Obama: I will veto any new sanctions against Iran…

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    The two leaders just finished a press conference in D.C. The biggest news: Obama says he will veto further Iran sanctions.

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BY KAVEH WADDELL AND PRISCILLA ALVAREZ

British Prime Minister David Cameron with President Obama walk the West Wing colonnade of the White House on January 15, 2015 in Washington, D.C.(Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
January 16, 2015 After a tumultuous two weeks of terror and emotional responses in Europe, British Prime Minister David Cameron is in Washington, D.C. to meet with President Obama, largely about security and cyber issues. And now they’re trying to show off the strengths of their “special relationship” to the press.

Obama kicked off his opening statement explaining just why he reportedly calls Cameron “bro.” Why so casual? “Put simply, David is a great friend,” Obama said. “Great Britain is our indispensable partner,” Obama said Friday. “And David has been personally an outstanding partner.” Cameron, in his opening statement, called Obama a “great friend to Britain and to me personally.”

In addition to economic security, Cameron focused on terror organizations such as ISIS, and the domestic threats they inspire, calling their basis as “poisonous ideology.”

“The world is sickened by this terrorism, so we will not be standing alone in this fight,” Cameron said. “We know what we’re up against and we know how we will win.”

Cameron also announced that he and Obama “have agreed to establish a joint group to identify what more we can do to counter the rise of domestic violent extremism and to learn from one another.”

Cameron, who is running for reelection by this May, made sure to emphasize the work he and Obama have done to pull the U.S. and U.K. economies out of their slumps.

But perhaps the biggest moment of the presser, so far at least, was on Iran. Obama addressed the ongoing negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, and a bill that lawmakers are expected to introduce next month that would increase sanctions on the Iranian regime. It’s a bill the president says he will veto.

“Through some very strong diplomatic work, we united the world and isolated Iran. And it’s because of that work that we brought them to the negotiating table.” But Obama is still putting the odds of a comprehensive agreement with Iran at “probably less than 50-50.” Iran, he said, is run by a regime that “is deeply suspicious of the west, deeply suspicious of us.”

Obama said new sanctions legislation would likely cause the negotiations to collapse. “And if that happens, there is no constraint on Iran at that point going back and doing exactly what it had been doing before they came to the table.”

He also said that if negotiations fail, the likelihood of military confrontation goes up, “and Congress will have to own that as well.”

For that reason, Obama said he plans to veto any new sanctions that come to his desk. Obama, in speaking with the Democratic congressional caucus yesterday, said that “I respectfully request them to hold off for a few months to see if we have the possibility of solving a big problem without resorting potentially to war. And I think that’s worth doing.”

Obama later clarified that if diplomacy doesn’t succeed now, the U.S. won’t be on “immediate war footing” with Iran.

Similarly, Cameron voiced his disagreement on new sanctions that could fracture negotiations with Iran, saying he’s even talked to U.S. senators during his visit to “simply make a point.”

Discussing the recent spate of terrorist attacks in Europe, Obama said that the United States has “one big advantage in this whole process.” The advantage, he said, is the fact that the Muslim communities in the U.S. are assimilated and “feel themselves to be Americans.”

That’s not the case in parts of Europe, Obama said, which is “probably the greatest danger that Europe faces.” He suggested that European governments work on strengthening ties between their cultures and Muslim immigrants, rather than responding “with a hammer and law enforcement and military approaches to these problems.”

While Cameron agreed on that point, he also pointed out that some who have those advantages in a multiracial society still get seduced by “this poisonous, radical death cult of a narrative.”

In combating terror threats streamed through social media and the Internet, Obama and Cameron announced that they will be reviewing cybersecurity and challenges that may surface with new technologies.

The presser wasn’t all completely serious and policy-forward. In the first question from the press, Obama was asked about what he made of reports that Mitt Romney is considering running for president again. “No comment” was as far as he went.

The meeting between the two follows a series of terror attacks in France that left 17 people dead. More than 40 world leaders marched along hundreds of thousands of people in Paris last weekend in honor of the victims. Cameron was there, but Obama was not. The White House was criticized for not sending the president—or at least the vice president—to the rallies, and the administration later admitted it should have sent someone “with a higher profile.” Secretary of State John Kerry visited France Friday to express his sympathy, saying “I really wanted to come here and share a hug with all of Paris and all friends.”

The news conference also serves to present a united front against terrorism in the face of additional threats this week in Europe. On Thursday, Belgian police said they thwarted “a major terrorist attack,” engaging three would-be attackers in a shootout that left two gunmen dead. And on Friday, more than two dozen suspects were arrested in coordinated French, German, and Belgian police raids.

Marina Koren and Matt Berman contributed to this article.

U.S. troops on alert worldwide because Senate Democrats think it’s the perfect time to release ‘torture’ report

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Just as Gruber testimony is set to begin. Hmmmmm.

The whole “torture” narrative was always political, so it makes perfect sense that Senate Democrats would choose to release their report on the matter just as the politics of the situation demand it. It also makes sense that they would do so at a time when it will quite possibly put U.S. troops in harm’s way overseas, because since when do Democrats care about that?

They’re about to lose their hold on the Senate, so their chance is slipping away. And hearings involving Jonathan Gruber and other ObamaCare architects are about to start, so Democrats desperately need a distraction.

Release the hounds! Why not? Actually, there are a lot of reasons why not, especially the risks Michael Gerson outlines in his Washington Post column today:

The U.S. response in the war against terrorism has been dramatically more selective and focused on combatants. Even so, the CIA is often forced to operate at the edge of the United States’ acceptable response — currently with drone strikes and a variety of activities to degrade and dismantle the Islamic State. The avoidance of “boots on the ground” in the Middle East has placed an additional burden on intelligence services to work with (often flawed) allies, target enemies and strike from afar. Political leaders, once again, urge intelligence officials to do what is necessary.

So the Feinstein report would come in the middle of a war, targeting many Americans who are still engaged in it. It would be an act of exceptional congressional recklessness. Democratic senators on the Intelligence Committee interviewed none of the key figures in the program, yet fought for months to make it easier to identify the targets of their report. “Those personnel,” said (soon to be former) Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), “if they have that worry, can be given some legitimate security.” This is clearly what some committee members intended: exposure and a bodyguard.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the outgoing chair of the committee, was thought to be more responsible. But her legacy may be a massive dump of intelligence details useful to the enemy in a time of war. And she knows the likely results. Secretary of State John Kerry expressed the concerns of alliesabout increased violence. A National Intelligence Council report warned of threats to embassies, installations and individuals, and explored how partners would react to the disclosure.

When even John Kerry is acknowledging the risks of a baldly political move like this, you know you’ve got a problem on your hands.

But in the minds of Democrats, they’ve got an even bigger problem, which is that they’re at a low point in the public’s eyes. When better to fall back on the phoniest of phony narratives, which is what the “torture” nonsense always was?

Let’s remember: After 19 Islamic terrorists hijacked U.S. jetliners and murdered 3,000 Americans on our soil, the mindset of the nation changed dramatically. Suddenly we took the threat of such attacks seriously and we were over the niceties of following “international law” and not upsetting people in our manner of protecting ourselves. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were clearly resolved to do whatever it took to prevent another such attack from happening (which they did successfully), and the public was behind them. If that meant a terrorist had information about impending attacks or would-be attackers, and wouldn’t give it up, then waterboard, strap jumper cables to his genitals . . . do what you have to do. Their supposed right not to be tortured would not come before innocent Americans’ right not to be killed.

Don’t like it? Too damn bad.

That was the mindset of Americans at the time, and it drove Democrats bananas. They tried for awhile to feign strength on national security, but that is not them and they couldn’t fake it for long. Democrats are the party of international weakness, wanting to withdraw from the world and put their focus on confiscating the resources of the private sector to put to use in redistributing wealth and regulating every minute detail of American life. Yet Democrats were completely out of power – having lost the White House and both houses of Congress – and as long as Americans were cheering for toughness in the fight against terrorists, they were not going to get any of that power back.

So they invented outrage over the treatment of detainees. OMG! Waterboarding! It’s torture! We’re better than that! Gitmo! It’s unfair! We’re squandering the goodwill of our allies!

The media hated the post-9/11 mindset of the nation too, and was more than willing to trumpet the Democrats’ torture narrative. Bush was more concerned with stopping attacks than with the political debate – a consistent tendency of his that helped make him a good president but also handed Democrats a lot of unnecessary rhetorical victories. The result was that the hearings staged by Democrats like Dianne Feinstein and Carl Levin resonated, but the release of this report still presented problems because, as Gerson points out, it’s actually going after members of the U.S. Armed Forces at a time of war, people who are still out there fighting.

And once the Democrats recaptured the White House, the national security problems became their problems, and suddenly a cretin like John Kerry – who would never hestitate for a second to attack American troops if it benefited him politically – is urging restraint.

You can count on the media going to town on this for a few days. You’ll see the familiar images of waterboarding, along with the lectures of how we stepped over the line and how this made us no better than the terrorists themselves. The Democrats have to try something, what with ObamaCare dragging them down, even if it further complicates global turmoil taking place on their watch and in large part as a result of their foolish foreign policy.

I’d like to say the release of this report won’t change anything, but that’s not true. It could get some of our servicemen and servicewomen killed. That would be a change, all right. I guess Democrats think it’s worth it if that’s what it takes to change their political fortunes, even if only for a moment.