Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Presidential Address on ISIS



Per NY Times:

WASHINGTON — President Obama on Wednesday authorized a major expansion of the military campaign against rampaging Sunni militants in the Middle East, including American airstrikes in Syria and the deployment of 475 more military advisers to Iraq. But he sought to dispel fears that the United States was embarking on a repeat of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In a speech to the nation from the State Floor of the White House, Mr. Obama said the United States was recruiting a global coalition to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the militants, known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. He warned that “eradicating a cancer” like ISIS was a long-term challenge that would put some American troops at risk.
“We will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are,” Mr. Obama declared in a 14-minute address. “That means I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq,” he added, using an alternative name for ISIS. “This is a core principle of my presidency: If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.”
The president drew a distinction between the military action he was ordering and the two wars begun by his predecessor, George W. Bush. He likened this campaign to the selective airstrikes that the United States has carried out for years against suspected terrorists in Yemen and Somalia, few of which have been made public.
After enduring harsh criticism for saying two weeks ago that he did not have a strategy for dealing with ISIS in Syria, Mr. Obama outlined a plan that will bolster American training and arming of moderate Syrian rebels to fight the militants. Saudi Arabia has agreed to provide a base for the training of those forces.
Mr. Obama called on Congress to authorize the plan to train and equip the rebels — something the Central Intelligence Agency has been doing covertly and on a much smaller scale — but he asserted his authority as commander in chief to expand the overall campaign, which will bring the number of American troops in Iraq to 1,600.
“These American forces will not have a combat mission; we will not get dragged into another ground war in Iraq,” Mr. Obama pledged, adding that the mission “will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; it will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil.”
For all of Mr. Obama’s efforts to reassure the public, his remarks were a stark acknowledgment of the threat posed by the militants, whose lightning advance through Iraq and Syria and videotaped beheading of two American journalists have reignited fears of radical Islamic terrorism.
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