President Obama is refusing to acknowledge he needs to change strategy against ISIS after the terrorist attacks in Paris, defending his actions as “robust” and “constant.”
He pointedly denied suggestions from the press that he had underestimated ISIS, and hadn’t done enough to root the group out of Iraq and Syria.
“The strategy we are putting forward is the strategy that ultimately is going to work,” he insisted.
Obama maintained that he would continue working with other countries including Russian and Iran to help combat the threat of ISIS.
He also defied critics who questioned his strategy, asserting that “typically the things they suggest need to be done are things we are already doing.”
He pointedly defended his comments that he had contained ISIS, which happened just hours before the attacks took place in Paris.
“When I said we are containing their spread in Iraq and Syria, in fact, they control less territory than they did last year,” he said. “And the more we shrink that territory, the less they can pretend that they are somehow a functioning state.”
He grew more frustrated after members of the press repeatedly questioned his detached demeanor when speaking about the attacks in Paris and his commitment to root out ISIS.
“I think a lot of Americans have this frustration that they see that the United States has the greatest military in the world, it has the backing of nearly every other country in the world when it comes to taking on ISIS,” CNN’s Jim Acosta said. “I guess the question is, and if you’ll forgive the language, is ‘Why can’t we take out these bastards?’”
Obama scoffed at the question. “What I’m not interested in doing is posing or pursuing some notion of ‘American leadership’ or ‘America winning,”’ he said firmly. He added he had already laid out the proper strategy for dealing with ISIS. Instead, he told reporters the terrorists were able to succeed because of their ideology.
“If you have a handful of people who don’t mind dying, they can kill a lot of people,” he said. “That’s one of the challenges of terrorism.” On three other occasions, he pointed to the terrorist’s proficiency on social media as part of the reason they were so successful.
He sternly warned critics who suggested that more troops on the ground should be sent in to root out the terrorist group, reminding them of the human costs of war.
“It’s best that we don’t, you know, shoot first and aim later,” he said defensively. “It’s important for us to get the strategy right and the strategy we are pursuing is the right one.”