Obama: I Won't Hesitate to Hit ISIS in Syria

President says US-led coalition will go after militants 'wherever they exist'
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 10, 2014 6:11 PM CDT
Updated Sep 10, 2014 8:15 PM CDT
Obama Opens Door to Airstrikes in Syria
President Obama addresses the nation from the White House.   (AP Photo/Saul Loeb, Pool)

In a prime-time address tonight, President Obama laid out the US strategy to "degrade" and "destroy" ISIS, and he made clear that he's ready to expand US airstrikes from Iraq into Syria. The president says a US-led coalition will go after militants from the Islamic State "wherever they exist," adding that he "won't hesitate" to order strikes in Syria if necessary. Here are excerpts, in which he refers to the group by the alternate name of ISIL, via CNN and the Washington Post:

  • "So tonight, with a new Iraqi government in place, and following consultations with allies abroad and Congress at home, I can announce that America will lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat. Our objective is clear: We will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counterterrorism strategy."
  • "If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven."
  • ISIS "is not Islamic. ... It is a terrorist organization pure and simple."
  • The US is meeting the threats posed by the group "with strength and resolve."

  • “I want the American people to understand how this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil. This counterterrorism 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. This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years."
  • He said 475 more US service members will go to Iraq, but "they will not have a combat mission." (He also noted that John Kerry is already in the country to work with the new government on the anti-ISIS coalition.)
Based on recent polls, the president won't have a hard sell in convincing Americans that military action against ISIS is necessary. (Read more President Obama stories.)

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