After last week’s attack in San Bernardino, a reassuring talk from the commander-in-chief was needed.
Last night, President Obama gave an Oval Office speech on US’ counter-terrorism efforts after the recent tragedies of Paris and San Bernardino have been on the minds of many. Here’s the breakdown on what he said last night.
- If there was one major message that President Obama wanted to convey to the nation, it was to reassure the general public that the government still had their eye on the ball when it came to terrorist attacks. While he did reiterate that the nature of the attacks are changing – instead of bombings they are going to “less complicated attacks” – that doesn’t mean the US’ intelligence agencies are any less vigilant. It makes sense for President Obama to address the nation after poll number were showing him hovering around 40% public approval rating on his handling of national security issues. For President Obama, it was an effective use of the bully pulpit.
- In his talk, President Obama laid out how the US is combating terrorism measures, which include: (1) continued airstrikes on ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq, (2) keep providing equipment and intelligence to the rebels fighting ISIS in Syria and Iraq, (3) working with allied countries to stop the spread of ISIS through disrupting terrorist plots and cutting funding through international accounts, and (4) trying to work with international leaders to agree upon a cease-fire to stop the civil war in Syria, which through the chaos has been spreading the threat of ISIS throughout the region. So basically, President Obama insists that the best form of action is to say the course.
- If there was an underlining aesthetic to last night’s speech it would have been this:
- Interestingly enough, President Obama also tried to tie gun control with recent efforts on counter-terrorism. Specifically when it came to blocking individuals from purchasing guns on the no-fly list and a ban on the type of assault weapons used in the San Bernardino shooting. It’s smart to try and link the gun control issue with the threat of terrorism since it is on everyone’s mind at the moment. Plus this approach could be the one that brings liberals and moderates on the same page when it comes to gun control legislation. After all, “let’s keep guns out of dangerous people’s hands” is a faily convincing message to many people. Then again, since the San Bernardino shooting, the National Rifle Association (NRA) and other gun rights advocates have been pushing back hard, which in itself is a major roadblock for gun control any gun control legislation. As a reporter friend put it, “if Congress wouldn’t pass gun control legislation after the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, then why would they pass it for any other tragedy?”
- The appeal that President Obama made to Congress for them to “go ahead and vote to authorize the continued use of military force against these terrorists” is nothing new. What President Obama is asking for is the granting of power through the War Powers Resolution, in which Congress can grant the president an increase in federal power to conduct military action in foreign countries. In this case, President Obama wants Congress to allow his administration to continue the use of specialized militia and bombing campaigns in Syria. Considering both liberals (worried about the president overstepping his authority) and conservative hard-liners (who don’t want to give President Obama any power what-so-ever) in Congress have major reservations on its extension, this could be a much bigger fight than the Obama administration originally intended.
- One thing President Obama made very clear in last night’s talk; he won’t be sending any ground troops into Syria. A few Republican presidential candidates, like Jeb Bush, have called for an “on the ground presence” in Syria to combat ISIS. Considering the public pushback from the on the ground wars with Iraq and Afghanistan, it’s hard to see President Obama budging on the issue.
- In this speech, once again, he reinforced how the US is not in war with Islam. And he’s right, as a nation there has been a glut of Islamophobic rhetoric out there of late. Honestly you don’t have to look that hard for it. We’re glad President Obama directly addressed that in his speech, but at the same time, wish it was a sentiment that was so obvious, that it didn’t need to be said.
- Also last night Donald Trump live tweeted the speech. Here’s our favorite response from it!
— Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) December 7, 2015
Don’t trust us on our talking points from last night’s talk? Think we’re pawns of the liberal media or Roger Ailes’ cabana boy for the conservative Illuminati?! Well my paranoid friend, you can see the speech for yourself below.
(Photo Credit: WhiteHouse.gov, Google Images, Twitter)