President Obama: I have Prohibited Torture and We will Shut Down Gitmo

President Obama delivering State of the Union Speech, Vice President Biden and Speaker Boehner in back ground

President Obama delivering State of the Union Speech, Vice President Biden and Speaker Boehner in back ground

Here we reproduce the last third of President Obama’s State of the Union Speech of 2015, delivered on 1/20/2015:

There’s one last pillar to our leadership — and that’s the example of our values.

As Americans, we respect human dignity, even when we’re threatened, which is why I’ve prohibited torture, and worked to make sure our use of new technology like drones is properly constrained. It’s why we speak out against the deplorable anti-Semitism that has resurfaced in certain parts of the world. It’s why we continue to reject offensive stereotypes of Muslims — the vast majority of whom share our commitment to peace. That’s why we defend free speech, and advocate for political prisoners, and condemn the persecution of women, or religious minorities, or people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. We do these things not only because they’re right, but because they make us safer.

As Americans, we have a profound commitment to justice — so it makes no sense to spend three million dollars per prisoner to keep open a prison that the world condemns and terrorists use to recruit. Since I’ve been President, we’ve worked responsibly to cut the population of GTMO in half. Now it’s time to finish the job. And I will not relent in my determination to shut it down. It’s not who we are.

As Americans, we cherish our civil liberties — and we need to uphold that commitment if we want maximum cooperation from other countries and industry in our fight against terrorist networks. So while some have moved on from the debates over our surveillance programs, I haven’t. As promised, our intelligence agencies have worked hard, with the recommendations of privacy advocates, to increase transparency and build more safeguards against potential abuse. And next month, we’ll issue a report on how we’re keeping our promise to keep our country safe while strengthening privacy.

Looking to the future instead of the past. Making sure we match our power with diplomacy, and use force wisely. Building coalitions to meet new challenges and opportunities. Leading — always — with the example of our values. That’s what makes us exceptional. That’s what keeps us strong. And that’s why we must keep striving to hold ourselves to the highest of standards — our own.

You know, just over a decade ago, I gave a speech in Boston where I said there wasn’t a liberal America, or a conservative America; a black America or a white America — but a United States of America. I said this because I had seen it in my own life, in a nation that gave someone like me a chance; because I grew up in Hawaii, a melting pot of races and customs; because I made Illinois my home — a state of small towns, rich farmland, and one of the world’s great cities; a microcosm of the country where Democrats and Republicans and Independents, good people of every ethnicity and every faith, share certain bedrock values.

Over the past six years, the pundits have pointed out more than once that my presidency hasn’t delivered on this vision. How ironic, they say, that our politics seems more divided than ever. It’s held up as proof not just of my own flaws — of which there are many — but also as proof that the vision itself is misguided, and naïve, and that there are too many people in this town who actually benefit from partisanship and gridlock for us to ever do anything about it.

I know how tempting such cynicism may be. But I still think the cynics are wrong.

I still believe that we are one people. I still believe that together, we can do great things, even when the odds are long. I believe this because over and over in my six years in office, I have seen America at its best. I’ve seen the hopeful faces of young graduates from New York to California; and our newest officers at West Point, Annapolis, Colorado Springs, and New London. I’ve mourned with grieving families in Tucson and Newtown; in Boston, West, Texas, and West Virginia. I’ve watched Americans beat back adversity from the Gulf Coast to the Great Plains; from Midwest assembly lines to the Mid-Atlantic seaboard. I’ve seen something like gay marriage go from a wedge issue used to drive us apart to a story of freedom across our country, a civil right now legal in states that seven in ten Americans call home.

So I know the good, and optimistic, and big-hearted generosity of the American people who, every day, live the idea that we are our brother’s keeper, and our sister’s keeper. And I know they expect those of us who serve here to set a better example.

So the question for those of us here tonight is how we, all of us, can better reflect America’s hopes. I’ve served in Congress with many of you. I know many of you well. There are a lot of good people here, on both sides of the aisle. And many of you have told me that this isn’t what you signed up for — arguing past each other on cable shows, the constant fundraising, always looking over your shoulder at how the base will react to every decision.

Imagine if we broke out of these tired old patterns. Imagine if we did something different.

Understand — a better politics isn’t one where Democrats abandon their agenda or Republicans simply embrace mine.

A better politics is one where we appeal to each other’s basic decency instead of our basest fears.

A better politics is one where we debate without demonizing each other; where we talk issues, and values, and principles, and facts, rather than “gotcha” moments, or trivial gaffes, or fake controversies that have nothing to do with people’s daily lives.

A better politics is one where we spend less time drowning in dark money for ads that pull us into the gutter, and spend more time lifting young people up, with a sense of purpose and possibility, and asking them to join in the great mission of building America.

If we’re going to have arguments, let’s have arguments — but let’s make them debates worthy of this body and worthy of this country.

We still may not agree on a woman’s right to choose, but surely we can agree it’s a good thing that teen pregnancies and abortions are nearing all-time lows, and that every woman should have access to the health care she needs.

Yes, passions still fly on immigration, but surely we can all see something of ourselves in the striving young student, and agree that no one benefits when a hardworking mom is taken from her child, and that it’s possible to shape a law that upholds our tradition as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.

We may go at it in campaign season, but surely we can agree that the right to vote is sacred; that it’s being denied to too many; and that, on this 50th anniversary of the great march from Selma to Montgomery and the passage of the Voting Rights Act, we can come together, Democrats and Republicans, to make voting easier for every single American.

We may have different takes on the events of Ferguson and New York. But surely we can understand a father who fears his son can’t walk home without being harassed. Surely we can understand the wife who won’t rest until the police officer she married walks through the front door at the end of his shift. Surely we can agree it’s a good thing that for the first time in 40 years, the crime rate and the incarceration rate have come down together, and use that as a starting point for Democrats and Republicans, community leaders and law enforcement, to reform America’s criminal justice system so that it protects and serves us all.

That’s a better politics. That’s how we start rebuilding trust. That’s how we move this country forward. That’s what the American people want. That’s what they deserve.

I have no more campaigns to run. My only agenda for the next two years is the same as the one I’ve had since the day I swore an oath on the steps of this Capitol — to do what I believe is best for America. If you share the broad vision I outlined tonight, join me in the work at hand. If you disagree with parts of it, I hope you’ll at least work with me where you do agree. And I commit to every Republican here tonight that I will not only seek out your ideas, I will seek to work with you to make this country stronger.

Because I want this chamber, this city, to reflect the truth — that for all our blind spots and shortcomings, we are a people with the strength and generosity of spirit to bridge divides, to unite in common effort, and help our neighbors, whether down the street or on the other side of the world.

I want our actions to tell every child, in every neighborhood: your life matters, and we are as committed to improving your life chances as we are for our own kids.

I want future generations to know that we are a people who see our differences as a great gift, that we are a people who value the dignity and worth of every citizen — man and woman, young and old, black and white, Latino and Asian, immigrant and Native American, gay and straight, Americans with mental illness or physical disability.

I want them to grow up in a country that shows the world what we still know to be true: that we are still more than a collection of red states and blue states; that we are the United States of America.

I want them to grow up in a country where a young mom like Rebekah can sit down and write a letter to her President with a story to sum up these past six years:

“It is amazing what you can bounce back from when you have to…we are a strong, tight-knit family who has made it through some very, very hard times.”

My fellow Americans, we too are a strong, tight-knit family. We, too, have made it through some hard times. Fifteen years into this new century, we have picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off, and begun again the work of remaking America. We’ve laid a new foundation. A brighter future is ours to write. Let’s begin this new chapter — together — and let’s start the work right now.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless this country we love.

For the rest of the transcript please click here

2 replies

  1. Bashir Ahmad Orchard
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bashir_Ahmad_Orchard
    RACE RELATIONS AND EQUALITY OF MANKIND

    Muslims believe that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) was sent as “a Mercy for all the worlds,” and that he brought a final religion for all humanity. As already mentioned in Chapter 1, one of the fundamental teachings of Islam and one which every Muslim cultivates in his heart is that of brotherhood and equality of human beings.

    However, when you look at the world today, brotherhood and love between human beings is rarely seen. All over the world there is fighting and hatred, not only between different races and religions, but also between people of the same nationality and even the same faith. In America, racism is ever prevalent. Very little progress has been made towards harmony and understanding between the races. It is therefore the responsibility of Muslims, especially new Muslims, to abandon all prejudices towards others, develop a love for all humanity and uphold the special quality of brotherhood among Muslims.

    The Islamic concept of equality is one that challenges the Western idea that equality means everyone should be the same. Rather, Allah says in the Holy Qur’an that He has created many different kinds of people in order to promote diversity and progress. All mankind is spiritually equal in the sight of God, but cannot possibly be physically equal or the same.

    Allah says:

    “O mankind, We have created you from a male and a female; and We have made you tribes and sub-tribes that you may know one another. Verily, the most honorable amongst you in the sight of Allah, is he who is the most righteous among you. Surely Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.” (Holy Qur’an, 49:14).

    The verse clearly shows that all created beings come from the same source and thus are equal in the sight of God. The worth of a man is not judged by the color of his skin, his wealth, rank or social status, his descent or pedigree, but by his moral goodness and the way he fulfills his duty to God and mankind. Allah divided humanity into tribes, nations and races to give them better knowledge of each other and to benefit from one another’s characteristics and qualities.

    Islam therefore totally rejects racism in any shape or form. Racism in this society is seen as prejudice against people of different color, race, nationality, religion, economic status and class. It expresses itself as name-calling, arrogance, hostility and violence between races. Islam not only lays down the doctrine of equality, but also addresses this type of racist behavior. Allah says in the Holy Qur’an:

    “O ye who believe! let not one people deride another people, haply they may be better than they; nor let one group of women deride other women, haply they may be better than they. And do not defame your people or call one another by nicknames. It is an evil thing to be called by bad name after having believed; and those who repent not, such are wrongdoers.” (48:12)

    While other religions also teach equality and love for humanity, Islam is unique in that it requires physical expression of brotherhood. In the daily salaat or prayer, Muslims must stand shoulder to shoulder, indifferent to the status or color of the person next to them. There is no greater physical example of equality than the Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) when all Muslims wear the same dress and circuit the Kaabah (House of Allah) in unison.

    In daily life, Muslims should show openness and affection to each other by greeting each other with the salutation of “peace be with you,” and by following the example of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). Among his hadith are:

    “If you shake hands with one another rancor will depart, and if you make presents to one another and love one another, malice will depart.”

    And

    “You should provide food and greet both those you know and those you do not know.”

    If you are a new convert to the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam, or have come into contact with it, you have probably already experienced the international character of the Movement. This is most strikingly seen at the Annual Gatherings (Jalsas), and also in local communities. Through Ahmadiyyat, Islam has spread to 148 countries of the world. Many Ahmadis in the United States have had the chance to meet their brothers and sisters from Africa, Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Germany and elsewhere. In addition there are numerous interracial and international marriages within the Ahmadiyya Movement. This atmosphere of cultural diversity bears testimony to the doctrine of equality in Islam as well as to the truth of Ahmadiyyat as the renaissance of Islam.
    http://www.alislam.org/books/pathwaytoparadise/LAJ-chp6.htm

    CHAPTER 6:
    PATHWAY TO PARADISE
    https://www.alislam.org/r.php?q=bashir+ahmed+orchard&sa=

    Interview of Bashir Ahmad Orchard at Jalsa Salana UK 2000

    http://store.alislam.org/lifesupreme.html
    I met her daughter when she visited Canada in 2005.She had tea with me. She also signed the new golden book of her father. She is the mother of famous mota bacha in Urdu class. I told her my father gave me this book when I was in grade 11.

    MTA Urdu Class Memorable Moment 60
    .https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KuOoQdWsV8
    MTA Sunehri Lamhat

    Last Sermon of Holy Prophet Muhammad
    .

    سلمان فارسی

  2. Universal Message;

    Surah As Saffat (Those who set the Ranks) Mishary Rashid
    ReadTheBook
    !!BEST emotional recitation | Muhammad al Luhaidan | Surah Zumar!! محمد اللحيدان

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.