- - Thursday, October 2, 2014

Vice President Joseph R. Biden on Thursday cast the Islamic State as a barbaric group that poses a threat to the stability of the Middle East and must be confronted, but he also tried to downplay fears about a strike on the U.S. homeland.

In a speech at Harvard University, Mr. Biden cautioned the audience to “not take out of proportion this threat” posed by the Islamic State, which controls significant territory in Iraq and Syria, has beheaded two Americans and threatened further violence in the Middle East and against the West.

“We face no existential threat — none — to our way of life or our ultimate security. You are twice as likely to be struck by lightning as you are to be affected by a terrorist event in the United States,” the vice president said. “While we face an adaptive, resilient enemy, let’s never forget that they are no match [for] an even more resilient and adaptive group of people — the American people.”

Mr. Biden also said that while many Americans expect there to be another terrorist attack on U.S. soil, he said the possibility pales in comparison to past threats to national security and international order.

“Americans will never, ever stand down. We endure. We overcome. We own the finish line. So do not take out of proportion this threat to us,” he said. “None of you are being taught to dive under your desks in drills dealing with the possibility of a nuclear attack.”

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