Democratic leaders rallied behind President Obama’s decision to authorize airstrikes against Islamic terrorists in Iraq, applauding him for imposing limits on military action and vowing not to send U.S. troops back into Iraq.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said early Friday that it was “appropriate that the President authorized airstrikes against [the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria] should they threaten U.S. personnel and other interests in Erbil or elsewhere in Iraq.”
“As the President reiterated, there is no American military solution to the situation in Iraq,” she said. “Defeating ISIS will require Iraq’s leaders to see beyond their divisions and come together to fight this common threat. These actions are the only way to achieve durable security and stability for all Iraqis.”
Mr. Obama’s decision to airdrop supplies to Iraqi’s trapped on mountaintops and use airstrikes against the Islamic militants, who are known as ISIS or ISIL and have recently declared themselves the Islamic State, is the most significant reengagement in Iraq since U.S. troops withdrew three years ago.
Since then, the terrorists have organized an Islamic army and captured much of the country.
Mrs. Pelosi, California Democrat, said she was “pleased by the president’s continued assurances that he will not send U.S. troops back into combat in Iraq.”
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, said he supported Mr. Obama’s “mission to act swiftly and decisively.”
“As President Obama made clear,” he said, “the ultimate resolution to this conflict will come not from United States military action but from Iraqi leaders setting aside their differences and uniting behind a new prime minister and an inclusive government.”
But others, including Republican leaders on Capitol Hill, said the military action was delayed too long and that the airstrikes should be expanded.
“The current crisis in Iraq is symptomatic of this administration’s willingness to defy the reality that terrorism is metastasizing throughout Northern Africa and the Middle East,” said House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, California Republican.
“Over the past year, the White House has been continually warned about the growing threat of this terrorist organization that is too extreme for al Qaeda. Now, ISIS has created the largest terrorist safe haven since 9/11, massacring civilians along the way, and poses a threat to the United States.”
Mr. McCaul stressed that he supported U.S. airstrikes to help protect Iraq’s Christian and Yazidi minorities and stop the advance of ISIL, and he agreed with Mr. Obama’s call for an Iraqi political solution to the crisis.
“However, more must be done to stop ISIS’s continued advances and targeted military strikes should be expanded to wherever these terrorists are training and fighting,” he said.