President Obama delivered that firm statement Wednesday night in a nationally televised address intended to sell increased military efforts to the American public.
The President announced a broad campaign against the Sunni jihadists who have rampaged Syria across northern Iraq.
U.S. airstrikes have been hitting the jihadists in Iraq. Those strikes will be expanded to ISIS targets in Syria, Obama said.
“I have made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are,” he said.
“That means I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq. This is a core principle of my presidency: if you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.”
The declaration answered calls from a growing number of U.S. politicians for such a step, with increasing public support.
“This was a very difficult speech for him to give,” CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger said of a president who campaigned on ending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“He’s inserted us into the middle of a Syrian civil war.”
President Obama’s address answered calls from a growing number of U.S. politicians for such a step, with increasing public support. Obama announced another 475 American military advisers would go to Iraq, moving the total figure to approximately 1,700. The President also made it clear that this strategy differs from an all-out war in Iraq.
“It will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil,” Obama said.
His address from the White House also sought to convince allies and the nation of a firm U.S. commitment to lead an international coalition to fight the jihadists who rampaged across northern Iraq from Syria this year. They are known as ISIS, ISIL and Islamic State.
Noting the formation of a new Iraqi government, which his administration has demanded, Obama announced that:
“America will lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat.”
Senior administration officials told reporters that the airstrikes will occur at the time and place of their choosing.
The exact time and nature of the airstrikes will not be specified, but carried out as targets develop.