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Obama to narrow focus of the war on terrorism

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WASHINGTON — Nearly a dozen years after the hijackings that transformed America, President Obama on Thursday said it was time to narrow the scope of the grinding battle against terrorists and begin the transition to a day when the country will no longer be on a war footing.

Declaring that ‘‘America is at a crossroads,’’ the president called for redefining what has been a global war into a more targeted assault on terrorist groups threatening the United States. As part of a realignment of counterterrorism policy, he said he would curtail the use of drones, recommit to closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and seek new limits on his own war power.

In a much-anticipated speech at the National Defense University, Obama sought to turn the page on the era that began Sept. 11, 2001, when the imperative of preventing terrorist attacks became both the priority and the preoccupation.

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