Fox host Chris Wallace criticized President Obama's counter-terrorism speech which redefined how the country fights global terrorism by comparing the 12 year "war on terror" to the 40 year Cold War. However, Wallace ignored Obama's promise to continue targeting terrorist networks and the president's speech has been praised by supporters and critics of the administration.
President Obama promised an end to the perpetual warfare that began following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon during a May 23 speech at the National Defense University. On the May 26 edition of Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace used Obama's call to redefine the "boundless war on terror" as a "series of persistent targeted efforts" to suggest that the president is declaring the war over too soon and putting the country in danger, adding that "the Cold War lasted for 40 years":
In fact, rather than declaring the threat of terrorism over as Wallace suggested, Obama made clear that he would continue to target and dismantle terrorist networks, while working to repeal the Authorization to Use Military Force which has kept "America on a perpetual wartime footing." From the speech:
Beyond Afghanistan, we must define our effort not as a boundless "global war on terror," but rather as a series of persistent, targeted efforts to dismantle specific networks of violent extremists that threaten America.
Authorization to Use Military Force, or AUMF, to determine how we can continue to fight terrorism without keeping America on a perpetual wartime footing.
The AUMF is now nearly 12 years old. The Afghan war is coming to an end. Core al Qaeda is a shell of its former self. Groups like AQAP must be dealt with, but in the years to come, not every collection of thugs that labels themselves al Qaeda will pose a credible threat to the United States. Unless we discipline our thinking, our definitions, our actions, we may be drawn into more wars we don't need to fight, or continue to grant Presidents unbound powers more suited for traditional armed conflicts between nation states.
So I look forward to engaging Congress and the American people in efforts to refine, and ultimately repeal, the AUMF's mandate. And I will not sign laws designed to expand this mandate further. Our systematic effort to dismantle terrorist organizations must continue. But this war, like all wars, must end. That's what history advises. That's what our democracy demands.
In contrast to Fox News' continued attempts to distort Obama's speech, the president's call to redefine the way we treat the threat of global terrorism was well received. The New York Times described it as "the most important statement on counterterrorism policy since the 2001 attacks." The Washington Post's David Ignatius praised the speech in his May 24 column where he lauded, "watching Obama on Thursday, one sensed that he still has the smarts and savvy to lead the country out of its dysfunctional mess." Senator John McCain also praised Obama's speech in a statement released after the speech:
There is much that I support in President Obama's speech today ... The President and the Congress need to work together to establish a sustainable legal framework for our counterterrorism policies. A central part of this effort must be an update of the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, and I welcome the President's willingness to engage with Congress on this issue.