As he headed out for a two-week vacation Saturday, President Obama told Americans that the U.S. military could face more fighting against Islamist terrorists in Iraq.
"We have Americans serving across Iraq, including our embassy in Baghdad, and we'll do whatever is needed to protect our people," Mr. Obama said in his weekly address.
He spoke about Iraq later Saturday morning from the White House.
On the president's orders, U.S. war planes began bombing terrorist positions in northern Iraq Friday to protect American personnel in the town of Erbil.
"I made it clear that if they attempted to advance further, our military would respond with targeted strikes," Mr. Obama said. "That's what we've done. And, if necessary, that's what we will continue to do."
Mr. Obama also has ordered U.S. military planes to fly humanitarian missions to drop food and other supplies to ethnic minority Iraqis trapped on a mountain by the advancing militants.
The president, who has already sent hundreds of military advisers to Iraq to help Baghdad fight the militants, tried to reassure Americans that he's not committing to another ground war in Iraq.
"As Commander-in-Chief, I will not allow the United States to be dragged into fighting another war in Iraq," he said. "American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq, because there's no American military solution to the larger crisis there."
Despite the crisis, Mr. Obama was flying Saturday morning to Martha's Vineyard, Mass., for a two-week vacation where he'll also attend a Democratic fundraiser. Republicans called on Mr. Obama and Democrats to cancel the event.
"Our country's foreign policy is in shambles," said Brad Dayspring, spokesman for the Senate Republican's campaign committee. "We are facing so many security crises, yet President Obama's instinct is to head to Martha's Vineyard to fundraise for Democrats. It is outrageous and is unacceptable."
He added, "As our country faces one crisis after another, the Obama Administration and Senate Democrats are spectators from multimillion dollar vacation homes and yachts in Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. If the president and Senate Democratic candidates have an ounce of leadership or integrity, they will cancel this fundraiser and focus on the issues at hand."
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