- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 7, 2014

President Obama said that while the Islamic State can’t be defeated without boots on the ground, those boots will not be members of the American military.

Mr. Obama said in an interview that aired Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he planned to address the nation Wednesday night to inform the American people on the nature of the threat from the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, and his strategy for dealing with it.

“This is not going to be an announcement about U.S. ground troops,” he said. “What this is is similar to the kind of counterterrorism campaigns that we’ve been engaging in consistently.”

Mr. Obama said the U.S. does not have the resources to occupy every country around the world with a terrorist threat. America has to rely on local forces to not put too much strain on the U.S. military he said.

“We’ve got to have a more sustainable strategy, which mean the boots on the ground have to be Iraqi, and in Syria the boots on the ground have to be Syrian,” he said.



In addition to speaking to the country on the threat, Mr. Obama said he plans to meet with congressional leaders Tuesday to brief them on the threat, though he did not go so far as to say he wanted lawmakers to vote to authorize military action.

“I’m confident that I’ve got the authorization I need to protect the American people,” Mr. Obama said. “But I do think it’s important for Congress to understand what the plan is, to buy in, to debate it.”

During the interview, Mr. Obama also addressed other concerns, like his decision to delay an executive order on immigration reform until after the midterms and the threat of Ebola to the U.S. homeland.

While Republicans have speculated that the delay of action on immigration reform is politically driven, Mr. Obama said he is pushing back the executive order to make sure the American people understand why a new strategy is needed as well as to hammer out a sustainable strategy to deal with the undocumented minors who crossed the border earlier this year.

“I am going to act because it’s the right thing for the country, but it’s going to be more sustainable and more effective if the country understands what the facts are on immigration,” he said.

On Ebola, the president said Americans shouldn’t worry about the threat of Ebola in the short term, but that if workers aren’t deployed to contain the problem to Western Africa, it could become a problem for Americans in the long term.

“If we don’t make that effort now and this spreads not just through Africa but other parts of the world, there is the prospect then that the virus mutates, that it becomes more easily transferable,” he said.

Some have criticized the president for his time on the golf course, especially for playing shortly after making a statement on the Islamic State beheading American journalist James Foley.

Mr. Obama said he was deeply affected by the death of Mr. Foley and speaking with his family, and that he should have anticipated the backlash for golfing immediately after.

“It’s serious business and you care about it deeply but part of this job is also the theater of it. It’s not something that always comes naturally to me, but it matters and I’m mindful of that,” he said.

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