Wednesday at a joint press conference with and President Mauricio Macri of Argentina, President Barack Obama said the proposals for fighting the Islamic State (ISIS) by both Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) were un-American and counterproductive.
Partial transcript as follows:
OBAMA: We should not do is take approaches that are going to be counterproductive. So when I hear somebody saying we should carpet bomb Iraq or Syria, not only is that inhumane, not only is that contrary to our values, but that would likely be an extraordinary mechanism for ISIL to recruit more people willing to die and explode bombs in an airport or in a metro station. That’s not a smart strategy.
As far as what some candidates have said, I think I’ve been very clear on this. One of great strengths of the United States, and part of the reason we have not seen more attacks in the United States, is we have a extraordinarily successful, patriotic, integrated Muslim-American community. They do not feel isolated. Their children are our children’s friends going to the same schools. They are our colleagues in our workplaces. They are our men and women in uniform fighting to our freedom. So any approach that would single them out or target them for discrimination is not only wrong and un-American, but it also would be counterproductive because it would reduce the strength, the antibodies that we have to resist terrorism.
As far as the notion of having surveillance of neighborhoods where Muslims are present, I just left a country that engages in that kind of neighborhood surveillance which, by the way, the father of Senator Cruz escaped for America, the land of the free. The notion that we would start down that slippery slope makes absolutely no sense. It’s contrary to who we are. And it’s not going to help us defeat ISIL.
Last point I’ll make on this, I understand understand when we see the sight of these kind of attacks, our hearts bleed because we know that could be our children, that could be our family members or our friends or co-workers who travel to a place like Brussels. And it scares the American people, and it horrifies me. I’ve got two young daughters who are growing up a little too fast. I want them to have the freedom to move and travel around the world without the possibility that they’d be killed. So I understand why this is the top priority to the American people and I want them to understand this is my top priority as well. It is the top priority of my national security team. It is the top private of the military. It is the top priority of our intelligence officers. It is the top priority of our diplomats. But we are approaching this in a way that has a chance of working. And it will work. and we’re not going to do things that are counterproductive simply because it’s political season. We’re going to be steady.
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