Republicans call President Obama 'tone deaf' for suggesting an end to post-9/11 war
Republicans widely blasted President Obama on Sunday for his decision to move the nation away from the open-ended global war on terror that began after 9/11.
South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham called the President's narrower approach to combating terrorism "tone deaf," and bashed Obama for what he said was a premature declaration of victory.
"I've never been more worried about our national security than I am today, and this speech didn't help," Graham, a frequent critic of the President, said on "FOX News Sunday."
"We show this lack of resolve, talking about the war being over," Graham said. "At the end of the day, this is the most tone-deaf president I ever could imagine, making such a speech at a time when our homeland is trying to be attacked literally every day."
Obama spoke Thursday at the National Defense University, laying the groundwork of a new calibration for how the U.S. will try to combat terrorism as the nation moves beyond the perpetual state of war that began after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
"Our systematic effort to dismantle terrorist organizations must continue," he said Thursday. "But this war, like all wars, must end. That's what history advises. That's what our democracy demands."
Among the new objectives Obama announced were new curbs on targeted killings and the start of a more narrowly focused military effort aimed at neutralizing specific extremists deemed threats to the U.S.
While Obama made clear that the U.S. would continue to take national security threats "seriously, and do all that we can to confront them," several of his most outspoken critics were quick to characterize the President's speech as reckless.
"I see a big difference between the President saying the war's at an end and whether or not you've won the war," Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn said Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation." "This war's going to continue. And we have still tremendous threats out there, that are building, not declining, building, and to not recognize that, I think, is dangerous in the long run and dangerous for the world."
New York Republican Peter King, meanwhile, said he is "offended" by Obama's renewed calls to close down Guantanamo Bay prison - another point he made in his speech.
"I'm offended by the moralizing," King said on ABC's "This Week." "Whether you agree or disagree with Guantanamo, many experts believe that it did work. It was something that had to be done at the time. The President had five years to end this if he really wanted to. He could've moved most of those prisoners out of the country."
A freshly inaugurated Obama signed an executive order on his first day in office to close the controversial military prison, but Congress has, over the years, used different pieces of legislation to block the move.