President Authorizes Air Strikes Against ISIS, Aid Drops to Their Victims

Obama portrait crop

America is bombing ISIS strongholds and dropping food and water to trapped civilians.

President Obama assures us this is a limited engagement.

I am relieved we’re doing something. Our unnecessary war against Iraq early in this century set the events in motion that have ended in a genocide. We made this mess, and we can not stand around and watch and do nothing.

At the same time, the question arises: Why can’t the Iraqi military protect Iraqi citizens? The President said that he was also sending aid to the Iraqi military. I wonder if the problem is more fundamental than a need for aid.

If you watch the video I posted yesterday all the way to the end, you will see a member of the Iraqi parliament openly saying that members of that parliament have contributed to ISIS’ destruction of their country by supporting them.

How many people in the Iraqi military are also aiding and abetting ISIS against their own government? Treason doesn’t seem to mean the same thing in certain parts of the world that it does here in America. From Nigeria to Iraq, treason seems to be a way of life for members of the military.

We’ve got to stop this genocide. There are many reasons why we must do this, but the first and most salient is simply that we pulled the Saddam Hussein stopper out of the bottle and let the genocidal genie loose.

Here is  a video of President Obama’s statement. The transcription of the statement is below that.

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The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

Statement by the President

State Dining Room

9:30 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Good evening.  Today I authorized two operations in Iraq — targeted airstrikes to protect our American personnel, and a humanitarian effort to help save thousands of Iraqi civilians who are trapped on a mountain without food and water and facing almost certain death.  Let me explain the actions we’re taking and why.

First, I said in June — as the terrorist group ISIL began an advance across Iraq — that the United States would be prepared to take targeted military action in Iraq if and when we determined that the situation required it.  In recent days, these terrorists have continued to move across Iraq, and have neared the city of Erbil, where American diplomats and civilians serve at our consulate and American military personnel advise Iraqi forces.

To stop the advance on Erbil, I’ve directed our military to take targeted strikes against ISIL terrorist convoys should they move toward the city.  We intend to stay vigilant, and take action if these terrorist forces threaten our personnel or facilities anywhere in Iraq, including our consulate in Erbil and our embassy in Baghdad.  We’re also providing urgent assistance to Iraqi government and Kurdish forces so they can more effectively wage the fight against ISIL.

Second, at the request of the Iraqi government — we’ve begun operations to help save Iraqi civilians stranded on the mountain.  As ISIL has marched across Iraq, it has waged a ruthless campaign against innocent Iraqis.  And these terrorists have been especially barbaric towards religious minorities, including Christian and Yezidis, a small and ancient religious sect.  Countless Iraqis have been displaced.  And chilling reports describe ISIL militants rounding up families, conducting mass executions, and enslaving Yezidi women.

In recent days, Yezidi women, men and children from the area of Sinjar have fled for their lives.  And thousands — perhaps tens of thousands — are now hiding high up on the mountain, with little but the clothes on their backs.  They’re without food, they’re without water.  People are starving.  And children are dying of thirst.  Meanwhile, ISIL forces below have called for the systematic destruction of the entire Yezidi people, which would constitute genocide.  So these innocent families are faced with a horrible choice:  descend the mountain and be slaughtered, or stay and slowly die of thirst and hunger.

I’ve said before, the United States cannot and should not intervene every time there’s a crisis in the world.  So let me be clear about why we must act, and act now.  When we face a situation like we do on that mountain — with innocent people facing the prospect of violence on a horrific scale, when we have a mandate to help — in this case, a request from the Iraqi government — and when we have the unique capabilities to help avert a massacre, then I believe the United States of America cannot turn a blind eye.  We can act, carefully and responsibly, to prevent a potential act of genocide.  That’s what we’re doing on that mountain.

I’ve, therefore, authorized targeted airstrikes, if necessary, to help forces in Iraq as they fight to break the siege of Mount Sinjar and protect the civilians trapped there.  Already, American aircraft have begun conducting humanitarian airdrops of food and water to help these desperate men, women and children survive.  Earlier this week, one Iraqi in the area cried to the world, “There is no one coming to help.”  Well today, America is coming to help.  We’re also consulting with other countries — and the United Nations — who have called for action to address this humanitarian crisis.

I know that many of you are rightly concerned about any American military action in Iraq, even limited strikes like these.  I understand that.  I ran for this office in part to end our war in Iraq and welcome our troops home, and that’s what we’ve done.  As Commander-in-Chief, I will not allow the United States to be dragged into fighting another war in Iraq.  And so even as we support Iraqis as they take the fight to these terrorists, American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq, because there’s no American military solution to the larger crisis in Iraq.  The only lasting solution is reconciliation among Iraqi communities and stronger Iraqi security forces.

However, we can and should support moderate forces who can bring stability to Iraq.  So even as we carry out these two missions, we will continue to pursue a broader strategy that empowers Iraqis to confront this crisis.  Iraqi leaders need to come together and forge a new government that represents the legitimate interests of all Iraqis, and that can fight back against the threats like ISIL.  Iraqis have named a new President, a new Speaker of Parliament, and are seeking consensus on a new Prime Minister.  This is the progress that needs to continue in order to reverse the momentum of the terrorists who prey on Iraq’s divisions.

Once Iraq has a new government, the United States will work with it and other countries in the region to provide increased support to deal with this humanitarian crisis and counterterrorism challenge.  None of Iraq’s neighbors have an interest in this terrible suffering or instability.

And so we’ll continue to work with our friends and allies to help refugees get the shelter and food and water they so desperately need, and to help Iraqis push back against ISIL.  The several hundred American advisors that I ordered to Iraq will continue to assess what more we can do to help train, advise and support Iraqi forces going forward.  And just as I consulted Congress on the decisions I made today, we will continue to do so going forward.

My fellow Americans, the world is confronted by many challenges.  And while America has never been able to right every wrong, America has made the world a more secure and prosperous place.  And our leadership is necessary to underwrite the global security and prosperity that our children and our grandchildren will depend upon.  We do so by adhering to a set of core principles.  We do whatever is necessary to protect our people.  We support our allies when they’re in danger.  We lead coalitions of countries to uphold international norms.  And we strive to stay true to the fundamental values — the desire to live with basic freedom and dignity — that is common to human beings wherever they are.  That’s why people all over the world look to the United States of America to lead.  And that’s why we do it.

So let me close by assuring you that there is no decision that I take more seriously than the use of military force.  Over the last several years, we have brought the vast majority of our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan.  And I’ve been careful to resist calls to turn time and again to our military, because America has other tools in our arsenal than our military.  We can also lead with the power of our diplomacy, our economy, and our ideals.

But when the lives of American citizens are at risk, we will take action.  That’s my responsibility as Commander-in-Chief.  And when many thousands of innocent civilians are faced with the danger of being wiped out, and we have the capacity to do something about it, we will take action.  That is our responsibility as Americans.  That’s a hallmark of American leadership.  That’s who we are.

So tonight, we give thanks to our men and women in uniform  -— especially our brave pilots and crews over Iraq who are protecting our fellow Americans and saving the lives of so many men, women and children that they will never meet.  They represent American leadership at its best.  As a nation, we should be proud of them, and of our country’s enduring commitment to uphold our own security and the dignity of our fellow human beings.

God bless our Armed Forces, and God bless the United States of America.

END
9:38 P.M. EDT

 

  • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

    President Bush Sr. said it- pottery barn rules in Iraq- you invade it, you own it. His son failed to listen.

    • AnneG

      GW Bush did not leave Iraq without a SOFA. Pres Obama sent VP Biden to negotiate the SOFA and he failed. I think that was intentional because they went around trumpeting how well everything had gone and how well Iraq was doing. They did not foresee this. They also did not foresee problems in Syria. Drawing red lines and doing nothing is disastrous policy.
      Please do not forget these facts.
      You cannot assume that if you apologize a lot and are really nice these countries will like you and you will be right. That’s been our foreign policy for the last 6 years.
      There was a reason the Western Europeans sponsored Crusades in the 11th to 13th centuries. They were not imperialistic but intended to free the Christian communities. They failed. I believe we are called to help our brothers and sisters there, who were Christians when my ancestors were sacrificing to pagan gods.
      And we are called to work for the conversion of the Muslims.

      • pagansister

        Hate to tell you, AnneG, but the Muslims who are creating all the problems aren’t going to be open to conversion.

        • AnneG

          We are not allowed to rule someone is past or unable or unworthy for conversion. That is God’s alone to do. I am called to pray for their conversion. At the same time I am very aware of frequent, habitual, regular. Muslim atrocities and violence. That’s why I pray for my brothers and sisters, and hope we send aid that’s needed for protection. That is military force.

        • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

          The logic of your answer is that we either leave them alone to murder, or we shoot at them. I agree, so far as that goes. But the conversion of Muslims as a mass will reduce the structurally large and otherwise irreducible percentage of Muslims who take the duty of war and slaughter seriously. It will also reduce the number of those whom we will be forced, sooner or later, to shoot at.

  • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

    I think you miss the point of this, perhaps because you are too good a woman to conceive of certain things, and the point is revolting. Obama did nothing whatsoever as long as the Christians were the ones being butchered. He made his media-friendly move when it was the unfortunate Yezidis – for whom I have nothing but sympathy – whose turn came. For long and bloody weeks the President allowed the slaughter and enslavement of Iraqi Christians to go on unchallenged and uncriticized; unless I am mistaken – I did not read his whole statement – he has even now said nothing whatsoever about the agonies of the Christians of Iraq and Syria. I am certain that he and his administration would contemplate the destruction of the Churches there with the same pleasure with which they have been fighting a war against the Churches in your country.

    • AnneG

      Fabio, if you read the State Dept statement, it does as you say. I think you are right. Christians are just undesirable according to some of the elite in our government and country.

  • Gordis85

    I read this morning one good piece of news:

    Thousands of Stranded Civilians Rescued on Mount Shingal

    http://rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/080820141

    I am praying for the rescue of all the innocent Christians and other minorities in that region of Iraq. I will be praying too, for those who chose to stay behind in the villages that are now under ISIS control.

    I do agree with Rebecca on the very real possibility of betrayal from within the ranks of the Iraqi government. I am glad we are helping after weeks of silence but I can’t help but think we are going in way too idealistic in thinking we are gonna kick some ISIS *** and then be outta there. These folks are in it for the long haul…the more Christian blood and Yezidis and Shiite blood they shed…the more power hungry and fanatical they will become. Having supporters worldwide only feeds their madness and killing frenzy.

    They have yet to enter Lebanon…since they have only just gotten started.

  • pagansister

    I have a feeling that it isn’t just Christians that are fleeing the area. Even those of other faiths wish to get out of Iraq.

    • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

      Pagansister, and water is wet. What is the point of stating the obvious, except to imply that there is something prejudiced and racist about being furious about Christians being butchered?

      • pagansister

        Yes, water is wet—we agree. And I’m not “implying” anything. Christians and non-Christians are being butchered and I’m just as “furious” about the killings, no matter what faith the dead happened to be.

        • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

          Thank you for that. You are way ahead of the President of the United States, then, and of the British and international mass media.

    • AnneG

      And nobody cared in Washington until some small, obscure sect came under persecution. They did not care about the slaughter of Christians.

      • pagansister

        I disagree with your last sentence.

        • AnneG

          You have a right to your opinion. I have honestly not seen one single statement from Dept of State or the White House about the Christian massacres. Not one. Maybe I just missed them.

  • hamiltonr

    I’m not arguing that Saddam was a terrible dictator. I am saying that he kept the lid of things. Do you think that what’s happening now is a big improvement?

    • AnneG

      Rebecca, things were falling apart when we finally went in there. We don’t know what would have happened if he hadn’t been deposed, but the lid was leaking already. This has been brewing for a long time. Bashir Al Assad’s father, Haffaz, was a contemporary of Saddam and there as long. Same regime is in place in Syria and look what is happening. We have no way of knowing what if, but if we had not pulled out precipitously like this administration did, we would not have this problem, regardless of the initial invasion. We quit too soon, pulled out, gloated, assumed we could tame the “rabid dog” by being nice and the dog turned into a rabid dragon. That’s what annoys me when people say, it’s all our fault. It isn’t it’s been brewing.
      Now, I will continue to pray for our brothers and sisters and for conversion of the Muslims.

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    I have no respect for this crap we have as a leader. He is no leader. He pulled out of Iraq and that started the problem. He procrastinated while ISIS built up power and now ew are behind the eigh ball looking at genocide. When will you isolationist realize we are stability in the world. Chaos is the norm without exertion of the good guys. Evil will run amock if it is not confronted. Shame on you who still support this waste of a president.

    • oregon nurse

      Isn’t ISIS part of the same rebel group that many conservatives wanted the US to back in Syria? Lot’s of people disagreed, knowing from past experience in the islamic world that our enemy’s enemy isn’t our friend. I am no apologist for Obama, I think he’s a complete failure, but in this case staying out of Syria and not arming the rebels was a very good policy as it would have only made them stronger.

      We need to help those who want to flee ISIS to get out of the region and then as far as I’m concerned a nuclear bomb would be a good next step.

      • hamiltonr

        I think they are. Been thinking about that all weekend. If we had bombed Syria, it would probably have put them in complete control.

        • oregon nurse

          Bad as dictators are, in the islamic world they seem to be a stabilizing influence that is preferable to what moves in to fill the vacuum. Both for us and for their own people. We should wise up and stop toppling their dictators. Can you imagine the horror of wahabism run amok if the Saudi Royals were unseated? Their love of oil money and westerm luxuries keep them at least partly civilized.

          • AnneG

            I understand what you are saying about dictators, but they fall eventually, all of them. It’s only a matter of time for the House of Saud. That’s what OBL wanted to do.
            St Michael the Archangel, Defend us in Battle!

        • AnneG

          According to some there were a bunch of small groups, like there were in Lebanon. As usual, the most vicious and violent climbed to the top of the pile, killing everything in their way.

      • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

        Yes. And I did advocate that. The way it came across in the media was that Assad was using chem weapons and needed to be stopped. No mention of what ISIS stood for was given. Supporting ISIS then would have been a mistake. But we’re not getting all the information. It’s up to the President to communicate and he really has not provided details on what is happening in the middle east. Have you heard the President on these issues? What’s his plan to counter these Islamic terrorists and killers? Or is his plan to leave the middle east and let it fall to chance?

        • hamiltonr

          Many time, the media confuses more than it informs.

          • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

            You got that right. The media is neither objective or accurate.

      • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

        Actually Hillary says the opposite. She says the problem was because we didn’t help ISIS in Syria. Confusing.

        http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2014/08/hillary-clinton-failure-to-help-syrian-rebels-led-to-the-rise-of-isis/375832/


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