Posted by: rshalomw | October 29, 2008

Mc Cain and Obama on Terrorism

The following article will show you the distinct differences between Mc Cain and Obama on Terrorism.  This is vital information you need to check out before you vote

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The Views and Positions of John McCain and Barack Obama

Both the John McCain and Barack Obama campaigns refused to respond to the ACT! for America candidate questionnaire. In lieu of that, ACT! for America has conducted extensive research that has enabled us to determine the views and positions of both candidates on the broad issue of “terrorism.”

The ACT! for America research on the broad issue of terrorism focused on the two candidates’ positions on the causes of terrorism and how to define the threat. This is very important because how one views and defines the threat is fundamental to how one will handle and respond to the threat. The ACT! for America research uncovered some striking differences between Senator Obama and Senator McCain on this.

The research for each candidate is comprised of quotes sourced from various published reports and ACT! for America comments.

John McCain

New York Post column 9/11/2008

“The divide starts with the question: Why was America attacked?

McCain’s answer is simple (or, as Obama might suggest, simplistic): The United States was attacked because a resurgent Islam has produced a radicalism that dreams of world conquest and sees America as the enemy. [Emphasis added]

McCain doesn’t hesitate to acknowledge that his country is engaged in a Global War on Terror. He doesn’t believe that 9/11 might’ve been prompted by some wrong America did to others. To him, the nation was an innocent victim of “Islamic terrorism.”

McCain asserts, “America faces a dedicated, focused and intelligent foe in the War on Terrorism. This enemy will probe to find America’s weaknesses and strike against them. The United States cannot afford to be complacent about the threat, naive about terrorist intentions, unrealistic about their capabilities, or ignorant to our national vulnerabilities.”

ACT! for America Comment

While John McCain has at times expressed his concern for America’s national image due to allegations of torture of suspected terrorist detainees, the column above is consistent with McCain’s stated position on the root cause of terrorism. For instance, McCain labels the principal terrorist threat to the world as “radical Islamic terrorism.” See the following article.

Washington Times, April 21, 2008

“A coalition of American Muslim groups is demanding that Sen. John McCain stop using the adjective “Islamic” to describe terrorists and extremist enemies of the United States.

Muneer Fareed, who heads the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), told The Washington Times that his group is beginning a campaign to persuade Mr. McCain to rephrase his descriptions of the enemy.

“We’ve tried to contact his office, contact his spokesperson to have them rethink word usage that is more acceptable to the Muslim community,” Mr. Fareed said. “If it’s not our intent to paint everyone with the same brush, then certainly we should think seriously about just characterizing them as criminals, because that is what they are.”

An aide to Mr. McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee who is counting on his pro-Iraq war stance to attract conservative voters, said the senator from Arizona will not drop the word.

Steve Schmidt, a former Bush White House aide who is now a McCain media strategist, told The Times that the use of the word is appropriate and that the candidate will continue to define the enemy that way…

Mr. McCain, an ex-Navy fighter pilot and leading hawk on the Iraq war, regularly uses the term “Islamic” in major foreign-policy speeches and in news conferences.

In a speech last month to the Los Angeles World Affairs Council, Mr. McCain said the formation of an international coalition “will strengthen us to confront the transcendent challenge of our time: the threat of radical Islamic terrorism.” [Emphasis added]

In a Republican debate in January, Mr. McCain turned to then-rival Mitt Romney and said, “I raised it many times, as to whether you have the experience and the judgment to lead this country in the war against radical Islamic extremism.”

In a July speech to Christians United for Israel, Mr. McCain said, “Violent Islamic extremists would have us believe that there is only one acceptable religious practice, and that those who diverge from it are not entitled to life or liberty. They are wrong; very, very wrong.”

ACT! for America Comment

As a result of John McCain’s position that we are at war with radical Islamic terrorists, he holds that suspected terrorists are “enemy combatants” who allegedly have waged war against us. As suspected enemy combatants, they should be tried through military tribunals established for that purpose. McCain has objected to the principle, held by Barack Obama, that suspected terrorists be treated as suspected “criminals”, subject to trial through our criminal system, with all the constitutional protections afforded to Americans who are tried in our criminal system.

One reason is that these protections would include the right to confront one’s accuser, which would likely require the release of classified information and the exposure of informants and intelligence agents, thus compromising national security.

See the following two articles.

June 18, 2008 U.S. News and World Report

“But when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week that terrorist detainees in the Guantánamo Bay facility have the constitutional right to challenge their indefinite imprisonment in U.S. civilian courts, Obama praised the ruling. McCain, after first issuing a skeptical statement, sided firmly with President Bush and condemned the ruling, calling it `one of the worst decisions in the history of this country.’”

“The debate [between Obama and McCain] began after Obama told ABC News that prosecuting terrorists is an effective tool and that the government can go after al Qaeda `within the constraints of our Constitution.’”

June 14, 2008 Boston Globe

“We made it very clear these are enemy combatants,” McCain said yesterday, defending his position. “They have not, and never have, been given the rights of citizens of this country.”

Barack Obama

On July 13, 2008, Barack Obama was interviewed by Fareed Zakaria on CNN. The interview can be seen here.

ZAKARIA [CNN]: But how do you view the problem within Islam? As somebody who saw it in Indonesia … the largest Muslim country in the world?

OBAMA: Well, it was interesting. When I lived in Indonesia — this would be ’67, ’68, late ’60s, early ’70s — Indonesia was never the same culture as the Arab Middle East. The brand of Islam was always different.

But around the world, there was no — there was not the sense that Islam was inherently opposed to the West, or inherently opposed to modern life, or inherently opposed to universal traditions like rule of law.

And now in Indonesia, you see some of those extremist elements. And what’s interesting is, you can see some correlation between the economic crash during the Asian financial crisis, where about a third of Indonesia’s GDP was wiped out, and the acceleration of these Islamic extremist forces.

It isn’t to say that there is a direct correlation, but what is absolutely true is that there has been a shift in Islam that I believe is connected to the failures of governments and the failures of the West to work with many of these countries, in order to make sure that opportunities are there, that there’s bottom-up economic growth. [Emphasis added]

You know, the way we have to approach, I think, this problem of Islamic extremism … is we have to hunt down those who would resort to violence to move their agenda, their ideology forward. We should be going after al Qaeda and those networks fiercely and effectively.

But what we also want to do is to shrink the pool of potential recruits. And that involves engaging the Islamic world rather than vilifying it, and making sure that we understand that not only are those in Islam who would resort to violence a tiny fraction of the Islamic world, but that also, the Islamic world itself is diverse.

ACT! for America Comment

Barack Obama makes it clear that he believes some of the root causes of terrorism include poverty. Moreover, he believes failures of the West have contributed to this poverty: “…what is absolutely true is that there has been a shift in Islam that I believe is connected to the failures of governments and the failures of the West to work with many of these countries, in order to make sure that opportunities are there, that there’s bottom-up economic growth.”

It is difficult not to conclude that Barack Obama is laying at least part of the blame for terrorism on “failures of the West.” This is not a new or novel position for Obama. On September 19, 2001, Obama wrote a commentary in response to the horrific attack of 9/11 that was published in the Hyde Park (Illinois) Herald. The July 21, 2008 issue of The New Yorker reprinted that response, found here.

Obama’s response to the event was published on September 19th in the Hyde Park Herald:

“Even as I hope for some measure of peace and comfort to the bereaved families, I must also hope that we as a nation draw some measure of wisdom from this tragedy. Certain immediate lessons are clear, and we must act upon those lessons decisively. We need to step up security at our airports. We must reexamine the effectiveness of our intelligence networks. And we must be resolute in identifying the perpetrators of these heinous acts and dismantling their organizations of destruction.

We must also engage, however, in the more difficult task of understanding the sources of such madness. The essence of this tragedy, it seems to me, derives from a fundamental absence of empathy on the part of the attackers: an inability to imagine, or connect with, the humanity and suffering of others. Such a failure of empathy, such numbness to the pain of a child or the desperation of a parent, is not innate; nor, history tells us, is it unique to a particular culture, religion, or ethnicity. It may find expression in a particular brand of violence, and may be channeled by particular demagogues or fanatics. Most often, though, it grows out of a climate of poverty and ignorance, helplessness and despair. [Emphasis added]

We will have to make sure, despite our rage, that any U.S. military action takes into account the lives of innocent civilians abroad. We will have to be unwavering in opposing bigotry or discrimination directed against neighbors and friends of Middle Eastern descent. Finally, we will have to devote far more attention to the monumental task of raising the hopes and prospects of embittered children across the globe—children not just in the Middle East, but also in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe and within our own shores”.

ACT! for America Comment

Barack Obama states that a “failure of empathy” that led to the attacks on 9/11 “most often…grows out of a climate of poverty and ignorance, helplessness and despair…” This helps explain one of his solutions for dealing with terrorism – increasing foreign aid to $50 billion.

Barack Obama disagrees with John McCain’s position that suspected terrorists are “enemy combatants”, instead taking the position that suspected terrorists are suspected “criminals”, and as such that they have a right to criminal trials in U.S. criminal courts or in military courts-martial, and the constitutional protections afforded those alleged to have committed crimes.

June 18, 2008 U.S. News and World Report

“But when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week that terrorist detainees in the Guantánamo Bay facility have the constitutional right to challenge their indefinite imprisonment in U.S. civilian courts, Obama praised the ruling. McCain, after first issuing a skeptical statement, sided firmly with President Bush and condemned the ruling, calling it `one of the worst decisions in the history of this country.’”

“The debate [between Obama and McCain] began after Obama told ABC News that prosecuting terrorists is an effective tool and that the government can go after al Qaeda `within the constraints of our Constitution.’”

June 14, 2008 Boston Globe

“Obama has long advocated ending the justice system specially created for Guantanamo Bay. He said the detainees should be brought to trial in US courts or in military courts-martial, a proposal the Supreme Court ruling does not affect.”

ACT! for America Closing Comments

It is clear that John McCain and Barack Obama have different perspectives on the root cause of terrorist actions against the United States.

As John McCain said in his July speech to Christians United for Israel, “Violent Islamic extremists would have us believe that there is only one acceptable religious practice, and that those who diverge from it are not entitled to life or liberty.” To John McCain, the root cause of this terrorism is the ideology of the radical Islamists.

Barack Obama has written that the kind of behavior exhibited by those who attacked us on 9/11 emanates from an “absence of empathy”, not “unique to a particular culture, religion or ethnicity…it grows out of a climate of poverty and ignorance, helplessness and despair.” What he wrote in 2001 he has since re-stated, such as in his interview on CNN on July 13, 2008.

Clearly, John McCain and Barack Obama define the root causes of the terrorist threat against us in very different ways. Why is this important? Because how one defines a threat determines how one will deal with the threat.

McCain and Obama also disagree on how to prosecute suspected terrorists. John McCain maintains such detainees are alleged enemy combatants who are being charged with waging war against us and who therefore should be tried under military tribunals established for that purpose. As suspected enemy combatants, they would not be afforded the same constitutional protections afforded Americans who are tried for alleged criminal activity. One reason is that these protections would include the right to confront one’s accuser, which would likely require the public release of classified information and the exposure of informants and intelligence agents, thus compromising national security. Barack Obama maintains such detainees are alleged criminals who are being charged with crimes who therefore should be tried in U.S. civilian or military criminal courts, with all the constitutional protections afforded suspected criminals.

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