Fox News on-screen text falsely asserted that, during his Cairo speech, President Obama claimed "there is no more terrorism," and Fox News analyst Ralph Peters accused him of "pretending" it "doesn't exist." In fact, Obama addressed at length the issue of "violent extremism" in his speech.
On the June 8 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, on-screen text falsely asserted that, during his June 4 speech at Cairo University, President Obama claimed "there is no more terrorism." Co-host Steve Doocy also stated: "War on terror must be over. In fact, terrorism no longer a problem because the president never, not once, mentioned war on terror," and asked Fox News analyst Ralph Peters, "What's up with that?" Peters responded, "Well, you know, it's as if FDR or Churchill had gone through World War II without mentioning Nazis. I mean, pretending something doesn't exist really doesn't make it go away." In fact, Obama addressed at length the issue of "violent extremism" in his speech.
Media Matters for America has previously documented numerous other media figures noting that Obama didn't use the word "terrorism" but not discussing why. By contrast, in reporting that Obama did not use the words "terror" or its variants, The New York Times' Jeff Zeleny and Alan Cowell wrote on June 4: "That was a departure from the language used by the Bush administration, but one that some Middle East experts suggested reflected a belief by the new administration that overuse had made the words inflammatory." In a separate June 4 article on regional reactions to the speech, the Times' Michael Slackman reported that Obama's speech "was also embraced for what it did not do: use the word terrorism, broadly seen here as shorthand for an attack on Islam."
Notwithstanding Fox News' claim that, in his Cairo speech, Obama declared "there is no more terrorism," he addressed violent extremism at length:
OBAMA: The first issue that we have to confront is violent extremism in all of its forms.
In Ankara, I made clear that America is not -- and never will be -- at war with Islam. We will, however, relentlessly confront violent extremists who pose a grave threat to our security, because we reject the same thing that people of all faiths reject: the killing of innocent men, women, and children. And it is my first duty as president to protect the American people.
The situation in Afghanistan demonstrates America's goals and our need to work together. Over seven years ago, the United States pursued Al Qaeda and the Taliban with broad international support. We did not go by choice; we went because of necessity. I'm aware that there's still some who would question or even justify the offense of 9-11. But let us be clear: Al Qaeda killed nearly 3,000 people on that day. The victims were innocent men, women, and children from America and many other nations who had done nothing to harm anybody. And yet, Al Qaeda chose to ruthlessly murder these people, claimed credit for the attack, and even now states their determination to kill on a massive scale. They have affiliates in many countries and are trying to expand their reach. These are not opinions to be debated; these are facts to be dealt with.
Now, make no mistake: We do not want to keep our troops in Afghanistan. We see no military -- we seek no military bases there. It is agonizing for America to lose our young men and women. It is costly and politically difficult to continue this conflict. We would gladly bring every single one of our troops home if we could be confident that there were not violent extremists in Afghanistan and now Pakistan determined to kill as many Americans as they possibly can. But that is not yet the case.
And that's why we're partnering with a coalition of 46 countries. And despite the costs involved, America's commitment will not weaken. Indeed, none of us should tolerate these extremists. They have killed in many countries. They have killed people of different faiths -- but more than any other, they have killed Muslims. Their actions are irreconcilable with the rights of human beings, the progress of nations, and with Islam.
The Holy Quran teaches that whoever kills an innocent is as -- it is as if he has killed all mankind. And the Holy Quran also says whoever saves a person, it is as if he has saved all mankind. The enduring faith of over a billion people is so much bigger than the narrow hatred of a few. Islam is not part of the problem in combating violent extremism -- it is an important part of promoting peace.
Now, we also know that military power alone is not going to solve the problems in Afghanistan and Pakistan. That's why we plan to invest $1.5 billion each year over the next five years to partner with Pakistanis to build schools and hospitals, roads and businesses, and hundreds of millions to help those who've been displaced. That's why we are providing more than $2.8 billion to help Afghans develop their economy and deliver services that people depend on.
Now let me also address the issue of Iraq. Unlike Afghanistan, Iraq was a war of choice that provoked strong differences in my country and around the world. Although I believe that the Iraqi people are ultimately better off without the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, I also believe that events in Iraq have reminded America of the need to use diplomacy and build international consensus to resolve our problems whenever possible. Indeed, we can recall the words of Thomas Jefferson, who said: "I hope that our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us that the less we use our power the greater it will be."
Today, America has a dual responsibility: to help Iraq forge a better future and to leave Iraq to Iraqis. And I have made it clear to the Iraqi people -- I have made it clear to the Iraqi people that we pursue no bases, and no claim on their territory or resources. Iraq's sovereignty is its own. And that's why I ordered the removal of our combat brigades by next August. That is why we will honor our agreement with Iraq's democratically elected government to remove combat troops from Iraqi cities by July, and to remove all of our troops from Iraq by 2012. We will help Iraq train its security forces and develop its economy, but we will support a secure and united Iraq as a partner, and never as a patron.
And finally, just as America can never tolerate violence by extremists, we must never alter or forget our principles. 9-11 was an enormous trauma to our country. The fear and anger that it provoked was understandable, but in some cases, it led us to act contrary to our traditions and our ideals. We are taking concrete actions to change course. I have unequivocally prohibited the use of torture by the United States, and I have ordered the prison at Guantánamo Bay closed by early next year.
So America will defend itself, respectful of the sovereignty of nations and the rule of law, and we will do so in partnership with Muslim communities, which are also threatened. The sooner the extremists are isolated and unwelcome in Muslim communities, the sooner we will all be safer.
From the June 8 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
KILMEADE: President Obama trying to bridge the gap between Muslim and the Western worlds during his historic speech in Cairo last week. So what did we learn about the president from that speech?
DOOCY: Right now, we're joined by Fox News strategic analyst, Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters. Good morning to you, Ralph.
PETERS: Hey, always great to speak to you guys. Just love it.
DOOCY: Let's start at the beginning. War on terror must be over. In fact, terrorism no longer a problem because the president never, not once, mentioned war on terror, terrorism, or terrorist. What's up with that?
PETERS: Well, you know, it's as if FDR or Churchill had gone through World War II without mentioning Nazis. I mean, pretending something doesn't exist really doesn't make it go away. And I -- what really troubled me now that we've had time to calm down and think about that speech -- many things troubled me -- but one of the crucial aspects is that Obama is following this classic left-wing pattern. Just as in our inner cities with dropouts and drug criminals, the left-wing approach is to go to them and say, "Well, it's society's fault. What can we do to help you?"
Well, in the Middle East, you've got a society, a culture, a civilization that's failed itself. It needs a message of responsibility. It needs to get over its culture of blaming everybody else. And Obama goes there and basically says, "It's all our fault. What can we do to help you?" And they needed a tough love message.
There's nothing wrong with reaching out to the Muslim world, but you can't romanticize it. You can't pretend terrorism away. So I think what was missing was a sense of reality, a sense of basic sanity, and, oh, by the way, you can't just make up history.
KILMEADE: I know. You pointed out that with your instant analysis last week right after the speech. You also -- he mentioned tolerance; how we have to tolerate each others' religion, other sects within the Muslim religion. So you expect churches and synagogues to be built in Saudi Arabia, correct?
PETERS: Oh, yeah. Well, absolutely. I mean, our president made a great point of the fact that there are over 1,200 mosques in North America, so why shouldn't there be synagogues and churches in Saudi Arabia, on the Arabian peninsula, in Yemen, in Oman? At the time of the Prophet Muhammad, there were several hundred, if not thousands, of churches and synagogues. Maybe we should start rebuilding them now.
Obviously, I'm being a bit sarcastic, but my point is the president laid it all on us, and I was deeply troubled -- and remain deeply troubled -- by the fact that his first stop is Saudi Arabia, the most -- one of the world's most oppressive regimes, the source of terror, still a funder of terror. He didn't take Michelle because he didn't want pictures of her in a hijab or a headdress. It's very calculated.
But here's the deal, guys: The Europeans -- you know, he went to Europe last week -- and the Europeans wanted Obama so badly, and we all heard about how bad Bush was for our relationship with Europe. Now you've got a president who clearly has a massive Third World chip on his shoulder, and he has worsened our relations with Europe.
I mean, if you look at the photos last week -- the film clips of he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel walking together, they look like a divorcing couple that ended up in the same elevator on the way to the lawyer's office. He stiff-armed Sarkozy, who has been the most pro-American French president in my lifetime. Icy relations with Gordon Brown. The only European president he has reached out to in a positive sense is Vladimir Putin.
Guys, reaching out to Saudi Arabia, reaching out to Putin, reaching out to Chavez, and stiffing our European allies -- what's wrong with this picture?