POLITICS

Obama: Military Force Alone Cannot Stop Violent Extremism

02/18/2015 09:00 am ET | Updated Feb 18, 2015

President Barack Obama took to the pages of The Los Angeles Times on Tuesday to argue that the U.S. must do more to counter violent extremism around the globe, and that doing so will require more than its military can do.

"We know that military force alone cannot solve this problem. Nor can we simply take out terrorists who kill innocent civilians. We also have to confront the violent extremists — the propagandists, recruiters and enablers — who may not directly engage in terrorist acts themselves, but who radicalize, recruit and incite others to do so," Obama wrote.

He added: "We know from experience that the best way to protect people, especially young people, from falling into the grip of violent extremists is the support of their family, friends, teachers and faith leaders."

The president's op-ed follows a summit on countering extremism held at the White House on Tuesday, which brought together community leaders and law enforcement officers in a discussion to help "empower communities to protect their loved ones from extremist ideologies." It also comes at a time when more Americans disapprove of how Obama has been handling the fight against the Islamic State, at 57 percent, according to a new CNN poll.

Obama also rejected the notion that the U.S. is at war with Islam, calling the fight against extremism a "battle for hearts and minds." He has come under fire recently for failing to adequately describe the problem as "radical Islam."

"Our campaign to prevent people around the world from being radicalized to violence is ultimately a battle for hearts and minds. With this week's summit, we'll show once more that — unlike terrorists who only offer misery and death — it is our free societies and diverse communities that offer the true path to opportunity, justice and dignity," he wrote.

Read the entire op-ed at The Los Angeles Times.

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