Speaking in front of his helicopter Marine One from the White House’s South Lawn, President Obama in his first address to the nation following the taking of Mosul and Tikrik by Sunni militant fighters, stated that the United States “will not be sending U.S. troops back into combat in Iraq.” Obama did say that he was reviewing possible responses to stem the advances of fighters looking to both threaten the government of Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and establish a new caliphate.
Thousands of Iraqi security service personnel have abandoned their posts, uniforms and weapons during attacks on major Iraqi cities by fighters of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS.
Obama pointed out that unless Iraq rights its own ship, short-term military assistance from the U.S. wouldn’t help much stating that “this is not going to happen overnight.
Not surprisingly, the GOP critics took to the airwaves to criticize Obama’s troop withdraw in 2011, sighting a security vacuüm left behind by the President.
The United States spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $17 billion to arm and train the Iraqi Security Services but Obama noted that Iraqi troops weren’t “willing to stand and fight” against the militant attackers, calling it a “problem in terms of morale.”
“We have already taken some immediate steps, including providing enhanced aerial surveillance support to assist the Iraqis in this fight,” said Secretary of State John Kerry at a London conference. “We have also ramped up shipments of military aid to Iraq since the beginning of the year.”
John McCain and Obama administration critics ask to consider airstrikes
Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, a war veteran and critic of Obama administration policy in Iraq, told CNN on Friday that air strikes “are certainly something that should be considered, but I would point out that air strikes are not easy.” I bit of an understatement from a war (hawk) who can’t fly without crashing. That’s not to take away from his service as much as to point out that he once crashed his plane into power lines in Florida while reportedly hung over.
“You just don’t say, ‘hey, let’s go hit something,'” said McCain, who lost to Obama in the 2008 presidential election. “It requires coordination, it requires intelligence; it requires a whole lot of things.” Presumably that would include good pilots.
The aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush is presently moving into the Gulf just a day after its namesake celebrated his 90th birthday to afford the President more options if the U.S. begins airstrikes.