GOP Senator: Obama's Speech a "Victory" For Terrorists

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
May 23 2013 5:01 PM

Slatest PM: GOP Senator Says Obama's Speech Will "Be Viewed by Terrorists as a Victory"

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President Barack Obama listens as Medea Benjamin, an activist from the organization called Code Pink, shouts at him while he speaks at the National Defense University May 23, 2013 in Washington, DC

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

Obama's Counterterrorism Pivot: New York Times: "President Obama on Thursday announced new restraints on targeted killings and narrowed the scope of the long struggle with terrorists as part of a transition to a day he envisions when the nation will no longer be on the war footing it has been on since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. In a widely anticipated speech at the National Defense University, Mr. Obama offered his most expansive defense of the drone war he has waged since taking office, but he signaled that he planned to wind down the strikes, which have stirred controversy at home and abroad. ...Mr. Obama also called on Congress to revise the authorization of force it passed in the aftermath of Sept. 11 to reflect the changing nature of the war on terrorism. And he renewed his moribund effort to close the prison at Guantánamo Bay .... Taken together, the president’s words and deeds added up to an effort to move the country away from the perpetual war on terrorism envisioned by his predecessor, George W. Bush, toward a more limited campaign against particular groups that would eventually be curtailed even if the threat of terrorism could never be eliminated." Read Obama's Foreign Policy Speech In Full

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No Love From the Right: Washington Post: "Obama’s speech drew a quick response from Republicans, who have accused the president of downplaying the threat of terrorism. 'The president’s speech today will be viewed by terrorists as a victory,' said Sen. Saxby Chambliss (Ga.), the ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee. 'Rather than continuing successful counterterrorism activities, we are changing course with no clear operational benefit.' Chambliss was also critical of Obama’s plans to try to close Guantanamo, signaling the obstacles that the president will face in Congress."

Happy Thursday and welcome to The Slatest PM, where if we squint we can see the weekend from here. (It looks glorious!). Follow your afternoon host on Twitter at @JoshVoorhees and the whole team at @slatest.

The Latest From London: Guardian: "The two suspects in the butchering to death of a British soldier had been known to the domestic security service MI5 and the police over an eight-year period, but had been assessed as peripheral figures and thus not subjected to a full-scale investigation, it has emerged . One of the two attackers was named as Michael Olumide Adebolajo, the man seen in dramatic video brandishing knives and justifying the attack as a strike against the west while his victim lay yards away bloodied and fatally wounded. Adebolajo, from a Nigerian churchgoing family who later converted to Islam, had complained of harassment by MI5 in the last three years after he came to the intelligence agency's attention. ... Detectives investigating Rigby's death also arrested a 29-year-old man and woman on suspicion of conspiracy to murder the soldier, suggesting there may have been a wider conspiracy to carry out the attack. The 29-year-old woman was arrested at a flat in Greenwich, south-east London."

Oh, Canada: Associated Press: "Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, caught up in a scandal over a video purportedly showing him smoking crack cocaine, fired his chief of staff on Thursday. A statement from the mayor's office gave no reason for Mark Towhey's dismissal. Towhey, who was escorted from City Hall by security, would only say that he did not resign. City Councilor Jaye Robinson she was told Towhey's firing was unrelated to the scandal, but rather had something to do with football. Ford was fired as coach of a Catholic high school football team on Wednesday — a development school officials also denied was related to the scandal."

Conn. Gun Fight: Reuters: " Leaders of Connecticut gun advocacy groups said on Thursday they had sued to knock down a strict new gun-control law passed in April because they believed the measure would not improve public safety. In the wake of the December massacre of 26 people at an elementary school by a gunman, Connecticut adopted a tough new gun law banning sales of the sort of high-capacity ammunition clips used in that attack as well as expanding the range of weapons covered by the state's assault-weapons ban. The Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen, one of the groups that brought the lawsuit, argued that the law violated the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which protects the right to bear arms, and that it would not have stopped the brazen attack on Sandy Hook Elementary School."

Storms Are A-Coming: CBS News: "Federal forecasters are predicting yet another busy hurricane season. Thursday's outlook calls for 13 to 20 named storms, seven to 11 that strengthen into hurricanes and three to six that become major hurricanes. The prediction by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is more than what is considered an average Atlantic season. Last year was the third-busiest on record with 19 named storms. Ten became hurricanes and two were major storms, with winds over 111 mph."

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