On Friday, just hours after President Barack Obama gave the ok for airstrikes to be fired against Islamic militants, fighter jets launched a targeted airstrike.
According to John Kirby, Pentagon press secretary, 500 pound bombs have been launched by F/A-18 Jets on artillery pieces being transported by trucks. The airstrike took place at 6:45 A.M. ET against the group formerly called ISIS.
Rear Adm. Kirby declared that the United States military will go to any lengths to protect its personnel and facilities, even if this involves taking direct military action against the terrorists.
The Pentagon said that the airstrike had taken place only after IS used its artillery to shell Kurdish forces that were defending the city of Irbil, where U.S. personnel is also located. The origin of the airstrikes was the USS George HW Bush in the Persian Gulf.
Since 2011 when U.S. troops were withdrawn, this airstrike represents the deepest engagement of the United States in the country. Such actions were authorized by President Obama who declared on Thursday evening that limited military force could be necessary to protect both American personnel and civilians located outside Sinjar. The military also conducted missions on Thursday meant to help the thousands of Iraqi civilians stuck on the mountain outside Sinjar. Humanitarian aid was airdropped to the thousands of men, women and children with the aid of the U.S. military. Officials added that there would be more humanitarian drops in the future.
During his statement, President Obama stressed the fact that American troops would not be returning to Iraq but that even so, America had a responsibility of helping the civilians who are currently facing potential genocide because of the IS militants. He added that the United States of America find themselves in a unique situation where they are capable of averting this potential massacre and that officials should act responsibly to prevent the genocide from happening.
Friday’s airstrikes were a matter of opportunity. American militants observed that artillery was being indiscriminately fired at the city of Irbil and decided to strike back. This action was rewarded with bipartisan praise from Congress members.
Senator John McCain and Lindsey Graham expressed their concern with the situation. According to them, the actions that the U.S. has undertaken thus far aren’t sufficient to properly meet the threat that the ISIS group poses and that a strategic approach is warranted, not just the humanitarian one. Consequently, they requested that airstrikes against IS leaders be conducted and that the U.S consider positions in Iraq and Syria.