US President Barack delivers a prime time address from the Cross Hall of the White House on September 10, 2014 in Washington, DC. Vowing to target the Islamic State with air strikes "wherever they exist", Obama pledged to lead a broad coalition to fight IS and work with "partner forces" on the ground in Syria and Iraq. UPI/Saul Loeb/Pool | License Photo
WASHINGTON, Sept. 10 (UPI) -- "Our objective is clear: We will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy."
Tough talk from U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday night. In a speech from the White House, he outlined a four-part strategy to deal with the threat from the Islamic State, also known as ISIS and ISIL.
Part of that strategy includes what the president called "systematic" airstrikes against IS. He also said those airstrikes will include "working with the Iraqi government" to "expand our efforts beyond protecting our own people and humanitarian missions, so that we're hitting ISIL targets as Iraqi forces go on offense."
The president also said he will be sending an additional 475 service members to Iraq. But he emphasized these American forces "will not have a combat mission." As a part of that, the United States has already ramped up military assistance to the Syrian opposition. He once again asked Congress to give the resources needed.
"In the fight against ISIL, we cannot rely on an Assad regime that terrorizes its people; a regime that will never regain the legitimacy it has lost," he said, referring to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. "Instead, we must strengthen the opposition as the best counterweight to extremists like ISIL, while pursuing the political solution necessary to solve Syria's crisis once and for all."
Obama said he will work with the coalition to cut off funding to IS. In two weeks, the president will chair a meeting of the U.N. Security Council to "further mobilize the international community around this effort."
Lastly, the United States will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to innocent civilians who have been forced from their homes by "this terrorist organization."
As far as securing the backing of Congress for his plan to strike back against IS, the President said, "My administration has also secured bipartisan support for this approach here at home. I have the authority to address the threat from ISIL. But I believe we are strongest as a nation when the president and Congress work together. So I welcome congressional support for this effort in order to show the world that Americans are united in confronting this danger."
The president did, however, say this will take time and it does come with risks, especially to the servicemen and women who carry out these missions. But, he did emphasize, "I want the American people to understand how this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil."
During the speech, the president also touched on how Thursday marks 13 years since the attacks of the Sept. 11, 2011, terror attacks and next week marks six years since the economy crashed.
He also mentioned U.S. leadership in combating the Ebola virus currently ravaging Africa as well as the fight to stop Russian aggression in Ukraine.
Obama concluded his speech to the nation Wednesday night with these words:
"When we helped prevent the massacre of civilians trapped on a distant mountain, here's what one of them said. 'We owe our American friends our lives. Our children will always remember that there was someone who felt our struggle and made a long journey to protect innocent people.' "
The president said the safety and security of the nation depends on "our willingness to do what it takes to defend this nation, and uphold the values that we stand for -- timeless ideals that will endure long after those who offer only hate and destruction have been vanquished from the Earth."