While Sweden’s “youth” were continuing to set portions of the country on fire and a British soldier was nearly beheaded in the streets of London amid chants of “Allahu Akbar,” President Obama was delivering an update on the nation’s war on terror. He warned that America and its allies must remain vigilant for signs of terrorism, noting that periodic attacks by local operatives would be the most likely face of extremism now that al Qaeda is on the run.

In a series of tweets, British Prime Minister David Cameron didn’t hesitate to call the machete attack that killed Lee Rigby an act of terrorism.

The United States, though, wasn’t as quick to use the “T” word. While the @barackobama and @whitehouse accounts were silent on the killing, the U.S. Embassy did condemn the attack.

The president issued an official statement reaffirming America’s alliance with Great Britain to oppose “violent extremism and terror” without specifically referring to the machete attack as terrorism.


I condemn in the strongest terms the appalling attack against a British service member in Woolwich on May 22. The United States stands resolute with the United Kingdom, our ally and friend, against violent extremism and terror. There can be absolutely no justification for such acts, and our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the victim, the police and security services responding to this horrific act and the communities they serve, and the British people. Our special relationship with the United Kingdom is especially important during times of trial, and I look forward to my trip to the United Kingdom to participate in the June G-8 Summit, hosted by Prime Minister Cameron, which will include discussions on the important global security challenges our countries face together.