There is a pervasive idea in today’s American society that regardless of political philosophy or party affiliation, one must never criticize the members of the United States military. Conventional wisdom holds that we must appreciate the sacrifice soldiers have made to “fight for our freedom,” and even if one is against the war, they must always “support the troops.” This line of thinking is not coming solely from the pro-war crowd; many of those who consider themselves anti-war (or at least oppose a specific war or conflict) have the utmost regard for those who fight in them. But is this canonization of those who take up arms in the name of the United States government truly just? Or is it a falsehood based on propaganda, emotion, and a lack of critical thinking?
The first myth that must be debunked is the previously-mentioned idea that the job of a soldier is to protect “our freedom.” This assertion is unequivocally untrue. The role of U.S. soldiers, first and foremost, is to obey the orders of their government and commanders, whether these orders support or infringe upon the freedoms of Americans and those in other countries. A soldier is not beholden to the average American, but instead to a small group of people in authority. His job is not to keep us free, but to do what he is told, even if that includes participating in the deaths of innocent people. Propaganda slogans aside (“a government for the people, by the people”), governments are not the people of a country. A soldier is not accountable to us, but to them.
Many troop supporters would also point out that the job of a soldier includes disobeying illegal orders. In theory, this seems like an appropriate safeguard. But in practice, this rarely happens. Take the 2003 Iraq War, for instance, which was viewed by many in the U.S. as an unconstitutional war. The war was also viewed by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan as a violation of international law. In theory, one would have expected a sizable contingent of soldiers to disobey the orders of President George W. Bush and refuse to step foot on Iraqi soil. Instead, a full-fledged invasion was launched. There are numerous other instances of soldiers breaking the law to do what they are told, whether it be the torture of detainees at Abu Gharib or the My Lai Massacre during the Vietnam War. Even for soldiers who refuse to break the law, the legality of a war or order is fairly irrelevant in practice; those who are in power are able to bend the law to their liking, as the Bush administration did when it argued that “enhanced interrogation” (otherwise known as torture) was not in violation of the Geneva Convention. It is entirely possible that an individual soldier could at least attempt to opt out of performing illegal actions. But, there’s a relativity good chance he would be punished instead of commended. Even if he were to succeed without any repercussions, there would still likely be many more soldiers willing to do what he refused to.
The Iraq War is also a relevant example of the falsity of soldiers fighting for our freedom. Saddam Hussein was no threat to the freedoms of everyday Americans. He was not attacking us and had no plans to do so. What American freedoms were at stake in Iraq? The United States government, with its domestic spying, draconian drug laws, and disregard for our civil liberties has done far more to reduce the freedoms of the average American than Saddam Hussein ever did or could have. Yet the war raged on, killing somewhere from 150,000 to 1 million Iraqis (estimates vary) and over 4,000 U.S. soldiers. In reality, the only thing this war did was make Americans less safe. The disposal of Saddam Hussein paved the way for the rise of the Islamic State, which is now viewed as a greater threat to attack the US than Saddam ever was. But beyond that, the killing of civilians (estimated to be more than 100,000 by the Iraq Body Count Project) furthered a problem that the CIA refers to as “blowback.” Blowback is the idea that there are indirect consequences resulting from US military and government actions. In this case, the murder of civilians (dismissed by many as “collateral damage,” as if the victims were less than human) and the destruction of homes from bombings and drone strikes resulted in increased anti-American sentiment, which leads to increased recruitment by terrorist groups and more attacks on innocent people. It’s not hard to imagine why the killing of an innocent family member or friend by a foreign invader could lead to someone having an intense feeling of anger; it only requires us to think of Iraqis as people like us and not statistics. If a foreign invader were bombing American cities and killing civilians, Americans would be rightfully outraged.
Blowback has not just been a problem stemming from the Iraq War; the United States has a long history of meddling in the Middle East. installing dictators (as it did in Iran in 1952), toppling leaders, and killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people (if not more) in the process. U.S. interventionism in the Middle East was cited by Osama bin Laden as the main reason for his planning of the 9/11 attacks (they did not simply “hate us for our freedoms”). One would be hard-pressed to find an American war in the last fifty years in which our freedoms were actually being protected. Some would say Afghanistan, as the original purpose was said to be finding those responsible for 9/11. But it quickly turned into a nation-building exercise with many of the qualities of the Iraq War.
Even many of those who would agree that the aforementioned wars have made us less safe and agree that the killing of civilians in war is morally reprehensible believe that soldiers do not deserve any of the blame. They blame solely the politicians who send them to war, and excuse the actions of the soldiers by saying that they’re “just doing their jobs.” Of course, the politicians do deserve a great share of the blame and in no way escape moral responsibility for the atrocities they’ve proposed or supported. But such actions could not occur without members of the military willing to carry them out. If it were true that “doing their jobs” excuses their actions, it would mean that someone getting paid for something (even it that something is morally wrong) automatically makes that action ok, or at least excuses the person from any moral responsibility. If this were true, it would be ok for a contract killer to commit a murder; he’s simply doing his job. It would be ok for a slave-catcher to hunt down, kidnap, and return a runaway slave. A Nazi concentration camp guard would not deserve any blame for shooting those who attempt to run away; he is paid to do so, and he is just trying to feed his family. Of course, this is utter nonsense; individuals are responsible for the choices they make and the actions they commit. Soldiers choose to sign up to kill who they are told to by a government. Soldiers are the ones fighting pre-emptive wars against those who have done nothing to them or their country. Soldiers are the ones bombing hospitals to take out a suspected enemy, even though innocent people will be killed or disfigured in the process. Ultimately, unless someone is coerced into an action under the threat of violence or some other type of harm, that person is responsible for the things they do.
This is not to say that all soldiers, or even most, are bad people. While I’m sure there are a collection of soldiers that delight in exercising their power over others or killing those they view as sub-human (as Chris Kyle, the subject of the movie American Sniper, did), I have no problem asserting that many soldiers believe they are doing the right thing. I am also sure that some do so for selfless reasons, like protecting others. But someone believing that they’re doing the right thing does not mean that they actually are. Many who commit horrific acts do not believe they are doing anything wrong. Members of al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups believe that their actions are morally correct; this does not make them so. If soldiers are excused of moral wrongdoing when they aggress upon others because they believe they are protecting our freedoms, one would have to believe al-Qaeda is also excused of moral culpability when they kill innocent people. Every soldier, even the most self-sacrificing, who participates in the war machine shares at least some responsibility. But this is not to say that some don’t join for the benefits, both monetary and otherwise, that they receive. Americans in particular practice a form of troop worship: responding angrily to anyone who dares to criticizes soldiers, thanking soldiers “for their service” without even knowing what they’ve done, and valuing members of the military and veterans as a higher, protected class. Soldiers are also honored at public gatherings and sporting events. Beyond that, soldiers are paid for what they do, and receive benefits such as free or reduced tuition at colleges and universities. They also receive on the job training that can help them in other careers. Regardless of how taboo it is to say in our culture, there are selfish reasons to join the military; a low-skilled worker could create a better future for himself by joining the military than by taking a minimum-wage job.
Americans are taught from a young age in public schools that the government does what is best for us, and as an extension of the government, soldiers are here to protect our freedom. This is a “truth” that many carry with them throughout their lives, never bothering to rethink it and immediately shutting down those who attempt to dispute it. This is not by accident, but instead by design. No one would attempt to disagree that a Catholic school would teach what the Catholic Church would want to be told. No one would disagree that a Jewish school would teach from the viewpoint of Judaism. It is not a stretch to believe that a school run by the government would teach us what the government wants us to believe. Recognizing the differences between logical thought and our preconceived biases is the first step toward ending the reign of the military-industrial complex.
John Hudak is a market anarchist with a degree in political science from the University of Connecticut.
March 26, 2016
Syrian militias armed by different parts of the U.S. war machine have begun to fight each other on the plains between the besieged city of Aleppo and the Turkish border, highlighting how little control U.S. intelligence officers and military planners have over the groups they have financed and trained in the bitter 5-year-old civil war.
The fighting has intensified over the past two months, as CIA-armed units and Pentagon-armed ones have repeatedly shot at each other as they have maneuvered through contested territory on the northern outskirts of Aleppo, U.S. officials and rebel leaders have confirmed.
In mid-February, a CIA-armed militia called Fursan al Haq, or Knights of Righteousness, was run out of the town of Marea, about 20 miles north of Aleppo, by Pentagon-backed Syrian Democratic Forces moving in from Kurdish-controlled areas to the east.
“Any faction that attacks us, regardless from where it gets its support, we will fight it,” said Maj. Fares Bayoush, a leader of Fursan al Haq.
Promoted stories from PoliticsChatter.com
Rebel fighters described similar clashes in the town of Azaz, a key transit point for fighters and supplies between Aleppo and the Turkish border, and March 3 in the Aleppo neighborhood of Sheikh Maqsud.
Battle for Palmyra will reveal how much damage Islamic State did to priceless relics
Battle for Palmyra will reveal how much damage Islamic State did to priceless relics
The attacks come amid continued heavy fighting in Syria and illustrate the difficulty facing U.S. efforts to coordinate among dozens of armed groups that are trying to overthrow the government of President Bashar Assad, fight the Islamic State militant group and battle one another all at the same time.
“It is an enormous challenge,” said Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, who described the clashes between U.S.-supported groups as “a fairly new phenomenon.”
“It is part of the three-dimensional chess that is the Syrian battlefield,” he said.
The area in northern Syria around Aleppo, the country’s second-largest city, features not only a war between the Assad government and its opponents, but also periodic battles against Islamic State militants, who control much of eastern Syria and also some territory to the northwest of the city, and long-standing tensions among the ethnic groups that inhabit the area, Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen.
Once they cross the border into Syria, you lose a substantial amount of control or ability to control their actions.
— Jeffrey White, former Defense Intelligence Agency official
“This is a complicated, multisided war where our options are severely limited,” said a U.S. official, who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter. “We know we need a partner on the ground. We can’t defeat ISIL without that part of the equation, so we keep trying to forge those relationships.” ISIL is an acronym for the Islamic State.
President Barack Obama recently authorized a new Pentagon plan to train and arm Syrian rebel fighters, relaunching a program that was suspended in the fall after a string of embarrassing setbacks, which included recruits being ambushed and handing over much of their U.S.-issued ammunition and trucks to an al-Qaida affiliate.
Amid the setbacks, the Pentagon late last year deployed about 50 special operations forces to Kurdish-held areas in northeastern Syria to better coordinate with local militias and help ensure U.S.-backed rebel groups aren’t fighting one another.
But such skirmishes have become routine.
Last year, the Pentagon helped create a new military coalition, the Syrian Democratic Forces. The goal was to arm the group and prepare it to take territory away from Islamic State in eastern Syria and to provide information for U.S. airstrikes.
U.S. moving to increase troops in Iraq; senior Islamic State leader killed
U.S. moving to increase troops in Iraq; senior Islamic State leader killed
The group is dominated by Kurdish outfits known as the People’s Protection Units, or YPG. A few Arab units have joined the force in order to prevent it from looking like an invading Kurdish army, and it has received airdrops of weapons and supplies and assistance from U.S. Special Forces.
Gen. Joseph Votel, now commander of U.S. Special Operations Command and the incoming head of Central Command, said this month that about 80 percent of the fighters in the Syrian Democratic Forces were Kurdish.
The U.S. backing for a heavily Kurdish armed force has been a point of tension with the Turkish government, which has a long history of crushing Kurdish rebellions and doesn’t want to see Kurdish units control more of its southern border.
The CIA, meanwhile, has its own operations center inside Turkey from which it has been directing aid to rebel groups in Syria, providing them with TOW antitank missiles from Saudi Arabian weapons stockpiles.
While the Pentagon’s actions are part of an overt effort by the U.S. and its allies against the Islamic State, the CIA’s backing of militias is part of a separate covert U.S. effort aimed at keeping pressure on the Assad government in hopes of prodding the Syrian leader to the negotiating table.
At first, the two different sets of fighters were primarily operating in widely separated areas of Syria — the Pentagon-backed Syrian Democratic Forces in the northeastern part of the country and the CIA-backed groups further west.
But, over the past several months, Russian airstrikes against anti-Assad fighters in northwestern Syria have weakened them.
That created an opening that allowed the Kurdish-led groups to expand their zone of control to the outskirts of Aleppo, bringing them into more frequent conflict with the CIA-backed outfits.
We’ll fight all who aim to divide Syria or harm its people.
— Suqour Al-Jabal Brigade fighter
“Fighting over territory in Aleppo demonstrates how difficult it is for the U.S. to manage these really localized and, in some cases, entrenched conflicts,” said Nicholas Heras, an expert on the Syrian civil war at the Center for a New American Security, a think tank in Washington. “Preventing clashes is one of the constant topics in the joint operations room with Turkey.”
Over the course of the Syrian civil war, the town of Marea has been on the front line of the Islamic State’s attempts to advance across Aleppo province toward the rest of northern Syria.
On Feb. 18, the Syrian Democratic Forces attacked the town.
A fighter with the Suqour Al-Jabal Brigade, a group with links to the CIA, said intelligence officers of the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State know their group has clashed with the Pentagon-trained militias.
“The MOM knows we fight them,” he said, referring to the joint operations center in southern Turkey, which is known as MOM from the acronym of its name in Turkish, Musterek Operasyon Merkezi.
“We’ll fight all who aim to divide Syria or harm its people,” said the fighter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Marea is home to many of the original Islamist fighters who took up arms against Assad during the Arab Spring in 2011. It has long been a critical way station for supplies and fighters coming from Turkey into Aleppo.
“Attempts by Syrian Democratic Forces to take Marea was a great betrayal and was viewed as a further example of a Kurdish conspiracy to force them from Arab and Turkmen lands,” Heras said.
The clashes brought the U.S. and Turkish officials to “loggerheads,” he added.
After diplomatic pressure from the U.S., the militia withdrew to the outskirts of the town as a sign of good faith, he said.
But continued fighting among different U.S.-backed groups may be inevitable, experts on the region said.
“Once they cross the border into Syria, you lose a substantial amount of control or ability to control their actions,” said Jeffrey White, a former Defense Intelligence Agency official. “You certainly have the potential for it becoming a larger problem as people fight for territory and control of the northern border area in Aleppo.”
W.J. Hennigan and Brian Bennett reported from Washington and special correspondent Nabih Bulos from Amman.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani continued his years-long campaign to troll current and former members of the Obama administration on Wednesday when he declared that Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton could be “considered a founding member of ISIS.”
The ex-mayor linked the former secretary of state to the terror organization during an appearance on Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor,” during which he attacked President Obama for not doing enough to fight terrorism, while faulting Clinton for not stepping up while she served under him.
“She created ISIS,” Giuliani argued. “By being part of an administration that withdrew from Iraq. By being part of an administration that let Maliki run Iraq into the ground, so you forced the Shiites to make a choice. By not intervening in Syria at the proper time. By being part of an administration that drew 12 lines in the sand and made a joke out of it.”
RELATED: Giuliani: We could have more attacks this year
The show’s host, Bill O’Reilly, argued in Clinton’s defense that she was unable to force Obama’s hand and that the only choice she had was to resign. To which Giuliani replied: “Which is what a patriot does.” Many experts would counter Giuliani’s claims, arguing that the genesis of ISIS can be traced back to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, which was initiated under President George W. Bush.
Once a moderate who was long considered a viable candidate for the presidency, Giuliani has morphed in recent years into one of the more far-right voices on foreign policy.
In December, he appeared to corroborate presidential candidate Donald Trump’s claims that Muslims “celebrated” after 9/11 here in the U.S., claiming there were “pockets of celebrations” the day the World Trade Center was attacked. He has opposed the U.S. taking in Syrian refugees because the “vetting process is a joke.”
“Send them back to Syria, that’s where they belong,” he said on MSNBC’s “Hardball” last November.
He’s also railed against the president’s historic nuclear deal with Iran, claiming that Obama “caved” last August. “They gave away everything,” he said during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “It’s like I got your house for nothing. Basically, they took Obama’s house for nothing.”
Giuliani’s ire for the president is well-documented. He infamously claimed that he wasn’t sure if Obama “loves America” and a month later actually suggested that the president should emulate embattled comedian Bill Cosby when addressing volatile racial tension in Ferguson, Missouri.
“I hate to mention it because of what happened afterwards, but (he should be saying) the kinds of stuff Bill Cosby used to say,” Giuliani said on a New York radio show, according to the New York Daily News. By “afterwards,” he presumably meant accusations that Cosby raped and drugged dozens of women over many decades, allegations that the iconic comedian denies. Prior to making that statement, the 71-year-old argued that Darren Wilson, the now retired Ferguson police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen, should be “commended.”
This week Giuliani admitted he would “probably” endorse Donald Trump for president prior to his home state’s primary in April.
“The way I look at it, there really are only three people who will be the next president of the United States. One’s Hillary Clinton, the other’s Donald Trump, and the third is Ted Cruz,” he said Monday at a College Republicans event at Columbia University, according to audio first obtained by POLITICO New York.
“So I’ll choose between those three,” he added. “I’ll give you a hint: it won’t be Hillary Clinton. I seriously doubt it will be Ted Cruz. But I just want to think about it a little bit more before I do anything formally.”
I know a lot of people have had their hopes up about Donald Trump. When the Republican candidate said the war in Iraq was a disaster and that Bush had lied to get us in that war, a lot of people, myself included, took it as a hopeful sign. We also assumed that since he was self-funding his campaign, he would not be as dependent upon the pro-Israel lobby, and might, if elected, actually chart a course of independence away from our usual servitude to Israel.
But the speech given by Trump before AIPAC earlier this evening is perhaps the most fawning speech any candidate could possibly have given. Even Joe Biden’s speech yesterday had more teeth to it, and Biden is known for being one of the most kowtowing Israel supporters in Washington. Biden at least had the nerve to criticize Israel for its settlement expansions. Not only did Trump make no mention of the settlements, not only was he mute on the subject of the theft of Palestinian land and destruction of homes, but he accused the Palestinians of terrorism, of teaching their children to hate Jews, and he promised to move the US embassy to Jerusalem. He also vowed essentially to scrap the Iran deal and even claimed that Iranian missiles are inscribed with the words “Israel must be wiped off the face of the earth”–an allegation that appears based on nothing more than a tweet posted earlier this month. If you’re a dedicated Zionist, what’s not to like?
Maybe it’s time we started rethinking the whole subject of Donald Trump. I’m not saying do or don’t vote for him. I’m simply saying that in AIPAC we have an organization whose goal is to further the interest of an apartheid state that routinely kills women and children, and that when a presidential candidate appears on a podium before such an assembly and expresses his own accord with those objectives, then maybe we should take his words at face value.
A few days ago I posted a call for the formation of a new political party–the End Aid to Israel Party. The good thing about having a party whose goal is specifically stated in its name is that it would eliminate a lot of the guesswork that people are now burdened with in trying to assess candidates like Trump. The political process as it currently exists in America is a dead end street. This is why a new political party is so direly needed at this point. ]
Transcript of Trump’s Speech at AIPAC:
TRUMP: Good evening. Thank you very much.
I speak to you today as a lifelong supporter and true friend of Israel. (CHEERS, APPLAUSE)
I am a newcomer to politics, but not to backing the Jewish state.
In 2001, weeks after the attacks on New York City and on Washington and, frankly, the attacks on all of us, attacks that perpetrated and they were perpetrated by the Islamic fundamentalists, Mayor Rudy Giuliani visited Israel to show solidarity with terror victims.
I sent my plane because I backed the mission for Israel 100 percent.
In spring of 2004 at the height of the violence in the Gaza Strip, I was the grand marshal of the 40th Salute to Israel Parade, the largest-single gathering in support of the Jewish state.
It was a very dangerous time for Israel and frankly for anyone supporting Israel. Many people turned down this honor. I did not. I took the risk and I’m glad I did.
But I didn’t come here tonight to pander to you about Israel. That’s what politicians do: all talk, no action. Believe me.
I came here to speak to you about where I stand on the future of American relations with our strategic ally, our unbreakable friendship and our cultural brother, the only democracy in the Middle East, the state of Israel.
My number-one priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran.
Thank you. Thank you.
I have been in business a long time. I know deal-making. And let me tell you, this deal is catastrophic for America, for Israel and for the whole of the Middle East.
(APPLAUSE) The problem here is fundamental. We’ve rewarded the world’s leading state sponsor of terror with $150 billion, and we received absolutely nothing in return.
I’ve studied this issue in great detail, I would say actually greater by far than anybody else.
Believe me. Oh, believe me. And it’s a bad deal.
The biggest concern with the deal is not necessarily that Iran is going to violate it because already, you know, as you know, it has, the bigger problem is that they can keep the terms and still get the bomb by simply running out the clock. And of course, they’ll keep the billions and billions of dollars that we so stupidly and foolishly gave them.
The deal doesn’t even require Iran to dismantle its military nuclear capability. Yes, it places limits on its military nuclear program for only a certain number of years, but when those restrictions expire, Iran will have an industrial-sized, military nuclear capability ready to go and with zero provision for delay, no matter how bad Iran’s behavior is. Terrible, terrible situation that we are all placed in and especially Israel.
When I’m president, I will adopt a strategy that focuses on three things when it comes to Iran. First, we will stand up to Iran’s aggressive push to destabilize and dominate the region.
Iran is a very big problem and will continue to be. But if I’m not elected president, I know how to deal with trouble. And believe me, that’s why I’m going to be elected president, folks.
And we are leading in every poll. Remember that, please.
Iran is a problem in Iraq, a problem in Syria, a problem in Lebanon, a problem in Yemen and will be a very, very major problem for Saudi Arabia. Literally every day, Iran provides more and better weapons to support their puppet states. Hezbollah, Lebanon received — and I’ll tell you what, it has received sophisticated anti-ship weapons, anti-aircraft weapons and GPS systems and rockets like very few people anywhere in the world and certainly very few countries have. Now they’re in Syria trying to establish another front against Israel from the Syrian side of the Golan Heights.
In Gaza, Iran is supporting Hamas and Islamic jihad.
And in the West Bank, they’re openly offering Palestinians $7,000 per terror attack and $30,000 for every Palestinian terrorist’s home that’s been destroyed. A deplorable, deplorable situation.
Iran is financing military forces throughout the Middle East and it’s absolutely incredible that we handed them over $150 billion to do even more toward the many horrible acts of terror.
Secondly, we will totally dismantle Iran’s global terror network which is big and powerful, but not powerful like us.
Iran has seeded terror groups all over the world. During the last five years, Iran has perpetuated terror attacks in 25 different countries on five continents. They’ve got terror cells everywhere, including in the Western Hemisphere, very close to home.
Iran is the biggest sponsor of terrorism around the world. And we will work to dismantle that reach, believe me, believe me.
Third, at the very least, we must enforce the terms of the previous deal to hold Iran totally accountable. And we will enforce it like you’ve never seen a contract enforced before, folks, believe me.
Iran has already, since the deal is in place, test-fired ballistic missiles three times. Those ballistic missiles, with a range of 1,250 miles, were designed to intimidate not only Israel, which is only 600 miles away, but also intended to frighten Europe and someday maybe hit even the United States. And we’re not going to let that happen. We’re not letting it happen. And we’re not letting it happen to Israel, believe me.
Thank you. Thank you.
Do you want to hear something really shocking? As many of the great people in this room know, painted on those missiles in both Hebrew and Farsi were the words “Israel must be wiped off the face of the earth.” You can forget that.
What kind of demented minds write that in Hebrew?
And here’s another. You talk about twisted. Here’s another twisted part. Testing these missiles does not even violate the horrible deal that we’ve made. The deal is silent on test missiles. But those tests do violate the United Nations Security Council resolutions.
The problem is no one has done anything about it. We will, we will. I promise, we will.
Which brings me to my next point, the utter weakness and incompetence of the United Nations.
The United Nations is not a friend of democracy, it’s not a friend to freedom, it’s not a friend even to the United States of America where, as you know, it has its home. And it surely is not a friend to Israel.
With President Obama in his final year — yea!
He may be the worst thing to ever happen to Israel, believe me, believe me. And you know it and you know it better than anybody.
So with the president in his final year, discussions have been swirling about an attempt to bring a Security Council resolution on terms of an eventual agreement between Israel and Palestine.
Let me be clear: An agreement imposed by the United Nations would be a total and complete disaster.
The United States must oppose this resolution and use the power of our veto, which I will use as president 100 percent.
When people ask why, it’s because that’s not how you make a deal. Deals are made when parties come together, they come to a table and they negotiate. Each side must give up something. It’s values. I mean, we have to do something where there’s value in exchange for something that it requires. That’s what a deal is. A deal is really something that when we impose it on Israel and Palestine, we bring together a group of people that come up with something.
That’s not going to happen with the United Nations. It will only further, very importantly, it will only further delegitimize Israel. It will be a catastrophe and a disaster for Israel. It’s not going to happen, folks.
And further, it would reward Palestinian terrorism because every day they’re stabbing Israelis and even Americans. Just last week, American Taylor Allen Force, a West Point grad, phenomenal young person who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, was murdered in the street by a knife-wielding Palestinian. You don’t reward behavior like that. You cannot do it.
There’s only one way you treat that kind of behavior. You have to confront it.
So it’s not up to the United Nations to really go with a solution. It’s really the parties that must negotiate a resolution themselves. They have no choice. They have to do it themselves or it will never hold up anyway. The United States can be useful as a facilitator of negotiations, but no one should be telling Israel that it must be and really that it must abide by some agreement made by others thousands of miles away that don’t even really know what’s happening to Israel, to anything in the area. It’s so preposterous, we’re not going to let that happen.
When I’m president, believe me, I will veto any attempt by the U.N. to impose its will on the Jewish state. It will be vetoed 100 percent.
You see, I know about deal-making. That’s what I do. I wrote “The Art of the Deal.”
One of the best-selling, all-time — and I mean, seriously, I’m saying one of because I’ll be criticized when I say “the” so I’m going to be very diplomatic — one of…
I’ll be criticized. I think it is number one, but why take a chance? (LAUGHTER)
One of the all-time best-selling books about deals and deal- making. To make a great deal, you need two willing participants. We know Israel is willing to deal. Israel has been trying.
That’s right. Israel has been trying to sit down at the negotiating table without preconditions for years. You had Camp David in 2000 where Prime Minister Barak made an incredible offer, maybe even too generous; Arafat rejected it.
In 2008, Prime Minister Olmert made an equally generous offer. The Palestinian Authority rejected it also.
Then John Kerry tried to come up with a framework and Abbas didn’t even respond, not even to the secretary of state of the United States of America. They didn’t even respond.
When I become president, the days of treating Israel like a second-class citizen will end on day one.
And when I say something, I mean it, I mean it.
I will meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu immediately. I have known him for many years and we’ll be able to work closely together to help bring stability and peace to Israel and to the entire region.
Meanwhile, every single day you have rampant incitement and children being taught to hate Israel and to hate the Jews. It has to stop.
When you live in a society where the firefighters are the heroes, little kids want to be firefighters. When you live in a society where athletes and movie stars are the heroes, little kids want to be athletes and movie stars.
In Palestinian society, the heroes are those who murder Jews. We can’t let this continue. We can’t let this happen any longer.
You cannot achieve peace if terrorists are treated as martyrs. Glorifying terrorists is a tremendous barrier to peace. It is a horrible, horrible way to think. It’s a barrier that can’t be broken. That will end and it’ll end soon, believe me.
In Palestinian textbooks and mosques, you’ve got a culture of hatred that has been fomenting there for years. And if we want to achieve peace, they’ve got to go out and they’ve got to start this educational process. They have to end education of hatred. They have to end it and now.
There is no moral equivalency. Israel does not name public squares after terrorists. Israel does not pay its children to stab random Palestinians.
You see, what President Obama gets wrong about deal-making is that he constantly applies pressure to our friends and rewards our enemies.
And you see that happening all the time, that pattern practiced by the president and his administration, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is a total disaster, by the way.
She and President Obama have treated Israel very, very badly.
But it’s repeated itself over and over again and has done nothing (to) embolden those who hate America. We saw that with releasing the $150 billion to Iran in the hope that they would magically join the world community. It didn’t happen.
President Obama thinks that applying pressure to Israel will force the issue. But it’s precisely the opposite that happens. Already half of the population of Palestine has been taken over by the Palestinian ISIS and Hamas, and the other half refuses to confront the first half, so it’s a very difficult situation that’s never going to get solved unless you have great leadership right here in the United States.
We’ll get it solved. One way or the other, we will get it solved.
But when the United States stands with Israel, the chances of peace really rise and rises exponentially. That’s what will happen when Donald Trump is president of the United States.
(CHEERS, APPLAUSE) We will move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people, Jerusalem.
And we will send a clear signal that there is no daylight between America and our most reliable ally, the state of Israel.
The Palestinians must come to the table knowing that the bond between the United States and Israel is absolutely, totally unbreakable.
They must come to the table willing and able to stop the terror being committed on a daily basis against Israel. They must do that.
And they must come to the table willing to accept that Israel is a Jewish state and it will forever exist as a Jewish state.
I love the people in this room. I love Israel. I love Israel. I’ve been with Israel so long in terms of I’ve received some of my greatest honors from Israel, my father before me, incredible. My daughter, Ivanka, is about to have a beautiful Jewish baby.
In fact, it could be happening right now, which would be very nice as far as I’m concerned.
So I want to thank you very much. This has been a truly great honor. Thank you, everybody. Thank you.
Thank you very much.
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