It was announced on Saturday that President Barack Obama would make a rare address to the nation from the Oval Office on Sunday evening to address terror threats following last week's attacks in San Bernardino, Calif. The attacks, which targeted a disability center at which one attacker was employed, resulted in 14 deaths and as many as 21 people injured. It was later learned that Tashfeen Malik and her husband Syed Farook were behind Wednesday's attack and that the two may have had ties to the Islamic State, raising alarm about national security.
A press statement from the White House on Saturday said the address would tackle "steps our government is taking to fulfill his highest priority: keeping the American people safe." It added, "The President will provide an update on the ongoing investigation into the tragic attack in San Bernardino. The President will also discuss the broader threat of terrorism, including the nature of the threat, how it has evolved, and how we will defeat it." It was also rumored that Obama would address the proliferation of gun violence in America.
Indeed, Obama's address immediately addressed San Bernardino, claiming that the FBI was still investigating what happened and were uncertain whether the shooters were being directed by a terrorist organization overseas, despite their ties to radical Islam (and a subsequent video from ISIS released shortly after the event claiming responsibility). "The threat from terrorism is real, but we will overcome it," he said. "We will destroy ISIL and any other organization that tries to harm us."
Watch President Obama's address to the nation on the threat of terrorism and keeping the American people safe. https://t.co/A16eYXCpOf— The White House (@WhiteHouse) December 7, 2015
He outlined a clear strategy for managing ongoing threats of terrorism without giving into fear, which he said is what "groups like ISIL are hoping for." First, he said, "our military will continue to hunt down terrorist plotters in any country where it is necessary," citing current airstrikes as an effective means of combating terrorist threats without having to put any boots on the ground.
Second, he said, we're providing training and equipment to Iraqi and Syrian forces who are working to combat ISIS on the ground "so that we take away their safe havens." Third, "We're working with friends and allies to stop ISIL's operations, to disrupt plots, cut off their financing, and prevent them from recruiting more fighters." He added that shared intelligence with Paris and other allies as well as outreach to Muslim communities has been an effective method of doing so. And lastly, President Obama said a timeline has been implemented by the "international community" to bring about a cease fire and resolution to the Syrian war, which he said would allow our allies as well as countries like Russia to focus on the common goal of defeating the Islamic State.
President Obama concluded his address by saying that we must avoid the pervasive mistreatment of Muslim communities, for whom ISIS does not speak. It is our responsibility to reject the notion that Muslim communities "should be treated differently," he said. "Muslim Americans are our friends and our neighbors, our co-workers and our sports heroes, and yes, they are our men and women in uniform who are willing to die in defense of our country."
Watch Obama's full address in the video above.