President Obama calls out anti-Muslim zealots
President Obama gave an extended press conference on the Paris massacre and the United States’ response. He answered defense industrial complex inspired leading questions sometimes with a degree of exasperation. Reporters kept asking the same questions as if they had not heard the very detailed response from the President.
In effect reporters wanted the President to acquiesce to the neocons, the Right Wing, and the defense industrial complex. They wanted him to say that his current limited action should be escalated to boots on the ground, another invasion. So far the President remains focused on doing things systematically and methodically. He knows the neocons' doctrine has always been a failure.
President Obama closed with a solid admonishment to religious and political anti-Muslim zealots and demagogues like this character.
"When I hear folks say that 'Maybe we should just admit the Christians but not the Muslims'", President Obama said. "when I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which a person who is fleeing from a war torn country is admitted when some of those folks themselves come from families who benefited from protection when they were fleeing political persecution? That's shameful. That is not American. It's not who we are. We do not have religious test to our compassion. When Pope Francis came to visit the United States to visit and then gave a speech before Congress he didn't just speak about Christians who have been persecuted. He didn't call on Catholic parishes just to admit those who were of the same religious faith. He said protect people who are vulnerable. So I think it is very important for us right now particularly those who are in leadership, particularly those who have a platform and can be heard not to fall into that trap not to feed that dark impulse inside of us."
President Obama then gave President George W. Bush a rare pat on the back. He then admonished Republicans to heed their former leader.
"Now I had a lot of disagreements with George W. Bush on policy," Obama said. "But I was very proud after 9/11 when he was adamant and clear about the fact that this is not a war on Islam. And the notion that some of those who have taken on leadership in his party would ignore all of that, that's not who we are. On this they should follow his example. It was the right one. It was the right impulse. It is our better impulse."
Obama continued making the moral case.
"And whether you are European or American, the values that we are defending, the values that we are fighting against ISIL for are precisely that we don't discriminate against people because of their faith," Obama said. "We don't kill people because they are different than us. That's what separates us from them. And we don't feed that kind of notion that somehow Christians and Muslims are at war. Now if we want to be successful defeating ISIL, that's a good place to start -- by not promoting that kind of ideology, that kind of attitude. In the same way the Muslim community has an obligation not to in anyway excuse anti-western or anti-Christian sentiment, we have the same obligation as Christians. ... It is good to remember that the United States does not have a religious test and we are a nation of many peoples of different faiths. Which means that we show compassion to everybody. Those are the universal values we stand for. That is what my administration intend to stand for."
Chris Hedges was in Houston recently and I had the opportunity to get his take on the Paris massacre and likely actions going forward. He was very pessimistic. As I noted in one of my last post, we must be careful to not overreact which is what the defense industrial complex wants for their profit maximization.