In a briefing from the Pentagon Monday, President Obama addressed the United States' progress in combating the the militant Islamic State saying, "We are hitting ISIL harder than ever." He also noted to ISIS' leaders, "You're next." He reiterated the "sense of urgency" with which efforts to destroy ISIS are being met.
As we squeeze its heart, it will make it harder for ISIL to pump its propaganda and terror to the world.
Perpetuating the hopeful attitude, he told the American people that the group has lost "thousands of square miles of territory," but continued to encourage the U.S. and its allies to push forward with force.
All this said, we recognize that progress needs to keep coming faster.
If progress is going to come more quickly, Obama explained that the effort among some allies needs to be bolstered and implicated the Middle East in particular. In his Pentagon address, which came shortly after a meeting with Defense Secretary Ash Carter, he announced that Carter would be traveling to the region to bring about a greater response from Syria and Iraq's neighboring countries.
The speech comes just over a week after the president made an Oval Office address to the nation, urging the U.S. to remain calm following the San Bernardino shooting. He also defended his decision to not declare a "ground war." Last Sunday, he advised that everyone keep a level head.
Our success won't depend on tough talk, or abandoning our values or giving into fear. That's what groups like ISIL are hoping for. Instead, we will prevail by being strong and smart, resilient and relentless.
Obama also addressed the epidemic of Islamophobia that becomes a greater threat with each ISIS attack. These remarks in particular, have remained just as relevant in the days leading up to his most recent speech.
Let's not forget that freedom is more powerful than fear; that we have always met challenges, whether war or depression, natural disasters or terrorist attacks, by coming together around our common ideals as one nation and one people.
Since Oct. 30, when Obama deployed "less than 50" Special Operations forces, Carter approved of an additional "specialized expeditionary targeting force" to "conduct raids, free hostages, gather intelligence, and capture ISIL leaders" on Dec 1. Two weeks later, Obama continues to stand strong in his refusal to embark on a "ground war" and his intention to defeat ISIS and otherwise stay out of the region.
The president exited the stage Monday and turned down all questions from the press.
This story is developing...