Suggested Obama speech draft: "The Real Enemy"

My fellow Americans,

Tonight I speak from the heart.  My words are not ghostwritten or focus group tested.  This is what I, as leader of the free world, truly believe.

Let me talk about the real nature of terrorism (the kind that most affects us, since many different terrorist groups wreak havoc around the world).  And let me call the enemy by its real name.

Violent Muslim attacks on Western countries -- and let's face it, they ARE Muslim, and I apologize for my verbal cowardice...occur for a variety of reasons, one of which is the constant meddling in and invasions of Middle Eastern countries -- by us.  For a very long time, your country has interfered, supported dictators, and invaded, to the point where large numbers of people in the Middle East hate us, permanently.  The real reason for 9/11 was that Americans were in Saudi Arabia, defiling holy ground.

The other reason for the attacks -- and in my opinion, the one that really shapes and drives terrorism -- is religion.  In particular, Islam.  But what of all the moderate Muslims who denounce terrorism and insist that theirs is a religion of peace and brotherhood?  

This is the problem: they're all reading from the same book.  As with any ancient religious text, there are barbaric elements and enlightened elements.  Much of the Book of Deuteronomy is about the conduct of warfare and ethnic cleansing.  But we've outgrown that.

Muslims have not.  They are reading selectively and obeying the passages that urge destruction of the infidel -- and there are plenty (Sam Harris quotes them in one of his books).

We who have been through the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and the Age of Reason are the heirs of a great legacy: the ability to employ reason and critical thinking.  And reason tells us that there is no justification for slavish obedience to ancient texts, that much of religion is pure fantasy, and that, certainly, we ought not set upon our brothers and sisters just because they cling to a different belief system -- or, in a profoundly tragic case of ignorance, the Sunni-Shi'ite conflict, to a different flavor of the same religion.

Our ability to think -- that which makes us human -- tells us that all religions are equally false, equally full of insane fantasy.

It is religion that is the true enemy.  Let us quit pretending the the fanatics have "hijacked" or "corrupted" Islam.  They're reading from the same book.

It is holy books that, as the foundation of religion, are the real problem.  Just as Jefferson went through the Bible and clipped out the useful teachings, so could Muslims stop endangering the rest of us by focusing only on the enligtened passages instead of clinging to the ancient conquest fantasies of people long dead.

What does all of this mean for American foreign policy?

As Commander-in-Chief, I hereby revoke ALL American involvement in the Middle East, except for embassies and consulates in countries where they would not be endangered.  Let Muslims kill Muslims and let Allah sort it all out.

Today we set Muslims free to solve their own problems.  But they had better not try to force their fanaticism on the rest of us.  They had better not threaten what has taken us a thousand years to build: a proud Western civilization based on science, liberty, and reason.  

I will work with Congress to hasten the arrest and prompt execution of anyone convicted of terrorism.   Enemy combatants do not deserve the protection of American law.  That is just plain ridiculous.

So to the Muslim murderers and sowers of violence and chaos, who think they're going to Paradise, who have nothing to offer the rest of us but a return to the Middle Ages, I say: yes! -- if you want to be martyrs, we will hasten your journey.  

My predecessor saw the violence as "evil" -- but that was because the purity of his thinking allowed for only black and white.  He would be surprised to know that the evildoers consider HIM evil and believe they are doing the world a great good.  This is where religion leads: follow its fantasies, and they lead you into dark places.

Once again: the real enemy is religion itself, with different people interpreting the same holy book differently.  An immature, violent subset of believers, practicing an Islam centuries away from enlightenment, takes the nasty parts of the book seriously.  Yet they have an equal claim to the word "Muslim."  

I'm sorry, but that's how it is, and that's how it will be until people can put their religious fantasies aside, practice true tolerance, and focus on the teachings that benefit us all.  Religion does get some things right.

Finally, a remark from comedian Carlos Mencia. Those of you in Muslim countries where laughter is forbidden will have to Google the word "comedian."  Carlos said that the reason Columbus sought an ocean route to India was so that he wouldn't have to deal with the cantankerous, warlike people in between: the Middle East.

I can sympathize. To summarize, our two-part strategy:  Now that we have such abundant energy, we can let the Middle East revert to medieval tribalism (it's pretty much there already), and we respond harshly to any attacks on our own countries.   If they want a cult of death, we will indulge them.

But until we recognize that the problem is religion itself, conflict will be endless.  Our enemies are practicing medieval religious warfare: conversion by the sword.  

They are victims of a collective psychosis and must be confined to their sandy hell-holes, there to develop and evolve to where they can join the rest of us.


Thank you for listening to me tonight. May our great country thrive, prosper -- and prevail over its enemies.  I intend to do everything in my power to see that it does.  


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Comment by Alan Perlman on February 15, 2015 at 11:16am

Jay, I agree that "terrorist"  is a very slippery word -- it's always somebody else whom the name-caller happens not to like. As a linguist, I love to watch the semantic mud-slinging, but I try not to get dirty myself.  Yes, al Qaida et el. are terrorists in the sense that they're trying to sow fear in the enemy's homeland.  But they are not just violent criminals.  Their actions have a point and a purpose, bizarre as they seem to us.  So let's hear Obama man up and call them by their right name: Islamic fanatics.

Comment by jay H on February 14, 2015 at 6:09pm

Obama doesn't seem to have the political courage to say these things. I suspect it's because he's afraid of offending the Saudis, Egyptians, and whomever else. In his recent request for Congressional support, he listed minority groups that were being persecuted, except, surprisingly Jews. Jewish politicians and leaders were understandably upset, this was not an off the cuff remark, it was a carefully crafted document, vetted through his advisors. This cannot be an accidental omission.

Regarding my earlier comment about descending, I'm not arguing out of some touchy feely liberalism. I'm arguing out of self interest. Who gets to choose who is a terrorist? or what crimes can be considered terrorism (and hence not subject to normal standards of law).  Obama? Bush? Chaney? Down the road you don't know WHO will be in office. Or WHO will be in position to make those judgements.

Comment by Alan Perlman on February 13, 2015 at 12:26pm

PS.  Re the "we can't descend to their level" by summarily executing them: America has shown it can temporarily practice the necessary level of barbarism to win the war.  The difference is that violence and extermination are a way of life for the fanatics.  When Japan was defeated, we diidn't go in and slaughter the remaining Japanese. 

Comment by Alan Perlman on February 13, 2015 at 12:17pm

Thanks to all commentators.  Yes, this is a speech that the Prez will never give.  It's hard to know what he really thinks (unlike W - you always knew what he thought), but his words reveal a frightening ignorance of the big picture.   He's trying to tiptoe around any indictment of religion itself, so we  get the mealymouthed BS about "corrupting" and "hijacking" the "true" Islam.  But the fanatics think THEY are practicing the real thing.

A recent editorial cartoon shows a "what if" scenario of Obama speaking the day after Pearl Harbor: "We will find the pilots who did this and bring them to justice."  Yeah, that'll solve the problem. 

Comment by Frankie Dapper on February 12, 2015 at 8:43pm

I like it Allen. Throw it up on the teleprompter for the president to read and lets see how he does extemporaneously.  Cuz I know he would not have the guts to utter those words. And likely he would in his heart of hearts disagree with most of your thoughts.


Comment by jay H on February 12, 2015 at 6:20pm

"I will work with Congress to hasten the arrest and prompt execution of anyone convicted of terrorism.   Enemy combatants do not deserve the protection of American law.

Pretty good points, but here is a deadly precedent.  Subverting rule of law (which Bush partially did with Guantanamo) not only makes us hypocrites, but it opens the door to future dramatic redefinitions of 'terrorist'. Look already how easily people get accused of 'support of terrorism'. Subverting the rule of law is the path of dictators, and down the road, dictators WILL come.

Comment by Alan Perlman on February 12, 2015 at 5:48pm


Thanks for the kind words.  There is no underestimating the de-motivating force of oil wealth over the years.  That, right along with religion, has them stuck in stupid.   

Comment by Joan Denoo on February 12, 2015 at 3:57pm

As so often happens, Alan, your words stir my thinking and motivate me to action. I was wrong about how to treat terrorists that came to our country and go to other countries to do their destruction.

"Enemy combatants do not deserve the protection of the law."

I agree with you that all Muslims read from the same book, even as only some do their dastardly deeds. I broaden the idea and say all Christians read from the same book and there are so many conflicts about what it says, there are within group and between groups battles.

Very ethical, moral, committed christians believe in using violence to bring up a child or treat women as chattel or reject GLBT. There are some who beat kids, women, and gays or reject them. Too few Christians speak against such barbarity in their own midst.

Religion underlies all these atrocities.

I agree with you, USA should pull out of these Muslim countries that support terrorism, including Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, and Sudan.

I further agree that the Muslim countries, themselves, have to fight out their struggle and sort out their issues. They continue to live in the Dark Ages, which is a real tragedy because the Golden Age of Islam produced such a powerful influence on later science, literature and art before the Enlightenment.

Of course, the problem with severing all ties with terrorist supporting countries, is that Islam calls for the conversion of the whole Earth, as does the teachings of Christianity.

Another problem is that too many of our one% wealthy gain their wealth from oil. This resource will not last forever, and because of greed, humans will have pumped and burned until the last drop of fossil fuel and used all the potable water, until the environment will no longer support life.

"But until we recognize that the problem is religion itself, conflict will be endless. Our enemies are practicing medieval religious warfare: conversion by the sword.

"They are victims of a collective psychosis and must be confined to their sandy hell-holes, there to develop and evolve to where they can join the rest of us."

Alan Perlman 

Countries with Large Terrorism Presence

The Islamic Golden Age




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