On Monday, August 11, the President will attend a DSCC event at a private residence in Tisbury, Massachusetts. There will be print pool coverage for remarks only. The First Family is on a well deserved vacation on Martha’s Vineyard.
Enjoy Your Well Deserved Vacation.
Raw: President Golfs on Martha’s Vineyard
Published on Aug 9, 2014
President Barack Obama kicked off a two-week vacation by playing golf on Martha’s Vineyard Thursday, which comes as the U.S. is engaged in military airstrikes against Islamic militant targets in Iraq. (Aug. 9)
White House Schedule – August 11th, 2014
On Monday, August 11, the President will attend a DSCC event at a private residence in Tisbury, Massachusetts. There will be print pool coverage for remarks only.
Monday, August 11 2014 All Times ET
5:55 PM: The President delivers remarks and answers questions at a DSCC event, Private Residence — Massachusetts.
Airstrikes in Iraq: What You Need to Know
President Obama has authorized the U.S. military to execute targeted airstrikes in Iraq.
The President takes no decision more seriously than the use of military force. So it’s worth taking a few minutes to make sure you understand exactly what is happening in Iraq right now, who is involved, and why we are taking action. Here are a few answers to some key questions Americans may be asking:
1. What exactly did the President do?
On August 7, 2014, President Obama authorized two operations in the northern region of Iraq. First, he authorized the military to use limited airstrikes to protect American diplomatic and military personnel serving in the city of Erbil. Second, the United States is delivering humanitarian aid to thousands of Yezidis, Iraqi civilians, who have been forced to flee their homes and are now stranded on a mountainside — facing near-certain death without our assistance.
2. Why are airstrikes needed now?
Terrorist forces known as ISIL (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) have been advancing across Iraq. ISIL had moved toward the city of Erbil, where many American diplomats and military advisors are currently serving. By August 7, ISIL forces had taken positions only minutes from Erbil.
In order to stop ISIL’s advance from threatening our people and facilities, the President ordered targeted airstrikes against ISIL terrorist convoys should they move toward Erbil.
3. Why can’t we just evacuate the Americans from Erbil instead of taking military action?
The American personnel in Erbil are vital to joint operations with the Kurds and the Iraqi government. Right now, we have the capability to see what’s happening on the ground and we have military capability to hit strategic targets.
4. What about the humanitarian mission? Why is that needed?
ISIL forces have acted with particular brutality toward ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq, including the Yezidi people in northern Iraq. Not only have they conducted executions and enslaved Yezidi women, they have threatened to systematically destroy the entire Yezidi people, which would constitute an act of genocide.
Thousands of Yezidis have fled their hometowns to Mount Sinjar in order to escape the advancing ISIL forces. They have no access to food or water — many are dying of thirst.
The United States has been airdropping food and water to the Yezidis on Mount Sinjar to prevent the loss of innocent lives. As the President said, “The United States of America cannot turn a blind eye. We can act, carefully and responsibly, to prevent a potential act of genocide.”
5. Will airstrikes be used to protect the Yezidi people on the mountain?
The U.S. military has been undertaking limited airstrikes to help Iraqi forces that are fighting to beat back ISIL’s siege on the mountain and to protect the civilians there.
6. Are we the only ones fighting ISIL?
No. The United States is providing urgent assistance and arms to Iraqi forces in the region so they can more effectively wage the fight against ISIL. Britain and France have also committed to joining the United States in providing humanitarian aid to the Yezidi people.
7. Is ISIL more dangerous than al-Qaeda right now?
While both are terrorist forces, they have different ambitions. Al-Qaeda’s principal ambition is to launch attacks against the west and U.S. homeland. That’s the direct threat that we have taken direct action against for many years. Right now, ISIL’s primary focus is consolidating territory in the Middle East region to establish their own Islamic State. So they’re different organizations with different objectives.
8. Are we at war with ISIL? Will we be sending troops back to Iraq?
No. There is no U.S. military solution to the larger situation in Iraq. The United States’ chief goals are to protect our personnel and facilities, and to prevent a potential act of genocide. That is the scope of these operations. As the President said, we will support Iraqis as they take the fight to these terrorists, but no American combat troops will be returning to fight in Iraq.
9. What’s our plan moving forward?
We will protect our citizens, and we will work with Iraqis and the international community to address the humanitarian crisis facing the Yezidi people.
As we carry out that mission, we will pursue a strategy that empowers Iraqi leaders to come together, forge an inclusive government, and build security forces that can fight back against threats like ISIL. The Iraqi people have named a new President, a new Speaker of Parliament, and working to choose a new Prime Minister. The U.S. will work with this new government and other countries in the region on a broader counterterrorism strategy moving forward
Summer Mailbag: Ask the White House Your Questions
11:21 AM EDT
It’s that time of year again! We’re bringing back the Summer Mailbag edition of West Wing Week. If you’ve got a question about President Obama’s policies, what it’s like to work at the White House, or really, anything you’ve been meaning to ask about his day-to-day life or his Administration, we want to hear from you.
We’re asking people across the country to submit their questions on social media — and administration officials will answer some of them in West Wing Week. Here’s how it works:
- Ask your questions on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, or Google+ using the hashtag #AskTheWH.
- We’ll send some of your questions over to White House staffers for them to answer.
- Be sure to watch the Summer Mailbag edition of West Wing Week to find out if your question got answered.
Need some inspiration? Check out last year’s Summer Mailbag edition, and stay tuned for this year’s episode over the next couple of weeks.
The President Gives an Update on the Situation in Iraq
12:51 PM EDT
This morning, from the South Lawn of the White House, President Obama made a statement on the situation in Iraq, detailing the progress of current American operations in the country:
Good morning. Over the past two days, American pilots and crews have served with courage and skill in the skies over Iraq.
First, American forces have conducted targeted airstrikes against terrorist forces outside the city of Erbil to prevent them from advancing on the city and to protect our American diplomats and military personnel. So far, these strikes have successfully destroyed arms and equipment that ISIL terrorists could have used against Erbil. Meanwhile, Kurdish forces on the ground continue to defend the city, and the United States and the Iraqi government have stepped up our military assistance to Kurdish forces as they wage their fight.
Second, our humanitarian effort continues to help the men, women and children stranded on Mount Sinjar. American forces have so far conducted two successful airdrops — delivering thousands of meals and gallons of water to these desperate men, women and children. And American aircraft are positioned to strike ISIL terrorists around the mountain to help forces in Iraq break the siege and rescue those who are trapped there.
The President added, however, that the United States is continuing to pursue our broader strategy in Iraq, even while dealing with these immediate situations:
We will protect our American citizens in Iraq, whether they’re diplomats, civilians or military. If these terrorists threaten our facilities or our personnel, we will take action to protect our people.
We will continue to provide military assistance and advice to the Iraqi government and Kurdish forces as they battle these terrorists, so that the terrorists cannot establish a permanent safe haven.
We will continue to work with the international community to deal with the growing humanitarian crisis in Iraq. Even as our attention is focused on preventing an act of genocide and helping the men and women and children on the mountain, countless Iraqis have been driven or fled from their homes, including many Christians.
This morning, I spoke with Prime Minister Cameron of the United Kingdom and President Hollande of France. I’m pleased that both leaders expressed their strong support for our actions and have agreed to join us in providing humanitarian assistance to Iraqi civilians who are suffering so much. Once again, America is proud to act alongside our closest friends and allies.
More broadly, the United Nations in Iraq is working urgently to help respond to the needs of those Iraqis fleeing from areas under threat. The U.N. Security Council has called on the international community to do everything it can to provide food, water and shelter. And in my calls with allies and partners around the world, I’ll continue to urge them to join us in this humanitarian effort.
“Finally,” the President concluded, “we continue to call on Iraqis to come together and form the inclusive government that Iraq needs right now.”
All Iraqi communities are ultimately threatened by these barbaric terrorists and all Iraqi communities need to unite to defend their country.
Just as we are focused on the situation in the north affecting Kurds and Iraqi minorities, Sunnis and Shia in different parts of Iraq have suffered mightily at the hands of ISIL. Once an inclusive government is in place, I’m confident it will be easier to mobilize all Iraqis against ISIL, and to mobilize greater support from our friends and allies. Ultimately, only Iraqis can ensure the security and stability of Iraq. The United States can’t do it for them, but we can and will be partners in that effort.
One final thing — as we go forward, we’ll continue to consult with Congress and coordinate closely with our allies and partners. And as Americans, we will continue to show gratitude to our men and women in uniform who are conducting our operations there. When called, they were ready — as they always are. When given their mission, they’ve performed with distinction — as they always do. And when we see them serving with such honor and compassion, defending our fellow citizens and saving the lives of people they’ve never met, it makes us proud to be Americans — as we always will be.