President Obama made an address to the nation to talk about the terrorist group known as ISIL, or ISIS, in a short address carried live across multiple networks. He spoke of the United States’ plan to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the group with help from friends and allies.
Talking about America’s ongoing strategy to take the fight to the terrorists that would threaten the nation, the President said that the greatest threats are currently coming from the Middle East and North Africa from multiple groups, one of which is ISIL.
But while ISIL calls itself the “Islamic State,” Obama reiterated that it is not in any way affiliated with or representative of the Islamic faith. “No religion condones the killing of innocents,” he said. “And the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim.”
“If left unchecked, these terrorists could pose a growing threat beyond that region — including to the United States,” Obama said. “While we have not yet detected specific plotting against our homeland, ISIL leaders have threatened America and our allies.”
The President then revealed that America is set to take the lead in “a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat” in the region. This move was predicated by Iraq establishing an inclusive government, which Obama said had been done “in recent days.”
The United States has already conducted multiple targeted air strikes in Iraq. Obama vowed to continue these airstrikes, expanding their scope to include terrorists wherever they are, including Syria. America will also send in more ground troops in support of Iraqi troops. The 475 commissioned American service members will be there in a training, intelligence and equipment support capacity.
He also asked Congress for additional authorities and resources to aid the Syrian opposition. The United States will further work to cripple ISIL financially and prevent its attacks, as well as providing humanitarian aid and assistance to innocent civilians displaced by terrorism.
President Obama did take a moment to assure the American people that this military action would be different from its previous prolonged engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan. “It will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil,” he said. “This counter-terrorism 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.”