Obama: We Must Define the War on Terror or It Will Define Us

In a major national-security speech on Thursday, the president addressed Guantánamo and drones and pushed to reframe the war on terror.

Posted:
 
obamaspeaking52313575se
Saul Loeb/Getty Images

On Thursday, President Obama delivered a major speech at the Natonal Defense University in Washington, D.C., on the changing face of the war on terror, repairing U.S. relations with the Muslim community, his efforts to close Guantánamo Bay and the necessity for drones, reports NBC News

"We must define the nature and scope of this struggle, or else it will define us, mindful of James Madison's warning that 'No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.' Neither I, nor any president, can promise the total defeat of terror," he declared in a speech at the National Defense University in Washington. 

As part of that effort, the president announced more narrow parameters for the use of drones to kill terrorists overseas and limit collateral casualties and he reiterated his pledge to renew efforts to persuade Congress to agree to close the Guantanamo detention site in Cuba where 110 terrorist suspects are being held.

He said he would appoint a new envoy at the State Department and an official at the Defense Department who will attempt to negotiate transfers of Guantanamo detainees to other countries. And he said he is lifting the moratorium on some detainee transfers.

During his delivery however, Obama was interrupted three times, and during the final outburst he just let the rogue audience member speak. Then he went off-script to address the person's comments.

The antiwar group Code Pink, which often interrupts high-profile political events with vocal protests against U.S. foreign policy and national security strategy, said its founder Medea Benjamin was the person responsible for the interruption.

Though the president appeared somewhat irritated by the interruption, he said he was willing to cut the woman "some slack, because it's worth being passionate about."

Read more at NBC News here and here.

 Like The Root on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

Comments
The Root encourages respectful debate and dialogue in our commenting community. To improve the commenting experience for all our readers we will be experimenting with some new formats over the next few weeks. During this transition period the comments section will be unavailable to users.

We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your continued support of The Root.

While we are experimenting, please feel free to leave feedback below about your past experiences commenting at The Root.