President Obama announced that the United States would launch a “relentless” air campaign, co-ordinated with allied forces on the ground (though not including American ground troops) to “destroy” the Islamic State/ISIS/ISIL.
President Obama began outlining a sweeping and long-term strategy Wednesday night for combatting the threat posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, launching what could be the biggest counterterrorism campaign of his presidency.
“Tonight, I want to speak to you about what the United States will do with our friends and allies to degrade, and ultimately destroy, the terrorist group known as ISIL,” Obama said in a prime-time speech delivered from the White House.
According to prepared remarks, Obama said the offensive against the militant group will not involve combat troops but a “steady, relentless effort” through airstrikes in both countries and support for military partners on the ground.
“In a region that has known so much bloodshed, these terrorists are unique in their brutality. They execute captured prisoners. They kill children. They enslave, rape and force women into marriage,” Obama said. “They threatened a religious minority with genocide. In acts of barbarism, they took the lives of two American journalists — Jim Foley and Steven Sotloff.”Obama sought to make clear to a war-weary public that this new offensive will not resemble the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but instead will be more in the vein of other more covert missions against terrorists.
“I want the American people to understand how this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil,” Obama said.
“This counterterrorism campaign will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out ISIL wherever they exist, using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground. This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years.”
Go here for the full text of the president’s speech.