President Obama, speaking from the State Floor in the White House, addressed the nation on the situation in Iraq and the United States’ strategy to defeating the Islamic State, the militant group formerly known as ISIS or ISIL , which includes authorizing U.S. airstrikes against the group in Syria.
“We will conduct a systematic campaign of airstrikes against these terrorists. Working with the Iraqi government, we will expand our efforts beyond protecting our own people and humanitarian missions, so that we’re hitting ISIL targets as Iraqi forces go on offense,” Obama said in remarks as prepared for delivery. “Moreover, I have made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are. That means I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq. This is a core principle of my presidency: if you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.”
“We will increase our support to forces fighting these terrorists on the ground. In June, I deployed several hundred American servicemembers to Iraq to assess how we can best support Iraqi security forces. Now that those teams have completed their work –- and Iraq has formed a government –- we will send an additional 475 servicemembers to Iraq. As I have said before, these American forces will not have a combat mission –- we will not get dragged into another ground war in Iraq. But they are needed to support Iraqi and Kurdish forces with training, intelligence and equipment. We’ll also support Iraq’s efforts to stand up National Guard Units to help Sunni communities secure their own freedom from ISIL’s control.”
Obama announced the U.S. will also “increase our support to forces fighting these terrorists on the ground,” noting the U.S. will send an additional 475 service members to Iraq to support Iraq Security Forces.
Read the President’s full address here.