During an update on the situation in Iraq, President Obama had a message for Republicans who are calling for a return to war. The president repeated that there is no U.S. military solution for Iraq’s problems.
The president said:
Over the past few days, American forces have successfully conducted targeted airstrikes to prevent terrorist forces from advancing on the city of Erbil, and to protect American civilians there. Kurdish forces on the ground continue to defend their city, and we’ve stepped up military advice and assistance to Iraqi and Kurdish forces as they wage the fight against ISIL.
At the same time, we’ve continued our daily humanitarian efforts to provide life-saving assistance to the men, women and children stranded on Mount Sinjar, and deployed a USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team to help. Some have begun to escape their perch on that mountain, and we’re working with international partners to develop options to bring them to safety. I want to thank in particular the United Kingdom, France, and other countries working with us to provide much needed assistance to the Iraqi people. And, meanwhile, our aircraft remain positioned to strike any terrorist forces around the mountain who threaten the safety of these families.
This advances the limited military objectives we’ve outlined in Iraq: protecting American citizens, providing advice and assistance to Iraqi forces as they battle these terrorists, and joining with international partners to provide humanitarian aid. But as I said when I authorized these operations, there is no American military solution to the larger crisis in Iraq. The only lasting solution is for Iraqis to come together and form an inclusive government — one that represents the legitimate interests of all Iraqis, and one that can unify the country’s fight against ISIL.
Today, Iraq took a promising step forward in this critical effort. Last month, the Iraqi people named a new President. Today, President Masum named a new Prime Minister designate, Dr. Haider al-Abadi. Under the Iraqi constitution, this is an important step towards forming a new government that can unite Iraq’s different communities….
President Obama squashed the Republican chorus that is calling for more U.S. military involvement in Iraq. John McCain, Lindsey Graham and other Republicans went on national television to call for a return to the war in Iraq as a matter of national security. Sen. Graham (R-SC) went so far as to claim that an American city would burn if Obama did not come with a stronger military response.
Obama’s answer was a firm restatement of his belief that there is no U.S. military solution in Iraq and that peace has to be arrived at through Iraqis coming together to solve their own problems. The failure of the Bush administration’s plan to spread democracy in the Middle East one war at a time proves that peace and democracy can only flourish when the majority decide that they are committed to these outcomes.
The ISIL threat grew out of the weakness of the Iraqi government. Terrorist groups flourish in nation’s with weak centralized governments. For Iraq to be strong, it must have a government that represents all of the people. Terror threats must be fought and dealt with, but the long-term battle within Iraq must be resolved by the Iraqi people. Obama delivered a strong message to the Republican warmongers that the United States will not be returning to with boots on the ground in Iraq.