President Obama addressed the ongoing military operations against the Islamic State, even as he submitted a new request for an authorization of military force against the terrorists.
Flanked by Secretary of State John Kerry, Vice President Joe Biden and outgoing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Obama praised the American effort to combat ISIS and sent a stern message to the terrorist group about its future in the Middle East.
“It’s gonna take time to dislodge these terrorists, especially from urban areas,” he admitted. “But our coalition is on the offensive. ISIL is on the defensive and ISIL is going to lose.”
Obama criticized the organization for its “reign of horror” across the Middle East.
“Its barbaric murders of so many people including American hostages are a desperate and revolting attempt to strike fear in the hearts of people it can never possibly win over by its ideas or its ideology because it offers nothing but misery and death and destruction,” he said.
In spite of his warlike demeanor, Obama specified that he would not get America involved in another ground war in the Middle East, alluding to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars under the Bush administration.
“As I’ve said before, I’m convinced that the United States should not get dragged back into another prolonged ground war in the Middle East,” he said. “That’s not in our national security interest and it’s not necessary for us to defeat ISIL.”
Obama ruled out the use of “ground combat forces” in the fight against ISIS, but pointed out that the new war authorization would allow him the use of special forces teams.
“We need flexibility, but we have to be careful and deliberate,” he said. “There’s no heavier decision than asking our men and women in uniform to risk their lives on our behalf.”
And in any event, he set an end date for action. The authorization Obama requested would expire in three years.