President Barack Obama pledged Tuesday to bring justice to the terrorists who killed an American journalist this month, even while promising to “not allow the United States to be dragged back into another ground war in Iraq.”
Speaking to the American Legion in Charlotte, the president alluded to the brutal murder of American James Foley.
“Our message to anyone who harms our people is simple: America does not forget,” he said. “Our reach is long. We are patient. Justice will be done.”
The president spoke about what he called “the cancer” of the Islamic State, an insurgency known as ISIS and ISIL. “Rooting out a cancer like ISIL won’t be easy, and it won’t be quick. But tyrants and murderers ... should recognize that kind of hateful vision ultimately is no match for the strength and hopes of people who stand together for the security and dignity and freedom that is the birthright of every human being.”
Obama made clear that U.S. efforts would not involve more ground troops, though he praised airmen for their targeting of radical positions in northern Iraq.
“The crisis in Iraq underscores how we have to meet today’s evolving terrorist threat,” he said. “The answer is not to send in large-scale military deployments that … end up feeding extremism.
“Rather, our military action in Iraq has to be part of a broader strategy to protect our people and support our partners to take the fight to ISIL.”
He said the U.S. has been sending military assistance to Kurdish fights in Iraq and the “moderate opposition” in Syria. The administration, he added, has also urged a new, more inclusive government in Iraq.