Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Obama to Urge Americans Not to Give into Fear of Terrorism

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Obama to Urge Americans Not to Give into Fear of Terrorism

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON * In a rare Oval Office address, President Barack Obama vowed Sunday night that the United States would overcome a new phase of the terrorist threat that aims to "poison the minds" of people here and around the world, as he sought to reassure Americans shaken by recent attacks in Paris and California.

"I know that after so much war, many Americans are asking whether we are confronted by a cancer that has no immediate cure," he said, speaking from a lectern in his West Wing office. "The threat from terrorism is real, but we will overcome it," he declared.

The president's speech followed Wednesday's shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., that killed 14 people and wounded 21. Authorities say a couple carried out the attack and the wife pledged allegiance to the Islamic State and its leader in a Facebook post.

Obama said that although there was no evidence that the shooters had been directed by a terrorist network overseas or part of a broader plot, "the two of them had gone down the dark path of radicalization."

"This was an act of terrorism designed to kill innocent people," he said in the 13-minute address.

In speaking from the Oval Office, Obama turned to a tool of the presidency that he has used infrequently. His decision to speak in prime time reflected the White House's concern that his message on the recent attacks hasn't broken through, particularly in the midst of a heated presidential campaign.

He announced no significant shift in U.S. strategy and offered no new policy prescriptions for defeating IS, underscoring both his confidence in his current approach and the lack of easy options for countering the extremist group.

Obama did call for cooperation between private companies and law enforcement to ensure potential attackers can't use technology to evade detection.

He also urged Congress to pass new force authorization for military actions underway against IS in Iraq and Syria, and also to approve legislation to bar guns from being sold to people prohibited from flying on planes in the U.S. for terrorist concerns.

And he implored Americans to not turn against Muslims at home, saying the Islamic State was driven by a desire to spark a war between the West and Islam. …

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