Three days after teams of Islamic State terrorists brazenly carried out raids across Paris that left 129 people dead, President Obama labeled the slaughter a “setback” in responding to questions about his policies.
“There will be setbacks and there will be successes. The terrible events in Paris were obviously a terrible and sickening setback,” Obama said Monday.
The president spoke at a contentious and lengthy press conference on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Turkey, as he faces tough criticism from Capitol Hill — for saying the morning before the attack that ISIS had been “contained” in Iraq and Syria, and for sustaining a military strategy that critics deem insufficient.
But Obama on Monday stuck by the U.S. strategy for fighting the terror group while defending his earlier remarks.
The president said the ultimate goal is to “degrade and ultimately destroy this barbaric terrorist organization.” But he insisted that the reason he said they’re contained, hours before terror teams launched deadly raids across Paris, is because “they control less territory than they did last year.”
Obama stressed that going after ISIS in Iraq and Syria will help reduce the threat from foreign fighters, while acknowledging it “will not be enough to defeat ISIL in Syria and Iraq alone.”
Obama also defended the current strategy — which involves airstrikes and a limited number of military advisers on the ground.
“There will be an intensification of the strategy that we’ve put forward,” he said. “But the strategy that we are putting forward is the strategy that ultimately is going to work.”
He said, “It will take time.” And he insisted that the U.S. has not “underestimated” the ISIS threat.
Read more: Fox News