President Obama is set to address the nation on Wednesday about his strategy to deal with the Islamic State. When you consider just nine months ago Obama was referring to ISIS as a “jayvee team,” it is clear how much has changed. On radio this morning, Glenn delivered the speech he would like to hear from the President tonight – though it's unlikely.
On Sunday, the American people finally learned the true priorities of the Obama Administration. When asked if he regretted his highly criticized gold outing in Martha’s Vineyard following his press conference to confirm American journalist James Foley’s beheading, Obama said he did not regret hitting the links – but he did regret the “optics.”
“Everybody has a pivot point. His pivot point is on optics. [But] this is not an optics problem. This is a real problem,” Glenn said. “This isn't a P.R. problem. This isn't a photographic problem… This is actually something. And I don't know if the president can do something about this.”
With that in mind, Glenn said this is what he would like to hear Obama say to the American people:
A few years ago, I didn't believe that it was possible that a Caliphate could be established. Nobody really did. It's an insane thought. It's the thought that all of the Middle East could be united under one banner. And the way that happens is through force. I really thought that we were a better planet than that. I thought we were past the days of barbarism. I thought we were out of the Middle Ages because I'm an optimistic guy. I believe we're better that, and I believe the people of the Middle East are better than that. I believe the people of the Middle East don't want that.
I also know that this United States of America is war weary. We're tired of these wars. They don't seem winnable. They don't seem like they'll ever end. I came into office telling you that they would end. I was going to end them. Well, I will tell you this: I ended the war in Iraq, and I'm ending the war in Afghanistan. We did go after Osama Bin Laden, and we got him. We have killed some of the bad terrorists. It was my misunderstanding of what we were dealing with when we were in the campaign. I said to then Governor Romney that the '80s wanted their policies back, that Russia wasn't a threat. We see now Russia is. But again, that mistake was made because I'm an optimist.
We now see that is not true. I want to continue to believe that the world is a better place than perhaps it is, that the leaders around the world are better than perhaps they are, and that we are the greatest nation ever put together in the history of the world. Perhaps we're not. But I believe that. Because I believe that, it requires us to do certain things and that is: Admit when we're wrong and show you not only are we wrong, we're going to correct these things.
It would be disingenuous for me to come to you tonight and say I've got a plan because last week I told you, in a frank moment, I didn't have a plan yet. I told you seven months ago that ISIS was a JV team. It clearly wasn't. I want you to know, I take full responsibility for my understanding of what these people were and where they're going. However, with that being said, the president of the United States has a lot to do. I am the president of the entire country, not just one group of people or another group of people, but the entire country. It's my responsibility. The economy, the wars, the healing that is going on, the future policy, technology, we're looking at all sort of things. Our border.
A lot is on fire, and you know that. That's why I have trusted advisors. I want you to know that I think all of the guys that served with me on advisory panels, James Clapper is one of them, who said that I won't even address the Caliphate because that's a mockery. That it would never, ever happen. I thanked James just before I went on the air tonight for his great service to this nation. I thanked him for all of the advice that he's given. But obviously, having James at the C.I.A. – who believes and never saw this coming seven months ago, in fact, mocked it – he's the wrong guy for the C.I.A. in this ever-changing world. I'm only telling you this not to shame him or not to take excuse. I'm showing you this because it's important for you to know I see the difference from where I was to where I am.
In the last 10 days, I've assembled the best minds that I could find that were not mocking the Caliphate. They were the ones in the periphery of my cabinet. They were the ones in the halls of the Pentagon that said, ‘Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. The Caliphate could happen. ISIS is not a JV team.’ Those voices were dismissed in the past. I have promoted them today.
I'm coming to you tonight to tell you that I take ISIS seriously. I'm telling you, I don't have a plan for you right now because I'm not just going to come in here and give you a speech for optics. It's the eve of September 11th. Nobody needs to see the President say anything. What the world needs to see is America doing something. I want you to know what ISIS is, what they stand for, and what they do is evil. Period. The best way for evil to grow is for good men and women to do nothing. America is great because America is good. Therefore, let the world be put on notice. Because we are good, we will not stand around and do nothing as evil grows.
I'm going to get back to work with my advisers. I will tell you that it's not going to be a long protracted war. I will tell you this: We will win in the end. We will show the world what America is capable of in both defense – defense of ourselves and the innocent, defense of our values – and we will also show the rest of the world what happens if you decide you want to behead our journalists and our citizens.
Oh, one more thing. I just want to put on notice: If you're here as a citizen, you have a passport or a visa, you leave this country and you go fight on behalf of evil, you're not welcome here. You might as well burn your passport when you leave because you're not coming back. You're an enemy combatant of the United States of America. You're not welcome on the shores. You have to make a choice. You're either here for freedom and opportunity for all – even those people who you disagree with, those religions who you don't like, because I will defend your religion and your right to practice your religion in the way you understand it and see fit as long as it means that you have that same respect for other religions. But the minute you leave this country and you fight for somebody who says, ‘The United States of America is the great Satan and we're coming here,’ I'm sorry. I can no longer give you the benefit of the doubt. You leave here. You're done here.
Good night, America.
“I could give him all kinds of lines that would give him ways out and people would embrace him,” Glenn concluded. “That's pretty much all he has to say. He could give more detail, but I don't think he could give it with any kind of real credibility. But… he's not going to give us any of those things.”
Glenn discussed this story in the morning meeting: