By John Kell and Alan Murray
December 7, 2015

President Obama made a rare Sunday night address to the nation, hitting the following themes:

 

-He unambiguously called the attacks in San Bernadino “an act of terrorism,” said the war on terror is entering a new phase of less complicated attacks, and used “extremist ideology” and Muslim in the same sentence, if not the same phrase.

 

-He said “we will destroy ISIL,” but said we should not get drawn into a “long and costly ground war,” saying we will win instead “by being strong, smart, resilient and relentless.”

 

-He made a plea to avoid demonizing Muslims and Islam, saying we “must enlist Muslim communities as some of our strongest allies, rather than push them away through suspicion and hate.”

 

-He called for prohibiting people on terror watch lists from buying guns, and called for a ban on assault weapons.

 

Two quick observations:

 

-Many middle east experts believe ISIL cannot be defeated without troops on the ground. Even if the U.S. is determined to avoid any significant participation in a ground war, ruling it out weakens the message of determination.

 

-The September 11 attacks united us a nation, at least for a while. The San Bernadino attacks seem to be having the opposite effect, exacerbating the political fault lines on religion and guns.

 

More news below.

 

Alan Murray
@alansmurray
alan.murray@fortune.com

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