Washnigton: United States President Barack Obama accused critics on Tuesday of playing into the hands of Islamic State by comparing the fight against the militant group to World War Three, in an address aimed at laying out an optimistic vision of America`s future.
Obama, who delivered his last State of the Union speech to Congress before leaving office next year, said it was fiction to declare the United States was in economic decline or getting weaker on the international stage, despite rhetoric from Republican presidential candidates vying to replace him in the November 8 election.
“Masses of fighters on the back of pickup trucks and twisted souls plotting in apartments or garages pose an enormous danger to civilians and must be stopped. But they do not threaten our national existence,” Obama said, according to prepared remarks.
“That’s the story ISIL wants to tell; that’s the kind of propaganda they use to recruit. We don’t need to build them up to show that we’re serious, nor do we need to push away vital allies in this fight by echoing the lie that ISIL is representative of one of the world’s largest religions,” he said, referring to Islamic State by an acronym.
The remarks were a repudiation of Republican criticism of his strategy against Islamic State and, not so subtly, of Republican front-runner Donald Trump`s call to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the United States.