In an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” White House press Secretary Josh Earnest attempted to walk back President Barack Obama’s remarks from Thursday in which he said the United States did not have a “strategy” to deal with ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
According to Earnest, Obama was referring to particulars that he could take to Congress for authorization and that the Obama White House does indeed have a game plan.
“What the president was talking about yesterday — he was responding to a question specifically about whether or not he was going to seek congressional authorization to order military strikes inside of Syria,” Earnest said. “And the president said we don’t have a strategy yet. We don’t have plans in place right now for what we want to do and what we could do militarily in Syria. But when it comes to confronting ISIL, the president has made very clear we do have a comprehensive strategy for confronting that threat that is posed by ISIL. That begins with supporting Iraq’s political leaders as they form the kind of inclusive government that can unite the country to confront the threat that their country faces right now.”
“It includes beefing up our support to Iraqi and Kurdish security forces in the form of training and equipment to help them take the fight to ISIL on the ground in their country. It includes in engaging regional governments. After all governments in the region have an even clearer stake than we do right now. It’s not in their interest to have ISIL marauding across the countryside and wreaking acts of violence on their doorstep so the president sent Secretary of State john Kerry to the region to start engaging those countries. The president has been on the phone with countries and world leaders to talk about this issue. And then fifth, and this is the component that gets the most attention, is the president has authorized military strikes in Iraq to protect the American people and protect Americans who are in Iraq, but also to avert humanitarian disasters. We’ve already had some important success as a result of those military strikes. They wanted an advance on Irbil and they’ve avoided a humanitarian disaster on Sinjar Mountain.”
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