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Tags: State | Union | address | Substance

State of the Union — Fanfare Without Substance

Herbert London By Tuesday, 03 February 2015 10:18 AM EST Current | Bio | Archive

The pundits have spoken. Most believe the State of The Union address was a combination of self-congratulation over what was done in the last year and a laundry list of what should be done in the year ahead. In reality it represents fanfare without substance; there is scarcely a difference between George W. Bush and Barack Obama in these annual speeches.
But there is a difference in this year’s address. Presidents have routinely exaggerated their achievements, but never have the American people experienced lies of the kind employed by President Obama in this year’s speech. Yes, presidents lie: “Read my lips — no new taxes” is merely one recent example. And who can forget, “If you like your health plan, you can keep it.”
However, what sets Obama’s recent lies apart from others is that he claims terrorist threats — which could jeopardize American lives — are part of our past, despite the unfolding of dangerous events all over the globe.
As the president indicated, “The shadow of crisis has passed and the state of the union is strong.” The justification for this lie is that American combat missions in Afghanistan and Iraq are largely over. But despite the “What me, worry?” attitude, events reveal the lies.
Russia and Iran, the sponsor of worldwide terrorism, signed an agreement on military cooperation. Russia is also one of the nation’s negotiating with Iran over the acquisition of nuclear weapons.
The Yemeni president resigned in the face of Houthi terrorist attacks. Several months earlier, President Obama said Yemen was a positive example of U.S. counterterrorist activity. Now the Iranian Revolutionary Guards dominate that nation as the American-backed president is deposed and in hiding.
ISIL controls a large area in former Syria and Iraq. Despite pinprick bombing by the U.S., ISIL has established a caliphate and continues to promote barbaric beheadings. The terrorists have demanding $200 million from Japan in return for two hostages.
Al-Qaida has made strides throughout several African nations including Mali, Somalia and, according to recent reports, is collaborating with Boko Haram in Nigeria.
Hezbollah has been stockpiling missiles all to be aimed at Israel. Last week General Mohammed Ali Allah Dadi, a top military official in Syria supporting Bashar Assad, was killed along with six operatives of Iran and Hezbollah, in anticipation of an imminent attack on Israel.
With the world in disarray, President Obama did an Alfred E. Neuman imitation by arguing: “We will continue to hunt down terrorists and dismantle their networks, and we reserve the right to act unilaterally, as we’ve done relentlessly since I took office, to take out terrorists who pose a direct threat to us and our allies.” This claim is news to al-Qaida, a terrorist group the president said on an earlier occasion was defanged, yet is on the ascendency in Yemen and elsewhere. If the war against terrorism is relentless, how does one explain the rapid ISIL takeover of swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria?
Obama contended in a New Yorker article that “equilibrium” between Iran’s Shiites and Gulf Sunnis would create a Middle East where “there’s competition, perhaps suspicion, but not an active or proxy warfare.” However, proxy warfare is now ubiquitous in the region.
Since the president is given a security briefing each morning, he had to be aware of the parlous global condition before his State of the Union address. Yet he pointedly chose to ignore the reality, alas, he lied about the terrorist threat.
It is one thing to lie about taxes or healthcare, but lying about national security puts every American at risk. H.L. Mencken once said, “The men the American people admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth.”

Perhaps that is true since Obama was elected twice; but should another 9/11 occur on his watch, the lies in the State of the Union address will haunt him all the days of his life and perhaps haunt the American people as well.
Herbert London is president emeritus of Hudson Institute and author of the books "The Transformational Decade" (University Press of America) and "Decline and Revival in Higher Education" (Transaction Books). Read more reports from Herbert London — Click Here Now.

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The pundits have spoken. Most believe the State of The Union address was a combination of self-congratulation over what was done in the last year and a laundry list of what should be done in the year ahead.
State, Union, address, Substance
Tuesday, 03 February 2015 10:18 AM
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