I N his impressive speech on Thursday at the National Defense University President Obama spoke comprehensively about future counter terrorism policies in anticipation of the day when America will no longer be on a war footing for the first time since September 2001. As predicted in this space yesterday his main topic was changes in the use and control of unmanned drone aircraft but he also dealt openly with his failure to keep his promise in 2008 to close Guantanamo Bay and outlined plans to do so with due legal process as soon as possible. “Neither I, nor any president, can promise the total defeat of terror,“ he said, “but Americans must face the challenge of dismantlng terrorist networks that pose a direct threat to the United States, all the while maintaining the freedoms and ideals that we defend.” Although not everyone will agree with everything that the President said in an hour-long speech there will probably be general agreement that no other US president has been as open in detailing the pros and cons of his policies and in explaining how he reached his decisions. The speech which was shown in full on US TV required close attention but there were also moments of relief when a persistent protestor interrupted the president on the subject of Guantanamo Bay and he responded in a good-natured defence of his position.