The Obama Administration continues its disappointing and spineless response to terror attacks on American citizens.
After Congress unanimously passed the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) allowing victims of the 9/11 attack to sue Saudi Arabia, President Obama, this past week, vetoed this bill, which would permit victims to pursue judicially approved compensation within the parameters of the rule of law. Properly understood, President Obama’s action constitutes the irresponsible capitulation to political expediency rather than the principled pursuit of justice for the victims of terror.
Instead of combating terrorism with every tool available including JASTA, the Obama Administration evidently believes that countries such as Saudi Arabia are members of a coalition of the willing in our nation’s fight against international terror.
In reality, as news reports confirm, Saudi ambivalence leads to the conclusion that Saudi Arabia operates as both an arsonist and a firefighter in the globe’s ongoing war on terror. Although Saudi government officials often offer sympathetic opposition to terror—particularly when it directly impacts their nation—clear and unmistakable evidence shows that Saudi Arabia as a theocratic monarchy is part of the problem in the first place. For instance, the Saudi government has supported the Taliban movement for a number of years, channeled funds to Hamas and other groups that committed terrorist acts in Israel and funded dubious schools and charities throughout the Islamic world that have been hotbeds of anti-Western and anti-American indoctrination. This is even discussed in ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow’s newest book, Unholy Alliance.
Many of these organizations teach that the United States is the center of infidel power in the world and, accordingly, is the enemy of Islam. To them, this justifies jihad. Recent news reports confirm that a Saudi funding campaign designed to expand Islamism was initiated during the 1960s using the Muslim World League as its funding vehicle. Evidently this group has accelerated the spread of Wahhabist activism and influenced a variety of Sunni Muslim terrorist groups including Al Qaeda, the Islamic State, and its Boko Haram offshoot, as well as Al-Shabaab.
Rather than directly contest the Saudis’ inescapable connection to theological and ideological views that advance terrorism, the Obama Administration clings to the pernicious illusion that terror can and should be isolated from radical Islamic jihadist ideology. Preferring to define Islamic theology as benevolent and peaceful, the Obama Administration is blind to the fact that radical jihadist theology infects the Islamic State, Hamas, the Islamic Republic of Iran and elements of the Saudi hierarchy. This feeble position is further weakened because the Obama Administration’s anti-terrorism efforts are handicapped by political correctness that impairs the work of the FBI and other law enforcement agencies.
JASTA represents a potentially effective tool in a global war that we have not chosen. Simply put, this law empowers the victims and their families to have their day in court – to try to prove their claims in the court of law. By contrast, President Obama vetoed this bill after Saudi Arabia threatened financial consequences including the sale of $750 billion in treasury securities and other assets. Instead of courageously standing up to the Saudis, the President’s veto indicates that the Obama Administration is prepared to stand against the victims of terror and deprive them of legal redress.
Since Saudi Arabia funds Islamic extremism, and since a majority of the 9/11 hijackers originated in the Saudi Kingdom, we urge Congress to override the Obama Administration’s veto. It is time to stand for justice and just compensation for innocent victims of terror even if that means Saudi Arabia will be upset with us.
Rather than be bullied by craven threats from Saudi Arabia, Congress should fearlessly override President Obama’s veto and put the interests of the American people ahead of Islamic fundamentalists. Today, the U.S. Senate voted to override the President’s veto by a vote of 97-1, marking the first successful veto override vote of President Obama’s presidency. The vote now moves to the House of Representatives, where it’s expected to pass.
UPDATE: The House of Representatives has now made it official, overriding President Obama’s veto of JASTA by an overwhelmingly bipartisan 348 to 77 vote (with one member voting “present”). JASTA is now the law of the land, marking the first time President Obama’s veto has been overridden. This newly enacted law provides critical legal avenues for the victims of terror, despite President Obama’s best efforts to defeat it.
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