Obama emphasized that he did not believe America should go to Syria to control the terrorists, but that the Syrian government should be taught and encouraged to control their own people.
Chuck Todd on Meet the Press brought it to the attention of President Barack Obama that the speech he is scheduled to give Wednesday, informing America and Congress of new steps that will be taken to combat ISIS, is centered around the very groups he just a year ago called JV terrorist organizations.
“I wasn’t specifically referring to ISIL,” said Obama. Rather, he was referring to regional terrorist groups “that were focused primarily locally, [they] weren’t focused on the homeland. I think a lot of us when we focus on terrorism the model is Osama bin Laden and 9/11.”
He elaborated, “What I said was not every regional terrorist organization is automatically a threat to us [in a way] that would call for a major offensive.”
Obama explained the path that ISIL has taken, that once it detached from al Qaeda in Iraq the destructive actions of that group were contained by the efforts of American troops, but they then moved to Syria where they have grown.
He emphasized he has known since “several months ago” not to see ISIL as a JV team, as was heard at a speech he gave at West Point in May. He says in that speech he “specifically said our goal should not be to occupy every country where there’s a terrorist organization. Our goal has to be to partner more effectively with governments that are committed to pushing back against the kind of extremism that ISIL represents…. We’re going to have to work smarter, we’re going to have to train the militaries there more capably, we’ve got to do more effective diplomatic work to eliminate the scism between Sunni and Shia that has been fueling so much of the violence in Syria, in Iraq.”
When pressed, Obama emphasized that he did not believe America should go to Syria to control the terrorists, but that the Syrian government should be taught and encouraged to control their own people.