The President’s Statement on Iraq

• • •

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.


97 Responses to “The President’s Statement on Iraq”

  1. 1 jacquelineoboomer
    August 7, 2014 at 11:12 pm


  2. August 7, 2014 at 11:12 pm

    Military action to save lives. What a concept.

  3. 13 amk for obama
    August 7, 2014 at 11:15 pm

  4. August 7, 2014 at 11:16 pm

    And remember, Clinton had to be dragged in by Blair to intervene in Bosnia. PBO knows the right thing.

  5. 22 vcprezofan2
    August 7, 2014 at 11:18 pm

    Cool slide in, JO’B.

  6. August 7, 2014 at 11:20 pm

    thanks for posting this. Its worth reading over again.

  7. August 7, 2014 at 11:21 pm

    I’m getting too riled up….I will sleep better knowing who sits in the Oval Office… GN TOD


    • 29 jacquelineoboomer
      August 7, 2014 at 11:34 pm

    • August 8, 2014 at 12:30 am


      I usually enjoy @maevereston’s articles but is she blaming PBO’s vacations for hurricanes and earthquakes?

      I think there was some crisis brewing during every one of PBO’s vacations in his first term (mostly GOP-manufactured) — MSM doesn’t need to equate natural disasters with a few days of R&R for PBO. What about GWBush and his vacation during the entire month of August before September 11th — that seems more relevant than hurricanes and earthquake.

      I guess the new meme will be to blame President Obama for the two Hawaii hurricanes (forgetting for a moment that he was born in Kenya <– snark).

  8. August 7, 2014 at 11:26 pm

  9. August 7, 2014 at 11:28 pm

    I may be dead now.

  10. 33 jacquelineoboomer
    August 7, 2014 at 11:28 pm

    Bear with me! Just a few other references to our Defense Department “humanitarian” strategy and missions, around the globe, around the clock.

    “Tankers are the lifeblood of our joint force’s ability to respond to crisis and contingencies,” said Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark A. Welsh III. “The Pegasus will be capable of day and night operations and enable a rapid, global capability that will support U.S., joint, allied and coalition forces. The aircraft will also underpin our humanitarian missions.”


    Pacific Partnership 2012 will take medical, dental, veterinary, engineering and civic assistance projects to Southeast Asia and Oceania. It builds on relationships developed during previous missions, officials said, noting Mercy’s participation in international relief efforts following the December 2004 tsunami that struck Southeast Asia and its 2006, 2008 and 2010 humanitarian and civic assistance deployments to the region.

    Pacific Partnership 2012 is led by three element commanders: Navy Capt. James Morgan, mission commander for Pacific Partnership 2012 and commander of San Diego-based Destroyer Squadron 7; Navy Capt. Timothy Hinman, commander of the medical treatment facility, who is responsible for the hospital and providing medical care aboard Mercy and ashore; and Capt. Jonathan Olmsted, Mercy’s civil service master who has overall responsibility for the ship and the safety of its nearly 1,000 passengers.

    “Having participated in Pacific Partnership 2009, I know firsthand what an impact we have on the local populations we visit,” Olmsted said. “In building these relationships, we’ll have a better understanding of how multiple militaries and civilian organizations can work together to overcome the adversity of a natural disaster.”


    Another chapter comes to a close today aboard the USNS Comfort when it docks at Norfolk, Va., after five months at sea supporting the Continuing Promise 2011 humanitarian assistance mission.

    The hulking hospital ship — three football fields long and one wide — delivered medical, dental, veterinary and engineering assistance in the Caribbean Basin, Central America and South America.

    “First and foremost [the mission] demonstrates the United States’ commitment to the Caribbean Basin and Central and South America,” Navy Capt. Brian Nickerson, Continuing Promise mission commander, said.

    The deployed hospital ship was there for humanitarian assistance, but also to support U.S. defense strategy in the region.


  11. 34 amk for obama
    August 7, 2014 at 11:29 pm

  12. August 7, 2014 at 11:30 pm

    Is this really Noah?

    The age is about right.

  13. 47 amk for obama
    August 7, 2014 at 11:32 pm

  14. 48 amk for obama
    August 7, 2014 at 11:34 pm

    Just hope nut n yahoo doesn’t get away with these murders. Strange the fellow ME nations are so silent on this.

    • 49 vcprezofan2
      August 8, 2014 at 12:11 am

      Israel’s Fake Victory [taken from above link]


      The commentators vie with one another to spew the most words about how Hamas is on the ropes, but the truth is quite different. Its leaders, who are now meant to crawl out of their burrows, view the destruction sown by Israel and wave the white flag, are indeed emerging to a different Gaza. It was destroyed in a month, but most of the bill will be submitted to Israel, which will be forced to pay it. We’re not talking only about the worldwide wave of enmity against it, but also about one more generation of Gazans who will retain forever the shocking memories of death and destruction and grow up in an atmosphere of terrible (and justified) hatred. An Israeli victory? Very doubtful.

      The national chorus has obscured the fact that Israel acceded to Hamas’ demand for the IDF’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, as a condition for agreeing to the cease-fire. It also ignores the fact that in the wake of the war, Israel is suddenly willing to talk to representatives of the Palestinian unity government. Is that not a Hamas success? The chorus chuckles now over Hamas’ demand for a seaport and an airport. Unfortunately, Gaza will presumably not get its (justifiable) wish on this matter. But to laugh?
      ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,(snip) ……………….

      We salute you,” and “Thanks to the brave fighters,” as some headlines crowed on Wednesday? Yes and no. Thanks for your sacrifice and bravery, no thanks for the death and destruction you sowed. Around 1,900 dead, including about 700 women and children, around 10,000 injured, 30,000 homes damaged and a half a million displaced persons, most of them now homeless, are numbers not of pride, but of shame. As for those responsible, the chorus cannot get them wrong. Hail, hail, Israel.


  15. August 7, 2014 at 11:37 pm

  16. 53 amk for obama
    August 7, 2014 at 11:38 pm

    What’s this about? Bear with me for a minute, because there’s a reason this one isn’t lighting up TV screens or Twitter. It’s important, but it’s also kind of technical. The order, called Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces, does two things. It requires companies bidding for federal contracts worth more than $500,000 to make previous violations of labor law public, if they have any to report. That’s a shaming device that the administration hopes will push companies to settle back wage claims and nudge them toward better behavior in the future.

    The second part of the order is what Bland is so excited about. This provision says that companies with federal contracts worth more than $1 million can no longer force their employees out of court, and into arbitration, to settle accusations of workplace discrimination. “Here’s why this is so important,” Bland said when I asked him to explain. “For the last 20 years, the Supreme Court has been encouraging employers to force their workers into a system of arbitration that has been badly rigged against the workers. And so this order will result in millions of employees having their rights restored to them.”

  17. August 7, 2014 at 11:38 pm

    • 55 vcprezofan2
      August 8, 2014 at 12:32 am

      So, I’m reading this supposed real world (vs DannyWorld) tweet from directly above and come to the last word. My brain scrambles…

      ‘Thank you,you,you…’ – no doesn’t compute.
      ‘Tee 5 Ys run ….’ nah, no sense
      ‘Try…Tyyyy.. run…tee one..’ what the heck?

      “Tie ,yyy….RUNT!

      Aaahhhhhhhhhh. ‘TYRANT!’

      /disgusted/ What was this a DannyO pop quiz?/ Chips, why couldn’t you have. just. written. ‘T-Y-R-A-N-T’ and save me some brain cells? 🙄 🙄

  18. August 7, 2014 at 11:39 pm

    What a tremendous statement….”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.

    BRAVOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Mr President….Bravoooooooo

  19. August 7, 2014 at 11:43 pm

    Courtesy of LP in previous thread:

  20. 58 amk for obama
    August 7, 2014 at 11:44 pm

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic


  21. August 7, 2014 at 11:49 pm

    All right, gentles all. I’ve stopped drinking, but my 3 Manhattans are hieing me to lay down. See everyone tomorrow.

  22. August 7, 2014 at 11:50 pm

    I posted this three or four threads ago (Fast and Furious has nothing on TOD), but now that things have settled down a bit, thought I’d repeat myself about a movie that’s opening tomorrow.

    Might be of interest to @metaquest and @amk4obama and others in TODville…

    Saw a preview of this on an NBC show I watched on the Internet (alas, the volume was muted) but I liked what I saw — reminded me of a Merchant and Ivory film, a production company that I sorely miss.

  23. 65 africa
    August 7, 2014 at 11:54 pm

  24. 70 amk for obama
    August 8, 2014 at 12:26 am

    our rw governing party has launched a ‘movement’ to ‘convert’ christians and muslims to hindus.

    just what we really wanted. juuuust great.

  25. 72 jacquelineoboomer
    August 8, 2014 at 12:34 am

    That’s the spirit, Hawaii. Their primary election is Saturday, and it will be held – 20 of the 27 hurricane shelters will serve as polls for the election. (I think I heard the nice Democratic governor’s on the ballot for re-election.)

    • August 8, 2014 at 12:46 am

      Love their laid-back, inclusive culture.

      Of all the stupid things that the Tundra Twit has said, I think what floored me most was that she didn’t like the University of Hawaii because “there were too many Asians.” That’s like going to University in Germany and complaining there are too many Europeans.

      Haven’t heard too many people complain about the beautiful people on the beaches there, regardless of the ancestry of the hunks and hunkstresses.

  26. August 8, 2014 at 12:35 am

  27. 76 amk for obama
    August 8, 2014 at 12:37 am

  28. August 8, 2014 at 12:38 am

    Peering in, bowing out. One good thing about having to watch television for work is our local station showed the entire announcement by PBO, so I got to see him, and I liked that, tho somber was the news. (the rest of the news totally sucked). Television is so exhausting, small wonder there are so many weird physical ailments in this country. Goodnight, TOD, sweet dreams, big hugs all around. And bobfr, well done earlier, I applaud your dedication to intelligence and integrity. Bye y’all!

  29. August 8, 2014 at 12:39 am

  30. August 8, 2014 at 12:41 am


    Does this mean that @jaketapper keeps tabs on what’s being said about the DC echo-chamber on blogs?

  31. 81 Alycee (@jazziz2)
    August 8, 2014 at 12:49 am

    Been out all day, don’t know if this has been posted…

  32. 82 jacquelineoboomer
    August 8, 2014 at 12:55 am

    Goodnight, everyone. Or should I say “TOD folks.” Prayers for Hawaii!

    • 83 vcprezofan2
      August 8, 2014 at 1:05 am

      Good Night, JO’B.; sleep well! I really didn’t realize it was so late so I’m heading out the door. Bye! /waving fingers

  33. August 8, 2014 at 1:12 am

    #TrustBarack … He earns it every day ….

    good night TOD

  34. 85 taiping1
    August 8, 2014 at 1:17 am

    An upper: why we care. Why the President’s action to prevent genocide matters.

  35. August 8, 2014 at 2:15 am

    Bibi and Hamas are truly soul mates ….

  36. 90 vcprezofan2
    August 8, 2014 at 7:30 am

    • 91 vcprezofan2
      August 8, 2014 at 7:32 am

      Hmmmm. Where did you all go, and why aren’t you back yet? I am.

      • 92 vcprezofan2
        August 8, 2014 at 7:35 am

        Come on! Wake up! Wake UP! It’s FRI.day!

        CHiiiiiiiiips!!!1 Get up!

        Alma-b, don’t tell me you’ve gone to bed already!

        COS! COS, you here?

        99TS? ?

        Roberta! Roberta! Fine, I’ll go back to my book or something since nobody wants to play with me! 😦

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