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General News President Barack Obama vetoes 9/11 bill

Discussion in 'Current Events, World News, & LGBT News' started by ChameleonSoul, Sep 23, 2016.

  1. ChameleonSoul

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    Full article here: Obama vetoes 9/11 bill - CNNPolitics.com
     
  2. Argentwing

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    Does the President comment on why a bill might be vetoed? Because he could write a note at the end or something that says "write one that doesn't expose US public servants to foreign litigation" and maybe somebody will work their magic. Because for the worst terrorist attack in recent memory, you'd think it's important to get justice for the ones who facilitated it.
     
  3. ChameleonSoul

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    While I absolutely believe that the families of the victims deserve justice, part of me feels that having a law like this could end up having a lot more backlash and could end up leading to another attack on a U.S. embassy. If anything, the families of perpetrators should be sued before taking money that provides services to millions of Saudis that had nothing to do with it.
     
  4. Argentwing

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    You do have a good point; I believe in personal responsibility too. But from what I gather, the actual leadership of the country did have enough input, and despite its current squeeze from cheap oil, I'm sure their money situation is just fine.
     
  5. AlamoCity

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    While I do believe Saudi Arabia to be a ######'s nest for terrorism, the logistics of suing the country might not be beneficial and there may be repercussions.

    Worse yet, it almost seems hypocritical how giddy lawmakers are to let victims sue Saudi Arabia while their own incompetence denied rightful victims of the aftermath of 9/11 (first responders' lung issues, for instance) just and swift compensation.
     
  6. AwesomGaytheist

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    Here's the full veto message:

    TO THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES:

    I am returning herewith without my approval S. 2040, the "Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act" (JASTA), which would, among other things, remove sovereign immunity in U.S. courts from foreign governments that are not designated state sponsors of terrorism.

    I have deep sympathy for the families of the victims of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 (9/11), who have suffered grievously. I also have a deep appreciation of these families' desire to pursue justice and am strongly committed to assisting them in their efforts.

    Consistent with this commitment, over the past 8 years, I have directed my Administration to pursue relentlessly al Qa'ida, the terrorist group that planned the 9/11 attacks. The heroic efforts of our military and counterterrorism professionals have decimated al-Qa'ida's leadership and killed Osama bin Laden. My Administration also strongly supported, and I signed into law, legislation which ensured that those who bravely responded on that terrible day and other survivors of the attacks will be able to receive treatment for any injuries resulting from the attacks. And my Administration also directed the Intelligence Community to perform a declassification review of "Part Four of the Joint Congressional Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11," so that the families of 9/11 victims and broader public can better understand the information investigators gathered following that dark day of our history.

    Notwithstanding these significant efforts, I recognize that there is nothing that could ever erase the grief the 9/11 families have endured. My Administration therefore remains resolute in its commitment to assist these families in their pursuit of justice and do whatever we can to prevent another attack in the United States. Enacting JASTA into law, however, would neither protect Americans from terrorist attacks nor improve the effectiveness of our response to such attacks. As drafted, JASTA would allow private litigation against foreign governments in U.S. courts based on allegations that such foreign governments' actions abroad made them responsible for terrorism-related injuries on U.S. soil. This legislation would permit litigation against countries that have neither been designated by the executive branch as state sponsors of terrorism nor taken direct actions in the United States to carry out an attack here. The JASTA would be detrimental to U.S. national interests more broadly, which is why I am returning it without my approval.

    First, JASTA threatens to reduce the effectiveness of our response to indications that a foreign government has taken steps outside our borders to provide support for terrorism, by taking such matters out of the hands of national security and foreign policy professionals and placing them in the hands of private litigants and courts.

    Any indication that a foreign government played a role in a terrorist attack on U.S. soil is a matter of deep concern and merits a forceful, unified Federal Government response that considers the wide range of important and effective tools available. One of these tools is designating the foreign government in question as a state sponsor of terrorism, which carries with it a litany of repercussions, including the foreign government being stripped of its sovereign immunity before U.S. courts in certain terrorism-related cases and subjected to a range of sanctions. Given these serious consequences, state sponsor of terrorism designations are made only after national security, foreign policy, and intelligence professionals carefully review all available information to determine whether a country meets the criteria that the Congress established.

    In contrast, JASTA departs from longstanding standards and practice under our Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act and threatens to strip all foreign governments of immunity from judicial process in the United States based solely upon allegations by private litigants that a foreign government's overseas conduct had some role or connection to a group or person that carried out a terrorist attack inside the United States. This would invite consequential decisions to be made based upon incomplete information and risk having different courts reaching different conclusions about the culpability of individual foreign governments and their role in terrorist activities directed against the United States -- which is neither an effective nor a coordinated way for us to respond to indications that a foreign government might have been behind a terrorist attack.

    Second, JASTA would upset longstanding international principles regarding sovereign immunity, putting in place rules that, if applied globally, could have serious implications for U.S. national interests. The United States has a larger international presence, by far, than any other country, and sovereign immunity principles protect our Nation and its Armed Forces, officials, and assistance professionals, from foreign court proceedings. These principles also protect U.S. Government assets from attempted seizure by private litigants abroad. Removing sovereign immunity in U.S. courts from foreign governments that are not designated as state sponsors of terrorism, based solely on allegations that such foreign governments' actions abroad had a connection to terrorism-related injuries on U.S. soil, threatens to undermine these longstanding principles that protect the United States, our forces, and our personnel.

    Indeed, reciprocity plays a substantial role in foreign relations, and numerous other countries already have laws that allow for the adjustment of a foreign state's immunities based on the treatment their governments receive in the courts of the other state. Enactment of JASTA could encourage foreign governments to act reciprocally and allow their domestic courts to exercise jurisdiction over the United States or U.S. officials -- including our men and women in uniform -- for allegedly causing injuries overseas via U.S. support to third parties. This could lead to suits against the United States or U.S. officials for actions taken by members of an armed group that received U.S. assistance, misuse of U.S. military equipment by foreign forces, or abuses committed by police units that received U.S. training, even if the allegations at issue ultimately would be without merit. And if any of these litigants were to win judgments -- based on foreign domestic laws as applied by foreign courts -- they would begin to look to the assets of the U.S. Government held abroad to satisfy those judgments, with potentially serious financial consequences for the United States.

    Third, JASTA threatens to create complications in our relationships with even our closest partners. If JASTA were enacted, courts could potentially consider even minimal allegations accusing U.S. allies or partners of complicity in a particular terrorist attack in the United States to be sufficient to open the door to litigation and wide-ranging discovery against a foreign country -- for example, the country where an individual who later committed a terrorist act traveled from or became radicalized. A number of our allies and partners have already contacted us with serious concerns about the bill. By exposing these allies and partners to this sort of litigation in U.S. courts, JASTA threatens to limit their cooperation on key national security issues, including counterterrorism initiatives, at a crucial time when we are trying to build coalitions, not create divisions.

    The 9/11 attacks were the worst act of terrorism on U.S. soil, and they were met with an unprecedented U.S. Government response. The United States has taken robust and wide-ranging actions to provide justice for the victims of the 9/11 attacks and keep Americans safe, from providing financial compensation for victims and their families to conducting worldwide counterterrorism programs to bringing criminal charges against culpable individuals. I have continued and expanded upon these efforts, both to help victims of terrorism gain justice for the loss and suffering of their loved ones and to protect the United States from future attacks. The JASTA, however, does not contribute to these goals, does not enhance the safety of Americans from terrorist attacks, and undermines core U.S. interests.

    For these reasons, I must veto the bill.

    BARACK OBAMA

    THE WHITE HOUSE,
    September 23, 2016.

    This is a foreign policy disaster waiting to happen. I sincerely hope the votes to override aren't there.
     
  7. Geek

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    Oh and why's that. I've learned not to trust Obama when it comes to foreign policy.
     
  8. Browncoat

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    Obviously they can't let it happen, since it would be a diplomatic nightmare. The Saudi government certainly deserves it though.
     
  9. AwesomGaytheist

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    As has been the argument against Donald Trump, you cannot throw around stupid red meat policy ideas to appease the base and expect other countries not to retaliate.
     
  10. AgenderMoose

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    As mentioned above, the bill is a foreign policy mess. Plus from my understanding, the acts of a few people of a country that (again, as far as I am aware of) don't have deep ties with the government (not counting forced ties) should not determine a view on the entire country. Seems pretty close-minded. I don't see a reason why people should be allowed to sue an entire nation.

    Also aren't they kinda slow on the draw for this? It's been 15 years.
     
  11. Aussie792

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    The low chances of Saudi Arabia actually complying in US courts versus the annoyance of American officials being harassed in less legally sound nations' courts in retaliation for refusing to reciprocate the notion of sovereign immunity clearly shows that avoiding the latter is more desirable than than the symbolic gesture of suing Saudi Arabia.

    Even if the Saudi government has direct culpability, the US courts have limited enforcement mechanisms and the executive has strong political, strategic and anti-terror incentives not to attempt to carry out enforcing monetary compensation to victims sourced directly from the coffers of Riyadh.

    Simply put, this fires up the still-raw nerves of the September 11 attacks in the lead-up to an election season without effectively considering the consequences for the United States in the long-term in the international arena. It's cheap, it's politically unsound and raises false hope. All these reasons, which President Obama explains so well in his rejection of the veto, show why you can't just do this and expect the world not to retaliate.
     
    #11 Aussie792, Sep 23, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2016
  12. PatrickUK

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    A decision well made, I think. There are so many reasons why this is a bad idea, many of which have already been covered in this thread. Pursuing this line would open Pandora's box.
     
  13. EdmontonGaymer

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    For anyone curious to see how spectacularly something like this can backfire, this has been attempted before.

    Search "Godfrey–Milliken Bill" on Wikipedia.

    The gist is America proposed suing Canadian companies for doing business in Cuba. Godfrey and Milliken, Canadian MPs did their history homework and propsed suing America in retaliation, for the value of land that had been taken from United Empire Loyalists during the American Revolution. They had promised to return the land in the peace treaty but that never happened. With that threat, the original lawsuit was dropped.

    America's nose isn't exactly clean when it comes to sponsoring terror. All nations have made mistakes in the past. This kind of thing wound set a bad precident, and don't you doubt for a moment there would be countries lining up to sue back.
     
    #13 EdmontonGaymer, Sep 26, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2016
  14. ABeautifulMind

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    Plus the entire law would be pointless from what I understand.. I dont think you could sue ex past facto or whatever.... it would only apply to future attacks right?

    Im not sure about that part, I honestly only know an overview of the bill... But I do know that I would have vetoed as well.. I think it was the right decision despite being unpopular... I might be able to support it with it allowing for certain leaders and commanders to be sued, but not the government...

    Anyways, like I said I think it was a hard decision and the right decision...
     
  15. RavenTheRat

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    I feel like this bill would have just created more problems than it solved.
     
  16. Czarcastic

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    It appears his veto has been overrode and bill is now law.
     
  17. Aussie792

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    This article is a pretty decent rebuke of a rather childish Congress which regretted its own hasty decision almost immediately after rushing to make this bill law.

    It's almost amusing how Congress expects to be consulted on foreign policy, then decides not to pursue US foreign policy objectives in making this decision. The excuse of being inadequately briefed is ridiculous for what's not only intuitively a terrible idea on its face for all but the most ignorant, but also for the fact that they were clearly informed by the White House, State Department and intelligence community that this was an incredibly risky move to make.