President Obama Explains Why The U.S. Is Bombing ISIS

TIME

As the United States is ramping up a bombing campaign against an extremist militant group in Iraq, President Barack Obama said in an interview with the New York Times published late Friday that the U.S. has a strategic interest in preventing the group from gaining a foothold in northern Iraq.

While Obama said the U.S. can’t just be “the Iraqi air force,” he argued it needs to “bolster” Iraqi leadership, and prevent Sunni extremists from forming a state through Syria and Iraq under the banner of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

“We do have a strategic interest in pushing back” ISIS, the President said in an interview with Times columnist Thomas Friedman. “We’re not going to let them create some caliphate through Syria and Iraq, but we can only do that if we know that we’ve got partners on the ground who are capable of filling the…

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