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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Deep Thoughts

Here are some interesting excerpts from President Barack Obama's remarks on Strengthening Intelligence and Aviation Security given today.  The full transcript may be found here.

"... am less interested in passing out blame than I am in learning from and correcting these mistakes to make us safer.  For ultimately, the buck stops with me.  As President, I have a solemn responsibility to protect our nation and our people.  And when the system fails, it is my responsibility. 

Over the past two weeks, we've been reminded again of the challenge we face in protecting our country against a foe that is bent on our destruction.  And while passions and politics can often obscure the hard work before us, let's be clear about what this moment demands.  We are at war.  We are at war against al Qaeda, a far-reaching network of violence and hatred that attacked us on 9/11, that killed nearly 3,000 innocent people, and that is plotting to strike us again.  And we will do whatever it takes to defeat them.

And we've made progress.  Al Qaeda's leadership is hunkered down.  We have worked closely with partners, including Yemen, to inflict major blows against al Qaeda leaders.  And we have disrupted plots at home and abroad, and saved American lives.

And we know that the vast majority of Muslims reject al Qaeda.  But it is clear that al Qaeda increasingly seeks to recruit individuals without known terrorist affiliations not just in the Middle East, but in Africa and other places, to do their bidding.  That's why I've directed my national security team to develop a strategy that addresses the unique challenges posed by lone recruits.
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Here at home, we will strengthen our defenses, but we will not succumb to a siege mentality that sacrifices the open society and liberties and values that we cherish as Americans, because great and proud nations don't hunker down and hide behind walls of suspicion and mistrust.  That is exactly what our adversaries want, and so long as I am President, we will never hand them that victory.  We will define the character of our country, not some band of small men intent on killing innocent men, women and children.

And in this cause, every one of us -- every American, every elected official -- can do our part.  Instead of giving into cynicism and division, let's move forward with the confidence and optimism and unity that defines us as a people.  For now is not a time for partisanship, it's a time for citizenship -- a time to come together and work together with the seriousness of purpose that our national security demands.

That's what it means to be strong in the face of violent extremism.  That's how we will prevail in this fight.  And that's how we will protect our country and pass it -- safer and stronger -- to the next generation."






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