Washington — Asserting that the US will “destroy” Islamic State, President Barack Obama today sought to reassure terror-struck Americans that the country would overcome a “new phase” of threat but ruled out sending large scale troops on the ground to defeat the terror group.
In a rare address to the nation from his Oval Office of the White House aimed at calming a jittery country after a mass shooting in California that killed 14 Americans, Obama said the threat from terrorism is real, but the US will overcome it.
Obama said his strategy to destroy ISIS is designed and supported by US military commanders and counter-terrorism experts, together with 65 countries that have joined an American-led coalition targeting the terror outfit.
“We will destroy ISIL (another name for ISIS) and any other organization that tries to harm us. Our success won’t depend on tough talk, or abandoning our values or giving into fear. That’s what groups like ISIL are hoping for. Instead, we will prevail by being strong and smart, resilient and relentless. And by drawing upon every aspect of American power,” he said.
In his speech, Obama once again ruled out sending large scale troops on the ground.
“We should not be drawn once more into a long and costly ground war in Iraq or Syria. That’s what groups like ISIL want. They know they can’t defeat us on the battlefield. ISIL fighters were part of the insurgency that we faced in Iraq,” the US President said.
“But they also know that if we occupy foreign lands, they can maintain insurgencies for years, killing thousands of our troops and draining our resources, and using our presence to draw new recruits,” he said.
“The strategy that we are using now — air strikes, special forces and working with local forces who are fighting to regain control of their own country — that is how we’ll achieve a more sustainable victory, and it won’t require us sending a new generation of Americans overseas to fight and die for another decade on foreign soil,” he added.
Asserting that the ISIS does not speak for Islam, Obama urged Islamic leaders across the world to speak out against the terrorist outfit and its ideology.
Obama described the California incident in which a radicalised couple — Pakistani national Tashfeen Malik, and her husband, Syed Rizwan Farook, of Pakistani-origin — killed 14 people in San Bernardino as an “act of terrorism”.
Noting that over the last few years the terrorist threat has evolved into a “new phase”, Obama said, “As groups like ISIL grew stronger amidst the chaos of war in Iraq and then Syria, and as the internet erases the distance between countries, we see growing efforts by terrorists to poison the minds of people like the Boston Marathon bombers and the San Bernardino killers.” PNA/PTI