In an address from the State Floor of the White House, President Obama spoke to the nation tonight about ISIL — and our comprehensive strategy to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group.
The President reiterated that as Commander-in-Chief, his “highest priority is the security of the American people,” and noted that we have “consistently taken the fight to terrorists” that threaten the United States:
We took out Osama bin Laden and much of al Qaeda’s leadership in Afghanistan and Pakistan. We’ve targeted al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen, and recently eliminated the top commander of its affiliate in Somalia. We’ve done so while bringing more than 140,000 American troops home from Iraq, and drawing down our forces in Afghanistan, where our combat mission will end later this year. Thanks to our military and counterterrorism professionals, America is safer.
“Still,” he said, “we continue to face a terrorist threat.”
We can’t erase every trace of evil from the world, and small groups of killers have the capacity to do great harm. That was the case before 9/11, and that remains true today. And that’s why we must remain vigilant as threats emerge. At this moment, the greatest threats come from the Middle East and North Africa, where radical groups exploit grievances for their own gain. And one of those groups is ISIL — which calls itself the “Islamic State.”