Thursday, August 7, 2014

President Obama: Authorizes 'Targeted' Air Strikes in Iraq , ...Help is Coming!

President Obama last night conditionally authorized the U.S. military to launch targeted airstrikes if needed to protect Americans or refugees from Islamic terrorists in northern Iraq, threatening to expand U.S. military involvement in the country’s long sectarian war beyond the advisers already sent there.

“Today America is coming to help,” Obama said in a late-night statement from the White House. He also said the U.S. military had carried out airdrops of humanitarian aid to Iraqi religious minorities under siege by the extremists.

Obama withdrew U.S. troops in 2011 after failing to negotiate a deal to keep a troop presence there, which has been cited as one of the reasons the Islamic State in Iraq was able to gain a foothold. Obama, saying the prospect of a new round of U.S. military action would be a cause for concern among many Americans, vowed not to put U.S. combat troops back on the ground in Iraq and said there was no U.S. military solution to the crisis.

“As commander in chief, I will not allow the United States to be drawn into fighting another war in Iraq,” Obama said.

Obama outlined a rationale for airstrikes if the Islamic State militants advance on American troops in the northern city of Irbil and the U.S. consulate there. The troops were sent to Iraq earlier this year as part of the White House response to the extremist group’s swift movement across the border with Syria and into Iraq.

“When the lives of American citizens are at risk, we will take action,” Obama said. “That’s my responsibility as commander in chief.”

Noting the threat to Iraqi minorities, he said, “I’ve therefore authorized targeted airstrikes, if necessary, to help forces in Iraq as they fight to break the siege on Mount Sinjar and protect the civilians trapped there,” Obama said. “Earlier in the week an Iraqi cried to the world, ‘There is no one coming to help.’ Well today, America is coming to help. We are also consulting with other countries and the United Nations, who have called for action to address this humanitarian crisis.”

Obama said humanitarian airdrops are being made at the request of the Iraqi government. The food and water supplies were delivered to the tens of thousands of Yazidis trapped on a mountain without food and water. The Yazidis, who follow an ancient religion with ties to Zoroastrianism, fled their homes after the Islamic State group issued an ultimatum to convert to Islam, pay a religious fine, flee their homes or face death.

A terrorism expert welcomed the threat of airstrikes, telling the Herald that the Islamic radicals — now threatening the slaughter of a religious minority besieged on an Iraqi mountain top — should “look to the sky with fear.”

John Pike of said ISIS terrorists have run roughshod over the “pathetic” Iraqi military, while Kurdish troops are spread thin.

“I can’t think of anyone who is more in need of getting blown up. I think we need to bomb them early and bomb them often because they are a problem and they’re only going to be a bigger problem the longer we let them go,” Pike said.

He said ISIS is growing bolder with each military victory.

“A good place to start would be to put a hellfire missile on every SUV flying one of those black flags,” he said. “They’re not exactly hiding. We should make them hide. They should look to the sky with fear.”

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