Obama Meeting with Chuck Hagel on Strategy against Islamic State
Back from his vacation, President Obama is scheduled to meet with Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel Monday for an update on the series of air strikes launched against the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq.
Obama may increase military action against the terrorist group after the beheading of American journalist James Foley, as members of his administration continue to escalate warlike rhetoric.
“When people harm Americans, anywhere, we do what’s necessary to see that justice is done,” Obama said in a statement during his vacation on Martha’s Vineyard last week.
Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes signaled Friday that the United States viewed Foley’s death as an attack on America.
“Clearly, the brutal execution of Jim Foley represented an affront, an attack, not just on him, but he’s an American. And we see that as an attack on our country when one of our own is killed like that,” he said.
Last week, Hagel explained that IS had grown “beyond anything that we've seen," posing “a new paradigm of threats to this country."
It is unclear, however, whether Obama will launch air strikes against IS in Syria.
After suffering military setbacks last week in Iraq, the group seized a military base in northern Syria, publicly displaying the severed heads of its vanquished enemies.
On Fox News Sunday, Sen. John McCain signaled that air strikes in Syria were necessary.
"There is no boundary between Syria and Iraq," he said. "One of the key decisions the President is going to have to make is air power in Syria. We cannot give them a base of operations. And we have got to help the Free Syrian Army."