During his brief but heavily-anticipated prime time address, President Obama insisted simultaneously that the San Bernardino attack last week was not connected to any terrorist group, but that it represented a “new phase” of terrorism, in which groups are turning to “less complicated” acts.
He spent much of the address, despite having insisted there was no connection to ISIS, in defending the ongoing strategy in the ISIS war, and insisting he doesn’t want a major ground war in Iraq or Syria that would last a decade or more.
Adding to the conflicting messages of his address, Obama then urged Congress to grant him an authorization for the ISIS war, saying it was time for them to demonstrate America’s “unity” and that they are “committed to this fight.”
President Obama also confirmed US special forces were being sent into both Iraq and Syria in growing numbers, trying to contrast that to the larger occupations of previous wars, though as he continues to slowly escalate his numbers that distinction may be less and less significant.
Beyond this, Obama also urged Congress to ban anyone on any no-fly list from buying a gun, and to heavily restrict the buying of more advanced assault weapons by everyone, insisting US intelligence agencies can’t catch all attackers, but they can make it harder for them to obtain weapons.
He also promised to seek more unity among countries fighting in Syria, saying the US would call on their allies and also Russia to step up the battle, while suggesting that some sort of diplomatic settlement of the Syrian Civil War could be on the horizon.