Obama Weekly Address: Targeted Strikes, Humanitarian Relief In Iraq


This week, with Iraq in full meltdown, Mr. Obama addresses the issues, to a small degree

(White House) This week, I authorized two operations in Iraq. First, I directed our military to take action to protect our American diplomats and military advisors serving in the city of Erbil. In recent days, terrorist forces neared the city. Thursday night, I made it clear that if they attempted to advance further, our military would respond with targeted strikes. That’s what we’ve done. And, if necessary, that’s what we will continue to do. We have Americans serving across Iraq, including our embassy in Baghdad, and we’ll do whatever is needed to protect our people.

Second, we’ve begun a humanitarian effort to help those Iraqi civilians trapped on that mountain. The terrorists that have taken over parts of Iraq have been especially brutal to religious minorities–rounding up families, executing men, enslaving women, and threatening the systematic destruction of an entire religious community, which would be genocide.

The thousands–perhaps tens of thousands–of Iraqi men, women and children who fled to that mountain were starving and dying of thirst. The food and water we airdropped will help them survive. I’ve also approved targeted American airstrikes to help Iraqi forces break the siege and rescue these families. Earlier this week, one anguished Iraqi in this area cried to the world, “There is no one coming to help.” Today, America is helping.

This is one of those rare instances where I agree with his actions, though I might have recommended less use of “I”, more use of language about “we”. But, that’s Obama. While it’s tragic that Iraq is being lost after all the blood spilled by Americans since 2003, do we really want to re-engage in a ground war? Sadly, though, Obama doesn’t mention that a good chunk of the people who fled to the mountains are Christians looking to escape the radical Islamic terrorist group ISIS. He just says “religious minorities”.

The United States cannot and should not intervene every time there’s a crisis in the world. But when there’s a situation like the one on this mountain–when countless innocent people are facing a massacre, and when we have the ability to help prevent it–the United States can’t just look away. That’s not who we are. We’re Americans. We act. We lead. And that’s what we’re going to do on that mountain. As one American who wrote to me yesterday said, “it is the right thing to do.”

He’s right, and this is something Conservatives have been saying for 20 years. We can’t do something about everything.

As Commander-in-Chief, I will not allow the United States to be dragged into fighting another war in Iraq. American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq, because there’s no American military solution to the larger crisis there.

Again, I don’t want to slam him, as he is attempting to do something, but one has to wonder what ISIS will think we they hear that there is no way ground troops will be used. The proper solution is that the Iraqi military fight hard to defeat ISIS. That’s not happening. One thing Mr. Obama has to consider is what losing Iraq and seeing it turn into a hardcore Islamic state will do to the region.

What we will do is continue our broader strategy in Iraq. We will protect our citizens. We will work with the international community to address this humanitarian crisis. We’ll help prevent these terrorists from having a permanent safe haven from which to attack America. And we’ll continue to urge Iraqi communities to reconcile, come together and fight back against these terrorists so the people of Iraq have the opportunity for a better future–the opportunity for which so many Americans gave their lives in Iraq in a long and hard war.

Can we prevent ISIS from having a permanent safe haven with just air strikes? The way they are going, they will soon control a huge chunk of Iraq. Will Obama sit back and watch this happen? How’s Libya doing? What’s going on with Syria? Mary Katherine Hamm asks whether Obama will finally lead on this issue. I do not think that will be necessary, because Obama is not going to fully engage on the issue, and will not use troops on the ground. There will be no plan.

That said, the Washington Post editorial board is not impressed

PRESIDENT OBAMA was right to order military action to prevent a potential genocide in northern Iraq and to stop forces of the al-Qaeda-derived Islamic State from advancing on Baghdad or the Kurdish capital of Irbil. However, the steps the president authorized on Thursday amount to more of his administration’s half-measures, narrowly tailored to this week’s emergency and unconnected to any coherent strategy to address the conflagration spreading across the Middle East.

While U.S. airstrikes and drops of supplies may prevent the terrorist forces from massacring the Yazidi sect or toppling the pro-Western regime in Kurdistan, Mr. Obama lacks a plausible plan for addressing the larger threat posed by the Islamic State. In recent weeks, senior U.S. officials have described the danger in hair-curling terms: The Islamic State forces, which have captured large numbers of U.S.-supplied heavy weapons, threaten not only the Iraqi and Kurdish governments, but also Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan. With hundreds of Western recruits, they have the ambition and capability to launch attacks against targets in Europe and the United States.

Interestingly, they are calling for broader military support. They also note, in different words, that Obama really doesn’t seem to have policies, just half-assed responses to Things That Occur.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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