Did Obama Just End the War?

Pundits differ on how seriously we should take yesterday's speech

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted May 24, 2013 1:12 PM CDT

(Newser) – President Obama delivered a landmark speech on the war on terror yesterday, but people are divided on just how impressed we ought to be. The New York Times is singing the speech's praises. "As frustratingly late as it was—much of what Mr. Obama said should have been said years ago—there is no underestimating the importance" of Obama's declaration that the war actually needs to end, the Times editors write. They're buying that this time Obama is truly committed to closing Guantanamo, protecting civil liberties, and getting America off its war footing at last.

But the editors at Bloomberg were "deeply unsatisfied" by the pronouncements. "All in all, this is progress," they write. "Yet nobody should consider this a redefining moment in the war against terrorism." If anything, the speech reminded us that Obama is still using Congress' post-Sept. 11 authorization for the use of force against al-Qaeda to justify any military action he pleases. "That authorization made sense when it came to invading Afghanistan to hunt down Osama bin Laden," but "it is a laughable predicate for launching missiles at al-Shabaab militants in Somalia today." What Obama announced last night were Band-aids that "leave us a long way from answering the question of whether we are, in fact, still at war." Click for the full Times piece, or Bloomberg.

President Obama pauses as his speech is interrupted by a heckler at the National Defense University at Fort McNair in Washington.
President Obama pauses as his speech is interrupted by a heckler at the National Defense University at Fort McNair in Washington.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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