Obama addresses drones and Gitmo in rowdy speech

President Obama just wrapped up a major national security speech, defending drone policy but rejecting the notion of a “boundless global war on terror.”

The speech, at the National Defense University in DC, was interrupted by a vocal protestor in the crowd, who managed to shout down the president multiple times as she criticized overreaches in the War on Terror.

Obama defended drone strikes, arguing that they’ve killed Al-Qaeda commanders, disrupted terror plots and saved lives. But he also expressed regret for civilian deaths from drones and stated that he was open to additional oversight, including a special secret court to review drone targets.

He re-opened the door to send Guantanamo detainees to Yemen, and asked Congress to lift restrictions on other detainee transfers. In theory, these are moves in the direction of his stated goal of permanently closing the prison.

The speech is being described as a reframing of counterterrorism policy, but didn’t contain many major shifts in the policies and practices that have angered a lot of citizens here in our region.

On the whole, a large majority of Americans support drone strikes on suspected terrorists abroad (though not if said terrorists are US citizens).

Video of the full speech is below. You can read the full transcript here.

The full speech (with editorial visuals courtesy of Russia Today)

The Heckling

Heckler is escorted out