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Jeb: Presidents Should Lead, Not Lecture

Statement

By:
Date:
Location: Unknown

I believe the commander-in-chief of the world's one indispensable superpower ought to lead, not just lecture. Unfortunately, after the terrorist attacks in Paris, President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have chosen to criticize leaders for raising concerns about the administration's proposal to bring tens of thousands of refugees into the United States.

Their tone has been partisan and sanctimonious, and it is undermining a serious conversation about this foreign and domestic policy challenge.

A less divisive President, who understood that the security of the American people must come first, would not engage in name calling. He or she would explain what he was doing to keep them safe and address their concerns, rather than dismissing them. And he or she would review and revise counterterrorism and immigration strategies to make sure they were effective, and ensure that we are not putting our nation at risk.

Americans don't need lectures on compassion from those who failed to act to address the conflict that caused ISIS' growth and the refugee crisis in the first place. If President Obama and Secretary Clinton want to identify the individuals who have shown little empathy or willingness to stand up for displaced Syrians, they should look in the mirror.

The best way for America to show compassion and protect our homeland would be to provide safe zones in Syria and destroy the root causes of the refugee crisis in the region -- ISIS and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Instead, President Obama -- who hours before the Paris attacks told us that ISIS was "contained" -- simply reiterates that his strategy is working, despite plain evidence to the contrary.

Meanwhile, his former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, was part of the team that developed that failing strategy, one that ignored the growing terrorist threats. Although she spoke differently in a speech Thursday, she also recently admitted she would be no more aggressive on foreign policy than President Obama.

Yes, Secretary Clinton claims she would rebuild alliances with Israel and our traditional Arab allies. But they are unlikely to forget her role in forging and endorsing the Iran nuclear deal that left them less safe. Asked to name an enemy she is most proud of making, Clinton recently cited Republicans -- a chilling signal that the divisiveness of the Obama era could become even worse with her in the Oval Office.

In the meantime, because defending his strategy is increasingly impossible, President Obama instead raises a host of obvious "straw man" arguments about the alternatives to his incremental approach, such as claiming that others have "half-baked" schemes to reinvade and occupy the entire Middle East.

President Obama also continues to ignore his own role in this unfolding tragedy. He should recall that he called for the butcher Assad to step down, but did nothing to make him do so. He pledged to support the Syrian opposition, but failed to deliver. After months of Assad slaughtering his own people, he drew a "red line" regarding the use of chemical weapons, yet failed to enforce it after Assad repeatedly used those weapons against his own people.

Years of indiscriminate aerial bombing of civilian populations by Assad remains unchallenged by his administration. President Obama's "JV team" has now slaughtered innocent people on at least three continents, and seems eager to add our own to that bloodstained list.

Where was President Obama's patronizing, feigned outrage then?

Given the reports that ISIS seeks to hide among refugees, that at least one of the attackers in Paris may have been a refugee, and bipartisan concerns about the refugee screening process in Congress, the pause in bringing refugees to this country that passed the House of Representatives this week is both sensible and appropriate.

My heart aches for the hundreds of thousands who have lost their lives, and the millions who have been displaced, in Iraq and Syria. America has a great moral tradition of taking in persecuted peoples throughout the world, and we should not turn our back now.

That is why I've outlined a strategy to address this humanitarian tragedy, protect the Christian and other religious minorities that are being eradicated in the Middle East, defeat the terrorists and Assad, confront Iranian aggression and end this conflict on terms favorable to the United States and its allies. That is a President's job.

As President Obama's term draws to an end, Americans will have a chance to choose a President who will lead, who will inspire, and will work to fix the problems that face us. That's what I will do as President of the United States.


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