President Obama delivered an address last night on recent attacks in San Bernardino and his plan to fight terrorism. We are exceptional, he reminded us, but we must not give in to fear. Meanwhile he announced several proposals that would further deprive us of our civil liberties and further enrage people overseas.
Barack Obama: 14 Americans were killed as they came together to celebrate the holidays. They were taken from family and friends who loved them deeply. They were white and black, Latino and Asian, immigrants and American-born, moms and dads, daughters and sons. Each of them served their fellow citizens and all of them were part of our American family. Tonight I want to talk with you about this tragedy, the broader threat of terrorism and how we can keep our country safe. The FBI is still gathering the facts about what happened in San Bernardino, but here is what we know.
The victims were brutally murdered and injured by one of their co-workers and his wife. So far, we have no evidence that the killers were directed by a terrorist organization overseas or that they were part of a broader conspiracy here at home, but it is clear that the two of them had gone down the dark path of radicalization, embracing a perverted interpretation of Islam that calls for war against America and the West. They had stockpiled assault weapons, ammunition and pipe bombs, so this was an act of terrorism designed to kill innocent people.
Ron Paul: Hello everybody and thank you for tuning in to the Liberty Report. With me today is Daniel McAdams and Daniel good to see you this morning.
Daniel McAdams: Good morning Dr. Paul.
Ron Paul: There was a major speech last night in the Oval Office and the President doesn’t do this very often, speak right from the White House. It was an important speech, he was prodded into doing it, because some people think he is not doing enough and not being aggressive enough and he finally, even when the Democrats started prodding him, he decided he better give a speech to show that he is going to be very, very tough on terrorism. One thing he did say though that, now that we have to take this on, he says it is going to last years. Of course bush always said that too in the long haul. Of course they call it war, no declaration, but they call it war, war on terrorism, so I think it is one of the reasons why the Republicans want this to be, the California incident a terrorist attack, because then it is war and under war conditions they can do a little bit more.
I didn’t hear a whole lot and I thought the tone was changed a little bit, but how did you get, what did you get from this? Anything brand new or did did you hear some of the same old stuff?
Daniel McAdams: Normally I wouldn’t watch it, but I was waiting to watch Pittsburgh Steelers, so I was kind of stuck and that was on before the game started. They are four main themes that he pointed out, the four main actions and as you say none of them were new. Hunt down terrorists anywhere in the world, more training and weapons to rebels in Syria, disrupting ISIS and cutting off their funding, which is interesting, because we only started bombing the oil a couple of weeks ago and a political resolution in Syria, i.e. regime change by any other name. The one thing that I did find interesting and I am sure you have some thoughts on it, is him saying that Congress should pass authorization for the use of force.
Ron Paul: Yeah. It might be a little bit late, but he recognized in a way that it was a little late, because he blamed it on Congress, COngress wasn’t meeting up the responsibility, they weren’t doing what he told them to do, but then as soon as he mentioned that he though that they should give him and make it cleaner looking, the authority to use military force, immediately followed it up to make sure that people knew he wasn’t just sitting on his hands waiting for the people to tell him whether we are at war or not and then he advertises and brags about how many military hits he has. I think there is a little bit of a confusion there about when we go to war and that is to me one of the arguments for why we are in such a mess.
If we had been more strict at our definitions, or just looked at the definition of Constitution, they call it war, we are at war against Islam and war against terrorism, but the Congress never declares war. So, this thing keeps going back and forth to play. I think the President wants to dilute the blame, so if he just goes and does it on his own, then Congress can’t be blamed for it. It was a lot of that going on, remember, when they were talking about going to Iraq, Congress didn’t want to declare war, because they didn’t want to assume responsibility. It is the same old story, but I think it is one of our major problems, they don’t recognize the importance of how we go to war, because if you go to war carelessly it is hard to get our of those wars, it’s hard to win the war, it’s hard to know who the enemy is and it just goes on and on and this is what is happening.
In all these years, we talked about the policy of the Bush administration would escalate in a steady escalation, steady tragedy and of course I do not see much to be gained anything Obama suggested last night.
Daniel McAdams: I wonder how a prosecutor would look at his admission, it’s almost an implicit admission that he has been breaking the law. Asking for permission after he’s done it.
Ron Paul: Do you think there’s going to be an impeachment resolution offered? There is a couple Republicans that would want to do it, but they would do it mainly because he is not defending the country enough. Obama follows the same old thing, don’t be fearful, but we will keep you safe, that is the number one responsibility of the US government, it is to make us safe, not realizing that maybe protecting our liberties would be important. What has happened?
This is an argument I have made for years, that anytime we are involved in a war, there is a much generous attack on our civil liberties, and this has been true all the way back, civil war times onwards, the civil liberties are always attacked. Now, we have this endless war, Republicans, Democrats don’t see an end to it, so there is an endless attack on our civil liberties. I think the one big political issue that came up here today and represents an attack on liberties is the whole gun issue. That was the biggest thrust, but that is nothing new, if we should just stop guns sales, everything would be ok.
Daniel McAdams: It was very interesting because the president was slightly deceitful I think in the way he presented this. Here is a quote that he used “What could be the argument for allowing a terrorist to buy a semi-automatic weapon?” He is arguing that for the people that ar eon the no fly list, to be excluded from their 2nd Amendment rights.
Ron Paul: Right. At least he used suspect, but just think how often they used the word terrorist, shoot the terrorist, he is an Islamist, kill him, kill him and it’s not even a suspect, but here he talks about a suspect. How many people are on that list, I don’t think there is like a dozen or two mistakes, there is thousands of mistakes. Even a significant number of people who work for the Department of Homeland Security are on the no fly list. That is the irony and the stupidity of the whole thing.
Daniel McAdams: Adam Dick has an article up on the Institute where he talks about 2007 I think, they admitted that there were 10,000 names put on the list that do not belong there. They are just bureaucrats that put names on the list, there is clerical errors. I was looking it up recently, it’s funny, so many prominent people, Senator Ted Steven’s wife was on the list, because her name sounded like Cat Stevens, the singer, who I guess is a bad guy. Representative Don Young, who’s got a hot temper, but I do not think he is a terrorist, was on the list, because his name sounded like someone else. All these people that are wrongly put on the list and have a very, very difficult time getting off this list, now can no longer exercise their second amendment rights.
Ron Paul How often did we pay people for information about the bad guys in Iraq, we probably continued to do it, you tell us who the bad guys are and we will hit them with a drone. All they have to do is pick their political enemy, someone they don’t like and we go there and do the killing, so people purposely make use of this and they could somebody politically put you on the list if they wanted to and that of course is a tragedy. I think the biggest political issue of the speech of course there is no consensus to change our foreign policy, which is our argument, but there is certainly a consensus with Republicans and Democrats and that is the gun issue. This is it.
The challenge for the Democrats is will they use the gun issue and tighten up on the purchase on guns, now and every time and incident like this happens, gun sales go up. Maybe, the NRA is pushing on this, yes, we sell more guns, the gun manufacturers. They will try to regulate the guns and that is a big political issue and it’s been a mistake for the Democrats and they have backed off. Maybe they will feel emboldened now, they will say this will do the trick, people like the statement you made about Obama saying how could anybody be opposed to selling a gun to somebody on a no fly list, so maybe they are going to feel emboldened. I do not think that is going to become a popular political position, I think there is still some strong sentiment. Even more Democrats are joining there.
Daniel McAdams: I was going to say at the same time it will be curious how many Republicans will be peeled off when the issue becomes terrorism. He can sell guns to terrorist, so you can get some Republicans who are pro-gun rights backing off, because he framed it this way.
Ron Paul: Another place where Republicans are already wrong is they want to protect the individual right to own guns, and they are pretty consistent, but who knows what they would do. The Republicans want more guns, given to the government to fight wars that we have already indicated, wars that are undeclared, they do not have authority to do this, so they want more guns to shoot suspects around the world. They have a problem with the gun issue too, but the Democrats are basically supportive of it. Maybe Obama will kill a few less, but it is still a gun issue. Basically there is very, very little challenge about the illicit use of guns in the military, which basically, if we have this deeply flawed foreign policy, it is the use of violence eventually that precipitates the violence against us.
Not too many people are talking about blowback these days or unintended consequences, but it does exist, especially if a lot of people are killed. It’s always radical Islam. Obama will never use the word radical Islam, even though he used it last night, but he accommodated it because he started to use the word terrorism more that he had. This will make Republicans happy, we are winning, we are winning, now we have to say radical Islam, to turn it into a clash of civilizations. It’s Western Christian culture against Eastern Islamism.
This speech is not going to help a whole lot of anything, because the policies are going to stay the same, we are supposed to be fearful and if we are fearful we will be ok, so I think that they forget that the purpose is not to scare people into giving up their liberties and support more war, it should be to try to understand why government should be unlimited for limited purposes and that is to protect our liberties, defend ourselves if we are attacked, but not to be the policeman of the world. He once again talked about American exceptionalism, that always annoys me. Obama keeps saying freedom is much more powerful than fear, he is stirring up the fear and Republicans really stir up the fear and freedom is better. Of course it is.
What do they do? They turn around, they want to take away our freedom, our freedom of speech, our privacy, our right to own guns, they are always attacking our freedoms. How many people in this country can argue that we as individual citizens in this country are more free since 9/11? I mean I think everybody realizes it, but their answer will be, it is necessary, you have to give up liberties to be safe, because the purpose of government is to make us safe, so therefore I think this is going to continue. I do not see with the current crop of politicians in Washington, except for a few exceptions that are our friends, but they don’t have much of a voice unfortunately. To me, I think we have to get a voice that puts pressure on the members of Congress.
Daniel McAdams: Yeah.
Ron Paul: Anyway I want to thank everybody for tuning in today to the Liberty Report and like we said the President’s speech was listened to by a lot of people. We don’t believe it is going to change a whole lot, it is still to continue the fear, it is still to confuse the people about where you get authority to use military force and it is also to build up more confidence in government, but they will not address the real issue of foreign policy and how we go to war.
And also the issue on guns, if you want to control guns, control the military guns that have killed so many people and had not attacked us. That is just collateral damage and we are supposed to forget about that. Anyway, it doesn’t look like the conflict in Syria and Iraq is quieting down. I am just hoping and praying that more people in this country will respond by saying let’s start about thinking about a different foreign policy of intervention. Why should we be in the business of provoking people, because there are people who want to be radicalized and they like the incentive, so why serve the interest of those individuals who would like to get more supporters to be able to use our policies.
See? That is what we told you, Americans are coming here to kill us. To me, it is easy to accept the principle that we should mind our own business, have a strong national defense, defend our country, but defend our liberties here at home. The greatest threat to us right now is the undermining of our liberties and the threat is domestic, much more so than any foreign entity coming in this country and attacking us.
I want to thank everybody for tuning in to the Liberty Report and please come back soon.