MIAMI (CBSMiami) — In a primetime address to the nation Wednesday night, President Obama laid out his strategy for targeting the Islamic extremist group known as ISIS.
“Our objective is clear,” President Barack Obama said. “We will degrade and ultimately destroy (ISIS).”
The remarks, which lasted about 15 minutes, outlined his four-pronged approach for dealing with the terror group.
“They are unique in their brutality,” the president said. “They enslave, rape and force women into marriage… In acts of barbarism, they took the life of two American journalists, Jim Foley and Steven Sotloff.”
Steven Sotloff, a South Florida native, was one of two American journalists beheaded in recent weeks at the hands of ISIS militants.
In a previous interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, the Sotloff family spokesperson said he believes the Obama administration didn’t do enough to rescue his friend during his year in captivity.
“The administration could have done more. They could have helped us,” Sotloff’s friend Barak Barfi said. “We need to work closer with our allies. Intelligence sharing isn’t as good as it should be.”
On Wednesday, the President promised to work with other countries to defeat ISIS.
“Tonight, with a new Iraqi government in place, I can announce, America will lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorists threat,” the President said.
His plan includes authorizing expanded airstrikes against ISIS, not just in Iraq, but also, now, in Syria.
America will continue providing humanitarian relief and will send an additional 475 service members to Iraq. Those troops will not be dispatched in a combat role, but for training and support purposes.
President Obama said the U.S. will not be dragged into another ground war, but adds the country has the will to mobilize the world against terrorists.
“I have made it clear we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are,” he said. “If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.”
Local lawmakers immediately weighed in.
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL ), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, issued a statement, which said: “This group will be degraded and defeated, but it’s going to be a long-term deal. It’s going to be probably years. The United States is putting together the coalition that will go after them. The U.S. will probably put boots on the ground, but it will be more commando raids and forward air observers with others to do the actual strikes on the ground. But we have no choice. This is a vicious, diabolical group that must be stopped.”
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) wrote “Even though it’s long overdue, I support targeted airstrikes in Syria but I’m disappointed that the President is once again circumventing Congress on military action. However, President Obama can’t have it both ways – he wants Congressional approval for funds to arm and train the so called moderate rebels but won’t seek our approval to strike ISIL in Syria.”
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel released a statement, which said: “As the President made clear, American military power cannot alone eradicate the threats posed by ISIL to the United States, our allies, and our friends and partners in the region. Iraq’s continued political progress toward a more inclusive government will be critical, as will our coalition’s use of all instruments of power — military, law enforcement, economic, diplomatic, intelligence, and humanitarian assistance — in coordination with countries in the region.”
President Obama will chair the meeting of the UN Security Council in two weeks to further discuss measures to suppress foreign fighters from joining terror groups such as ISIS.
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