drone-borne missiles threatens to undermine international human-rights laws on war and to encourage killings by remote control."
[[http://www.newsweek.com/blogs/declassified/2010/06/02/u-s-officials-defend-drone-attacks-against-u-n-criticism.html]]
[[http://tv.globalresearch.ca/2011/06/pakistan-toxic-chemicals-us-drone-strikes]] "Since these drone strikes have been carried out, we have witnessed several peculiar disease cases, and our press club have been frequently visited by those complainants, who have developed skin and bronchial diseases in the aftermath of drone airstrikes. I'd like to add further that the agriculture and the livestock are also showing pitiable condition," journalist Safdar Dawar told Press TV.
An expert from Waziristan says his daughter died of blood cancer soon after she had developed a skin disease, which was no more than the toxic effect of chemical substances used in the non-UN-sanctioned drone strikes."

Dr Ian Davis,Human security & arms control consultant

In using remotely piloted Predator drones for air strikes in Pakistan, the CIA claims to distinguish between civilians and "militant" targets (Suspected US missile strikes kill 27 in Pakistan, November 1). But in the wake of increasing numbers of civilian casualties, this intensified bombing campaign should be censured. The CIA has now used pilotless drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), as an attack aircraft both inside a theatre of war (Afghanistan and Iraq) and outside (Pakistan and Yemen).

The UN should conduct a comprehensive inquiry into violations of international humanitarian law by air strikes using UAVs. The inquiry should examine in particular the impact of these weapons on the civilian population, and should be undertaken with a view to holding individuals responsible for crimes under international law.

"Summary
In recent years, a few States have adopted policies that permit the use of targeted
killings, including in the territories of other States. Such policies are often justified as a
necessary and legitimate response to “terrorism” and “asymmetric warfare”, but have had
the very problematic effect of blurring and expanding the boundaries of the applicable legal
frameworks. This report describes the new targeted killing policies and addresses the main
legal issues that have arisen" - [[http://media.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/documents/unreport060210.pdf]]

Obama's determination in expanding the U.S-led drone strike operation into the Middle-east is beyond shameful.

Obama’s presidential address: A positive message?

Yes because... No because...

Drone strikes (each costing a million dollars) are actually ineffective in killing high-value terrorists contrary to what intelligence officials propagate

[[http://www.newsweek.com/blogs/declassified/2010/06/02/u-s-officials-defend-drone-attacks-against-u-n-criticism.html]] [[http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jSZq926HgY2RXiipJ5-5bHLS7tAA]] [[http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/jan/16/air-strikes-by-drones-effective-in-waziristan/]] [[http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/jan/16/air-strikes-by-drones-effective-in-waziristan/]] And yet, both Pakistani and U.S intelligence officials and politicians, support Drone attacks as an effective means of undermining and demoralizing militants.

Ashraf Ali, who heads Islamabad-based FATA Research Center.

Drone attacks have clearly unnerved both al Qaeda and Pakistani insurgents in the tribal areas,” said “What we have observed [is] that these hits have compelled insurgents to limit the use of communication gadgets, like satellite phones, etc.”

[[http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/20/AR2011022002975.html]] "After a year in which the CIA carried out a record 118 drone strikes, costing more than $1 million apiece, the results have raised questions about the purpose and parameters of the campaign.
Senior Pakistani officials recently asked the Obama administration to put new restraints on a targeted-killing program that the government in Islamabad has secretly authorized for years.
The CIA is increasingly killing "mere foot soldiers," a senior Pakistani official said, adding that the issue has come up in discussions in Washington involving President Asif Ali Zardari. The official said Pakistan has pressed the Americans "to find better targets, do it more sparingly and be a little less gung-ho." ...Even former CIA officials who describe the drone program as essential said they have noted how infrequently they recognized the names of those killed during the barrage of strikes in the past year."

[[http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1377611/How-CIA-spies-deal-death-skies-Thousands-killed-U-S-unmanned-drones.html]]
"It may well be that whoever was piloting the drones thousands of miles away, sitting at a computer screen somewhere in America, did have reliable intelligence that the men in the car were terrorists. It is probable, say Pakistani security sources, that a GPS chip had been secreted inside the vehicle by an agent working for the Americans in order to track it more accurately.
But after the car's destruction, and before the tribesmen could take cover, the drones came back and started firing indiscriminately at them. 'Four missiles were fired on the jirga members, who included people from all ages,' a tribesman, Samiullah Khan, told a local Pathan journalist. 'The next moment there was nothing except the bodies of the slain and injured all around.' According to Samiullah Khan, the victims' families had to be satisfied with burying disconnected 'pieces of flesh'. In all, 41 died immediately, and a further seven over the following week."
This video-game shoot-em-up/blow-em-to-H&*^ approach to war, is exactly what the U.N report here criticizes. [[http://media.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/documents/unreport060210.pdf]]

Obama’s presidential address: A positive message?

Yes because... No because...

As with everything else Obama, the U.S president says a lot but doesn't do anything on Gun control

Obama has ratified a treaty against the production and distribution of illegal weapons in the U.S and abroad. Prohibiting guns altogether is discrimination against the entire state of Texas. Most of America's richest people are gun owners. Some people own guns to secure their homes. Antique guns for display are also big business. True the Virginia Tech shooter had obtained a gun legally (privacy laws prevented his medical records from going public), but that is the exception to the rule, most gun crimes are by
carried out using illegal weapons.

"Barack Obama announced his support for the “Inter-American Convention against the Illicit Manufacturing and Trafficking in Firearms” treaty, also known by its Spanish acronym CIFTA. The gun-control treaty was signed in 1997 by former President Bill Clinton, but was not ratified by the Senate as required by the Constitution."The president offered nothing he did not deliver. [[http://thenewamerican.com/usnews/foreign-policy/1079]]

[[http://azstarnet.com/news/opinion/editorial/article_d9bc38b5-194a-5b31-a2e6-89f7367854a1.html]] "We're getting nothing but namby-pamby political-speak from President Obama on gun control issues - or worse, silence. That's not good enough.
Despite a guest opinion in the Star in March in which Obama called for "sound and effective steps that will ... keep those irresponsible, law-breaking few from getting their hands on a gun in the first place," he has provided little to no leadership on the issue.
Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., told the president in a letter last week that the administration "has not shown the leadership to combat gun violence." ""Calling Obama's record on gun violence during his first year in office an "abject failure," the Brady Campaign Against Gun Violence said Obama has broken campaign promises and failed to show leadership on the issue.

"As a senator and candidate, he promised to stand up to the gun lobby and fight for strong gun laws," the group writes in Obama's 2009 "report card." "Unfortunately, that Barack Obama has been absent in his first year in office.""[[http://www.politico.com/politico44/perm/0110/brady_campaign_f_4e52b8a5-4d03-44ce-9f5c-adbad49ed0bd.html]]

Obama’s presidential address: A positive message?

Yes because... No because...

So long as notable terrorists and their families were on American soil, they were unharmed , but the moment they fled to other nations, those nations were attacked by the U.S

A terror-suspect [[http://video.foxnews.com/v/3963838/terror-suspects-legal-options/]] is released if he shares information on Al-Queda or major terrorists, because the U.S is interested in capturing and killing big Dogs like OBL and not mere pawns. Pawns choke information on the whereabouts of major terrorists and are given a free pass out of the country. If the big terrorists mentioned just now happen to be credibly in a certain region, then that region is attacked, and that region is also where terrorists round up to inveigle more recruits to fight ruthless American bombers/killers.

If countries cannot secure their borders against international terrorists, then America as the world's policeman has to come in and do whatever she can about it. This whatever they can, is defined by the country's human rights policies and the rights of the citizens of that respective country. No country legally protects citizens as much as the U.S does. So America can do a lot more damage to achieve her goals, in other countries; and does.

Civilians everywhere need to be protected home and abroad. While terrorists should fear being in a crowded NYC subway just as much as being in a hut in Waziristan.

Utah Governor

"With America mired in three expensive conflicts, we have a generational opportunity to reset our position in the world in a way that makes sense for our security as well as our budget."The war in Afghanistan is an asymmetrical war, and our approach ought to adjust accordingly. Our troops have done everything we've asked them to. They've routed the Taliban, dismantled Al Qaeda, and facilitated democratic elections.
Now it is time we move to a focused counter-terror effort which requires significantly fewer boots on the ground than the President discussed tonight.
We need a safe but rapid withdrawal which encourages Afghans to assume responsibility, while leaving in place a strong counter intelligence and special forces effort proportionate to the threat. The War on Terror is being fought against a global enemy, and it is critical that we have the resources to fight them wherever they're found."

Drone strike in Yemen after Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born radical cleric(a U.S citizen), has been 'believed' to be hiding in Yemen. So long as he aired radical sermons in the U.S he was safe. But now civilians in Yemen are being bombed without cause, because he is 'believed' to be hiding somewhere in the country.
Driving terrorists out of the U.S only to attack, kill and strip them of their human rights, is only another of extradition or extraterritorial rendition.
Even U.S citizens are captured abroad tortured, detained and not given their right to a fair trial in foreign countries. Munaf v. Geren and Geren v. Omar are two cases in point. [[http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/forumy/2008/03/no-refuge-from-habeas-protecting-us.php]]
[[http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/07/world/middleeast/07yemen.html]]

Obama’s presidential address: A positive message?

Yes because... No because...

health care: free for middle class covering nothing more than a monthly check-up

Obama's heath care reform has improved the system, significantly. So it's free for more people, how is that a bad thing ? [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_insurance#United_States]] "The United States health care system relies heavily on private health insurance, which is the primary source of coverage for most Americans. According to the CDC, approximately 58% of Americans have private health insurance.[37] Public programs provide the primary source of coverage for most senior citizens and for low-income children and families who meet certain eligibility requirements. The primary public programs are Medicare, a federal social insurance program for seniors and certain disabled individuals, Medicaid, funded jointly by the federal government and states but administered at the state level, which covers certain very low income children and their families, and SCHIP, also a federal-state partnership that serves certain children and families who do not qualify for Medicaid but who cannot afford private coverage. Other public programs include military health benefits provided through TRICARE and the Veterans Health Administration and benefits provided through the Indian Health Service. Some states have additional programs for low-income individuals.[38]
Prior to the recent health care reforms, there was a great deal of dissatisfaction with the insurance industry which was regarded as dysfunctional. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, health advocacy companies began to appear to help patients deal with the complexities of the healthcare system. The complexity of the healthcare system has resulted in a variety of problems for the American public. A study had found that 62 percent of persons declaring bankruptcy in 2007 had unpaid medical expenses of over of $1000 or more, and in 92% of these cases the medical debts exceeded $5000. Nearly 80 percent who filed for bankruptcy had health insurance.[39] The Medicare and Medicaid programs were estimated to soon account for 50 percent of all national health spending.[40] These factors and many others fueled interest in an overhaul of the health care system in the United States. In 2010 President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This Act included a main provision which the American medical insurance industry lobby group, America's Health Insurance Plans had called for, namely a mandate that every American must have medical insurance (or pay a fine) as a quid pro quo for "guaranteed issue", i.e. the dropping of unpopular features of America's health insurance system such as premium weightings and exclusions for pre-existing conditions and the pre-screening of insurance applicants."

[[http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/21/obama-health-care-law-medicaid-middle-class_n_881412.html]] The economy is in crisis. Yet Obama has proposed a health care reform with a very notable glitch. Families that are pretty well-off will get free health insurance, via Medicaid. This effect has been likened by some to giving food stamps to middle-class persons.

Medicare chief actuary Richard Foster

says the situation keeps him up at night.
"I don't generally comment on the pros or cons of policy, but that just doesn't make sense," Foster said during a question-and-answer session at a recent professional society meeting.
"This is a situation that got no attention at all," added Foster. "And even now, as I raise the issue with various policymakers, people are not rushing to say ... we need to do something about this."

If more people will get 'free' health care insurance, the insurance is bound to cover a lot less than it did before this change. So, it's nothing to be happy about, it's an all-round bad move. Quality and cost have been taken down, leaving people worse off, in actuality. "Early retirees would be a new group for Medicaid. While retirees can now start collecting Social Security at age 62, they must wait another three years to get Medicare, unless they're disabled." Too many loopholes evident already, a test run after 2014 will definitely reveal more.

Example of where this policy fails, cited by Medicaid workers:"The Medicare actuary's office roughed out some examples to illustrate how the provision would work. A married couple retiring at 62 in 2014 and receiving the maximum Social Security benefit of $23,500 apiece could get $17,000 from other sources and still qualify for Medicaid with a total income of $64,000.

That $64,000 would put them at about four times the federal poverty level, which for a two-person household is $14,710 this year. The Medicaid expansion in the health care law was supposed to benefit childless adults with incomes up to 133 percent of the poverty level. A fudge factor built into the law bumps that up to 138 percent.

The actuary's office acknowledged its $64,000 example would represent an unusual case, but nonetheless the hypothetical couple would still qualify for Medicaid."

Obama’s presidential address: A positive message?

Yes because... No because...

Second amendment issues with the treaty Obama has ratified

Amendments can be made to the treaty disallowing it from overriding the U.S constitution. It undoubtedly comes from a good place, since the most obvious intention of the proposal/treaty is to control 'illicit/illegal' weapons trafficking. As for privacy, is there really such a thing; anymore? Wherever there's a record, somebody's looking at it.

"Second Amendment enthusiasts have shot down the agreement as an ominous and malicious infringement on the American right to keep and bear arms and yet another attack on U.S. sovereignty. The agreement would create a national database of gun owners in America that could then be accessed by other signatory nations. It would even provide for the extradition of people found to be in violation of the terms": this clearly impinges upon, the right to personal privacy, the right to ownership of legal substances, and the freedom of the average american.

“It would clear the way for imposing a national gun registry [and] would overturn the current prohibition on keeping centralized firearms records by the federal government,” explained Larry Pratt, the executive director of Gun Owners of America. “It reflects a deep distrust that the government of the United States has had towards the people.” : and vice versa, as with any other system there are bound to be loopholes, legal gun owners getting into trouble for crimes they did not commit, what's next, a federal registry on grocery expenses?

The National Rifle Association has also issued a statement indicating that it will “vigorously oppose any international effort to restrict the constitutional rights of law-abiding American gun owners." [[http://www.politico.com/politico44/perm/0110/brady_campaign_f_4e52b8a5-4d03-44ce-9f5c-adbad49ed0bd.html]] This is a very sneaky ploy to control and curtail gun ownership in America, indirectly. People don't want their purchases to be made public and are more likely to turn to illegal arms dealers, to protect their privacy and rights as American citizens. With this much hooplah owning a legal gun could be equivalent to a holding a criminal record. Any potential employer will judge you for gun ownership? What's this government coming to? Gun industries are on to this and will not stand still as Obama destroys the legal weapons market. [[http://thenewamerican.com/usnews/foreign-policy/1079]]

Obama’s presidential address: A positive message?

Yes because... No because...

Doctors oppose healthcare reform: Quality vs quantity

"The AMA is not representing patients or doctors anymore," Arizona physician Dr. Elizabeth Lee Vliet told FOX News. "Eighty-five percent of their revenue comes from non-membership sources. They are in the business of medicine."
[[http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/07/22/doctors-wage-war-obamas-health-care-overhaul#ixzz1QyKbKCk3]]

But Rep. Vic Snyder, D-Ark., a family physician, called the claim that expanding health coverage to the uninsured will lead to poor quality "one of the most ridiculous criticisms I have ever heard."

Watson said the president's reform bill is loaded with rules and regulations that will ultimately result in shoddy patient care and long waiting lines. He blasted the bill as "insidious" by forcing doctors contracted with Medicare into the nationalized plan -- a "trap" he described as "involuntary servitude."
The AMA -- which has long opposed government health care intervention, including the Clinton's administration's attempt to revamp the system in 1994 -- issued a statement calling the House version of the bill "a solid start to achieving health reform this year that makes a positive difference for patients and physicians."

Any American who can afford private insurance, gets private insurance; because public insurance doesn't really cover anything. The president's plan is to pay doctors less, big bad pharmacies more and waste resources on patients who don't need hospital care but will stand in line for freebies, blocking those who do.

[[http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/07/22/doctors-wage-war-obamas-health-care-overhaul#ixzz1QyJ34iuq]]

""There's no need to rush a bill through Congress," said Dr. Donald J. Palmisano, a leading surgeon and former president of the AMA who heads the physicians group Coalition to Protect Patients' Rights. "We don't get praise for getting out of the operation room quickly. We get praise for doing the right thing for the patients," he said.
Palmisano said he opposes the president's plan because patients will no longer be able to properly contract with their doctors. He is proposing a patient-centered system that will allow the patient to own the policy, which he said could be achieved by using tax credits to buy insurance.
"The government takeover of the practice of medicine will destroy the private health insurance companies, and will result in rationing, long lines, and loss of access to physicians in the patient hour of need," he said.
The Mayo Clinic, a non-profit organization and internationally renowned medical practice group, took issue with patient care quality that will result if the president's bill becomes law:
"Although there are some positive provisions in the current House Tri-Committee bill -- including insurance for all and payment reform demonstration projects -- the proposed legislation misses the opportunity to help create higher-quality, more affordable health care for patients."
"In fact, it will do the opposite," the clinic said in a July 16 statement on its Web site."
[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_care_compared#Italy]]

Debates > Obama's presidential address: A positive message?