Obama defends counterterrorism record

‘We can get these terrorists and stay true to who we are’, outgoing US president says

Obama defends counterterrorism record

World Bulletin / News Desk

President Barack Obama on Tuesday defended counterterrorism policies implemented during his eight-year tenure, while sending messages to President-elect Donald Trump for a future course of action.

The outgoing president said his administration was successful in turning al-Qaeda into a “shadow of its former self” and checked violent ISIL expansion, while conceding terror would remain a threat to the U.S.

"Rather than offer false promises that we can eliminate terrorism by dropping more bombs or deploying more and more troops or fencing ourselves off from the rest of the world, we have to take a long view of the terrorist threat,” Obama said in his final national security address at MacDill Air Force Base, home of the U.S. Special Operations Command and Central Command.

“We have to pursue a smart strategy that can be sustained," he said.

In an apparent warning to Trump, Obama criticized the idea of reinstating torture or imposing religious tests, two positions the president-elect has prominently supported.

“We can get these terrorists and stay true to who we are,” Obama said.

On the other hand, Obama was adamant in defending his heavy reliance on drones to take out enemy cells in Pakistan and Afghanistan, as well as the deployment of U.S. commandos for special operations, one of which killed al-Qaeda chief and 9/11 mastermind, Osama bin Laden.

Obama also acknowledged his regrets and failures, including not delivering on his promise to shut down the Guantanamo Bay prison facility, which he called a “blot on our national honor”. He also mentioned his partly abortive efforts to take the U.S. out of wars, criticizing a Republican-dominated Congress on both issues.

“Democracies should not operate in a state of permanently authorized war,” he said.

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Last Mod: 07 Aralık 2016, 09:02
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