President Barack Obama told members of the military Friday that he calls them as he sees them when it comes to the big decisions his job requires.
“When I go to bed, I go to bed easy, because I know that I’ve made the best decisions I could make,” Obama said during a 9/11 military town hall at Fort Meade near Washington, D.C.
The commander in chief took questions from service members piped in from around the world during the event designed to mark the 14th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
“On 9/11, I thought it was particularly appropriate for me to be able to address you directly, and to say thank you on behalf of the American people,” Obama told the troops.
Whether in person, via phone, video conference, or the Internet, troops asked questions ranging from the fight against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, to how the president and first lady Michelle Obama raise their daughters in the glare of the White House. (On that last query, the president said, “I just do what Michelle tells me to do and it seems to work out.”)
At one point, Obama says it appears to him that Syrian President Bashar Assad is inviting the Russian military into his country because he’s worried about holding onto power. The president said that the United States has warned Russia that beefing up its support for Assad is doomed to fail.
Obama also said that the United States needs to step up its responses to cyber attacks, and criticized China for some of its cyber practices.
The president chuckled when one of the troops asked him how he dealt with people “hating” and “talking smack” about him all the time.
“Not everyone is talking smack about me,” Obama said. “But there is a sizable percentage in Congress that talks smack about me, no doubt about it.”
Obama said he must own all decisions, whether it’s the operation that killed Osama bin Laden to the initial problems with the health care website, which he described as a “screw-up.”
Said Obama: “If it’s an easy question, it doesn’t get to my desk.”
In closing, the president again thanked the troops for their work in the years since 9/11.
“What you do is vital to our way of life,” Obama said. “America is strong, and it’s strong because of all of you.”
article by David Jackson via usatoday.com