President Obama addressed the crisis in Iraq and the growing civil unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, during a speech from the White House on Monday.
With respect to Iraq, Obama said that American airstrikes have been successful at keeping ISIL militants at bay, meanwhile humanitarian efforts are underway to support those innocents affected by the fighting.
“There should be no doubt that the United States military will continue to carry the limited missions that I’ve authorized, protecting our personnel and facilities in Iraq in both Irbil and Baghdad and providing humanitarian support as we did on Mount Sinjar,” said Obama.
“My administration has consulted closely with Congress about our strategy in Iraq and we are going to continue to do so in the weeks to come,” he continued. “Because when it comes to the security of our people and our efforts against a terrorist group like ISIL, we need to be united in our resolve.”
As for the tenuous situation in Ferguson, where local law enforcement is at odds with a community up in arms over the fatal police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown, Obama essentially called for cooler heads to prevail.
“Let me call again for understanding,” said Obama. “Let’s seek to heal rather than wounding each other.”
“In order to do that,” he said, “we have to make sure we can distinguish between peaceful protesters … and those who are using this tragic death as an excuse to engage in criminal behavior, by tossing Molotov cocktails, or looting stores … that may be a small minority, but they are damaging the cause, not advancing it.”
“That’s how we’re going to move forward together, by trying to unite each other and understand each other and not simply divide ourselves from one another,” the president continued. “We’re going to have to hold tight to those values.”
To assist with the uniting effort, Obama is sending Attorney General Eric Holder to Ferguson on Wednesday. While there, Holder will meet with the FBI and DOJ agents who are conducting the federal investigation into the shooting death of the unarmed teen.
Holder will also speak with community leaders whose “support is so critical to bringing about peace and calm in Ferguson.”
Time will tell if Obama’s words, and Holder’s oversight, make a difference.