Back in Iraq? What You Need to Know

Obama grapples with how to deal with Islamic terrorists.

A New Crisis - Just when the nation thought it was out of Iraq, it is being dragged back in again because of security threats and the risk of genocide posed by the extreme Islamic terrorist group ISIS, also known as ISIL. Here are answers to questions you may have about this latest foreign-policy crisis and the difficult choices facing President Obama and whether the U.S. is heading back to war.   (Photo: Mike Theiler-Pool/Getty Images)

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A New Crisis - Just when the nation thought it was out of Iraq, it is being dragged back in again because of security threats and the risk of genocide posed by the extreme Islamic terrorist group ISIS, also known as ISIL. Here are answers to questions you may have about this latest foreign-policy crisis and the difficult choices facing President Obama and whether the U.S. is heading back to war.  (Photo: Mike Theiler-Pool/Getty Images)

What's Going On? - Obama on Aug. 7 announced at a prime-time press conference that he had authorized U.S. airstrikes against the Islamic militants in Iraq and airdrops of humanitarian aid for Iraqi religious minorities threatened by the extremists. The goal, he said, is to also protect U.S. interests in the Middle Eastern nation. "We intend to stay vigilant, and take action if these terrorist forces threaten our personnel or facilities anywhere in Iraq, including our consulate in Irbil and our embassy in Baghdad," the president said. "We're also providing urgent assistance to Iraqi government and Kurdish forces so they can more effectively wage the fight against ISIL."(Photo: Khalid Mohammed/AP Photo)

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What's Going On? - Obama on Aug. 7 announced at a prime-time press conference that he had authorized U.S. airstrikes against the Islamic militants in Iraq and airdrops of humanitarian aid for Iraqi religious minorities threatened by the extremists. The goal, he said, is to also protect U.S. interests in the Middle Eastern nation. "We intend to stay vigilant, and take action if these terrorist forces threaten our personnel or facilities anywhere in Iraq, including our consulate in Irbil and our embassy in Baghdad," the president said. "We're also providing urgent assistance to Iraqi government and Kurdish forces so they can more effectively wage the fight against ISIL."(Photo: Khalid Mohammed/AP Photo)

Strike On - Forty percent said that military action against ISIS should be limited to air strikes while 34 percent said it should include air strikes and boots on the ground. Fifteen percent said no military action should be taken.(Photo: AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

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A Done Deal - The morning after Obama's announcement, two F/A-18 fighter jets dropped 500-pound laser-guided bombs on a mobile artillery piece near Erbil in northern Iraq.   (Photo: Damian Dovarganes, File/AP Photo)

The nation fears another terrorist attack.

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What Is ISIL? - Previously referred to as ISIS, it is an al-Qaida splinter group. "In Arabic, the group is known as Al-Dawla Al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham, or the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham. The term 'al-Sham' refers to a region stretching from southern Turkey through Syria to Egypt (also including Lebanon, Israel, the Palestinian territories and Jordan). The group’s stated goal is to restore an Islamic state, or caliphate, in this entire area," the Associated Press explains. "The standard English term for this broad territory is 'the Levant.' Therefore, AP’s translation of the group’s name is the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL." People should expect to hear ISIS and ISIL used interchangably, however. (Photo: Rami Al Sayed/AFP/Getty Images)

Why Strike Now? - In June, the president said that the U.S. would be prepared to take targeted military action if necessary as the militants make their way across Iraq. In recent days they have gotten closer to Irbil, where there's an American consulate and military personnel who advise Iraqi forces. In addition, the Iraqi government has asked for humanitarian aid for Iraqi civilians who've been barbarically targeted and left stranded. "Countless Iraqis have been displaced. And chilling reports describe ISIL militants rounding up families, conducting mass executions, and enslaving Yazidi women," Obama said.      (Photo: f.duckett/AP Photo)

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Why Strike Now? - In June, the president said that the U.S. would be prepared to take targeted military action if necessary as the militants make their way across Iraq. In recent days they have gotten closer to Irbil, where there's an American consulate and military personnel who advise Iraqi forces. In addition, the Iraqi government has asked for humanitarian aid for Iraqi civilians who've been barbarically targeted and left stranded. "Countless Iraqis have been displaced. And chilling reports describe ISIL militants rounding up families, conducting mass executions, and enslaving Yazidi women," Obama said.  (Photo: f.duckett/AP Photo)

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The Situation Room - The president met throughout the day on Aug. 7 with his national security advisers and released this photo a few hours before announcing the air strikes. To his right is the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey. Across the table is national security adviser Susan Rice and her principal deputy, Antony J. Blinken.   (Photo: Official White House Photo/Pete Souza via Flickr)

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The Situation Room - The president met throughout the day on Aug. 7 with his national security advisers and released this photo a few hours before announcing the air strikes. To his right is the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey. Across the table is national security adviser Susan Rice and her principal deputy, Antony J. Blinken. (Photo: Official White House Photo/Pete Souza via Flickr)

Are We Headed Back to War in Iraq? - Not according to Obama. "I know that many of you are rightly concerned about any American military action in Iraq, even limited strikes like these. I understand that. I ran for this office in part to end our war in Iraq and welcome our troops home, and that's what we've done," he said. "As commander in chief, I will not allow the United States to be dragged into fighting another war in Iraq. And so even as we support Iraqis as they take the fight to these terrorists, American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq, because there's no American military solution to the larger crisis in Iraq. The only lasting solution is reconciliation among Iraqi communities and stronger Iraqi security forces."   (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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Are We Headed Back to War in Iraq? - Not according to Obama. "I know that many of you are rightly concerned about any American military action in Iraq, even limited strikes like these. I understand that. I ran for this office in part to end our war in Iraq and welcome our troops home, and that's what we've done," he said. "As commander in chief, I will not allow the United States to be dragged into fighting another war in Iraq. And so even as we support Iraqis as they take the fight to these terrorists, American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq, because there's no American military solution to the larger crisis in Iraq. The only lasting solution is reconciliation among Iraqi communities and stronger Iraqi security forces." (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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Is Obama Legally Authorized to Authorize Airstrikes? - "We believe the president has the authority under the Constitution as commander-in-chief to direct these actions, which are consistent with this responsibility to protect U.S. citizens and to further U.S. national security and foreign policy interests. Specifically, the protection of U.S. personnel and facilities is among his highest responsibilities as commander-in-chief, and given the threats that we see on the periphery of Erbil, he has authorized the use of targeted military action," a White House official speaking on background told reporters on a conference call. "Similarly, we believe that there is an urgent humanitarian challenge that further poses a threat to U.S. interests." (Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

OK With Conditions - ?The president?s authorization of airstrikes is appropriate, but like many Americans, I am dismayed by the ongoing absence of a strategy for countering the grave threat ISIS poses to the region,? House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement. ?Vital national interests are at stake, yet the White House has remained disengaged despite warnings from Iraqi leaders, Congress, and even members of its own administration." The Ohio Republican said he's willing to work with Obama if he comes up with a long-term strategy, "one that defines success as completing our mission, not keeping political promises ? and he needs to build the public and congressional support to sustain it."   (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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OK With Conditions - “The president’s authorization of airstrikes is appropriate, but like many Americans, I am dismayed by the ongoing absence of a strategy for countering the grave threat ISIS poses to the region,” House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement. “Vital national interests are at stake, yet the White House has remained disengaged despite warnings from Iraqi leaders, Congress, and even members of its own administration." The Ohio Republican said he's willing to work with Obama if he comes up with a long-term strategy, "one that defines success as completing our mission, not keeping political promises — and he needs to build the public and congressional support to sustain it." (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

No Half Measures - Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina believe airstrikes aren't enough. "The president needs to devise a comprehensive strategy to degrade ISIS," they wrote in a joint statement. "This should include the provision of military and other assistance to our Kurdish, Iraqi, and Syrian partners who are fighting ISIS. It should include U.S. airstrikes against ISIS leaders, forces, and positions both in Iraq and Syria. It should include support to Sunni Iraqis who seek to resist ISIS. And none of this should be contingent on the formation of a new government in Baghdad."   (Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

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No Half Measures - Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina believe airstrikes aren't enough. "The president needs to devise a comprehensive strategy to degrade ISIS," they wrote in a joint statement. "This should include the provision of military and other assistance to our Kurdish, Iraqi, and Syrian partners who are fighting ISIS. It should include U.S. airstrikes against ISIS leaders, forces, and positions both in Iraq and Syria. It should include support to Sunni Iraqis who seek to resist ISIS. And none of this should be contingent on the formation of a new government in Baghdad." (Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

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Could This Grow Into Broader U.S. Involvement? - "The president has placed limits on the type of action that we?re taking [that are] focused on the two objectives he articulated: protection of our personnel and facilities and addressing the humanitarian crisis faced by the Yazidis," the White House official told reporters. 
"At the same time, he has also made clear that we?re not going to introduce combat troops to be engaged on the ground in Iraq, that what he has authorized are airstrikes, and the additional support we?ve already provided is in the form of advisers who are not engaged in combat but are rather assessing the Iraqi Security Forces, making determinations about how we can further train and equip them as they go after ISIL."  (Photo: Nik Wheeler/Corbis)

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Could This Grow Into Broader U.S. Involvement? - "The president has placed limits on the type of action that we’re taking [that are] focused on the two objectives he articulated: protection of our personnel and facilities and addressing the humanitarian crisis faced by the Yazidis," the White House official told reporters. 
"At the same time, he has also made clear that we’re not going to introduce combat troops to be engaged on the ground in Iraq, that what he has authorized are airstrikes, and the additional support we’ve already provided is in the form of advisers who are not engaged in combat but are rather assessing the Iraqi Security Forces, making determinations about how we can further train and equip them as they go after ISIL." (Photo: Nik Wheeler/Corbis)

Democratic Divisions - On the night the House voted on the funding bill, President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and White House chief of staff Denis McDonough anxiously called on Democrats to back the legislation, which the president said was the best they could get. And therein lies the problem: Democrats fear that when the Congress is controlled entirely by the GOP in January, the president will compromise with them in ways that will make it a challenge for members of his own party to support him.  (Photo: Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images)

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Will Obama Postpone His Vacation? - The family is scheduled to travel to Martha's Vineyard for their annual vacation there on Aug. 9. Obama will return to Washington on Aug. 17 to attend briefings and then return to the Vineyard on Aug. 19 and stay through Aug. 24.   (Photo: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

No Timetable - Before heading off to Martha's Vineyard on Aug. 9, Obama said that there is no timetable for the airstrikes in Iraq and warned that it could be a "long-term project." He also reiterated that he has no plans to put troops on the ground there. The president announced that Britain and France will join the humanitarian effort but said that ?only Iraqis can ensure the security and stability of Iraq.?   (Photo: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

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No Timetable - Before heading off to Martha's Vineyard on Aug. 9, Obama said that there is no timetable for the airstrikes in Iraq and warned that it could be a "long-term project." He also reiterated that he has no plans to put troops on the ground there. The president announced that Britain and France will join the humanitarian effort but said that “only Iraqis can ensure the security and stability of Iraq.” (Photo: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

No Regrets - The president rejected the notion that this latest crisis in Iraq is the result of his pulling troops from the troubled nation. "So let?s just be clear: The reason that we did not have a follow-on force in Iraq was because a majority of Iraqis did not want U.S. troops there, and politically they could not pass the kind of laws that would be required to protect our troops in Iraq,? he said. ?So that entire analysis is bogus and is wrong. But it gets frequently peddled around here by folks who oftentimes are trying to defend previous policies that they themselves made.?(Photo: Zhang Jun/XINHUA /LANDOV)

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No Regrets - The president rejected the notion that this latest crisis in Iraq is the result of his pulling troops from the troubled nation. "So let’s just be clear: The reason that we did not have a follow-on force in Iraq was because a majority of Iraqis did not want U.S. troops there, and politically they could not pass the kind of laws that would be required to protect our troops in Iraq,” he said. “So that entire analysis is bogus and is wrong. But it gets frequently peddled around here by folks who oftentimes are trying to defend previous policies that they themselves made.”(Photo: Zhang Jun/XINHUA /LANDOV)

Leveling the Battle Field - According to a report in the New York Times, administration officials have said that "outside sources" are now supplying weapons to the Kurds fighting ISIL militants in Iraq and Syria. The Associated Press is reporting that the U.S. also will soon sell arms to the struggling Kurds.    (Photo: AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)

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Leveling the Battle Field - According to a report in the New York Times, administration officials have said that "outside sources" are now supplying weapons to the Kurds fighting ISIL militants in Iraq and Syria. The Associated Press is reporting that the U.S. also will soon sell arms to the struggling Kurds.  (Photo: AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)

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Only Iraq Can Save Iraq - Speaking on NBC's Meet the Press, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) said that escalating the U.S. mission in Iraq is not an option. "Escalating it is not in the cards. Neither the American people nor Congress are in the business of wanting to escalate this conflict beyond where it is today," he said. Durbin, who supports the limited intervention, also said, "The bottom line is this: there is so much that we can do to help the Iraqis help themselves. But ultimately, they have to save their own country."  (Photo: Meet the Press via NBC)

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Only Iraq Can Save Iraq - Speaking on NBC's Meet the Press, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) said that escalating the U.S. mission in Iraq is not an option. "Escalating it is not in the cards. Neither the American people nor Congress are in the business of wanting to escalate this conflict beyond where it is today," he said. Durbin, who supports the limited intervention, also said, "The bottom line is this: there is so much that we can do to help the Iraqis help themselves. But ultimately, they have to save their own country." (Photo: Meet the Press via NBC)

"Nothing Off the Table" - Rep. Peter King (R-New York) does not share Durbin's views. ?ISIS is a direct threat to the United States of America. We can?t wait for Maliki or the Iraqi parliament to fight ISIS. Every day that goes by ISIS builds up this caliphate," he said on Meet the Press. "They are more powerful now than al Qaeda was on 9/11. Dick Durbin says we?re not going to do this, not going to do that. I want to hear what he says when they attack us in the United States. I lost hundreds of constituents on 9/11. I never want to do that again.?   (Photo: Meet the Press via NBC)

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"Nothing Off the Table" - Rep. Peter King (R-New York) does not share Durbin's views. “ISIS is a direct threat to the United States of America. We can’t wait for Maliki or the Iraqi parliament to fight ISIS. Every day that goes by ISIS builds up this caliphate," he said on Meet the Press. "They are more powerful now than al Qaeda was on 9/11. Dick Durbin says we’re not going to do this, not going to do that. I want to hear what he says when they attack us in the United States. I lost hundreds of constituents on 9/11. I never want to do that again.” (Photo: Meet the Press via NBC)

Et Tu, Hillary? - Former secretary of state and potential 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is sounding a bit like a Republican. In an interview in The Atlantic, she suggested that not acting in Syria has helped build up the current crisis and spread of jihadists in the region. "The failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against Assad ? there were Islamists, there were secularists, there was everything in the middle ? the failure to do that left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled," she said. In another dig to Obama's handling of foreign policy, she added, ?Great nations need organizing principles, and ?Don?t do stupid stuff? is not an organizing principle,? citing a catchphrase Obama aides have reportedly used to describe his foreign policy approach.(Photo: Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images)

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Et Tu, Hillary? - Former secretary of state and potential 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is sounding a bit like a Republican. In an interview in The Atlantic, she suggested that not acting in Syria has helped build up the current crisis and spread of jihadists in the region. "The failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against Assad — there were Islamists, there were secularists, there was everything in the middle — the failure to do that left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled," she said. In another dig to Obama's handling of foreign policy, she added, “Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle,” citing a catchphrase Obama aides have reportedly used to describe his foreign policy approach.(Photo: Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images)

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The World Is Appalled - On Aug. 20, ISIS released a video of the brutal murder of American journalist James Foley, who had been taken hostage in Syria almost two years ago while reporting on the conflict there. "The entire world is appalled by the brutal murder of Jim Foley," the president said. "People like this ultimately fail. They fail, because the future is won by those who build and not destroy and the world is shaped by people like Jim Foley, and the overwhelming majority of humanity who are appalled by those who killed him."  (Photo: AP Photo/GlobalPost, File)

Tough Talk - ?They?re beyond just a terrorist group,? Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said of ISIS at an Aug. 21 news conference. ?They marry ideology, sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess, they are tremendously well-funded. This is beyond anything that we?ve seen. So we must prepare for everything. And the only way you do that is take a cold, steely, hard look at it and get ready.?    (Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

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Tough Talk - “They’re beyond just a terrorist group,” Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said of ISIS at an Aug. 21 news conference. “They marry ideology, sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess, they are tremendously well-funded. This is beyond anything that we’ve seen. So we must prepare for everything. And the only way you do that is take a cold, steely, hard look at it and get ready.”  (Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

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What's Your Plan? - In an Aug. 24 appearance on CBS's Face the Nation, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan said the president isn't doing enough to combat ISIS. ?What I want to hear from our commander in chief is that he has a strategy to finish ISIS off. To defeat ISIS,? the former Republican vice presidential nominee said. ?If we don't deal with this threat now thoroughly and convincingly, it's going to come home to roost.?  (Photo: Face the Nation via CBS News)

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What's Your Plan? - In an Aug. 24 appearance on CBS's Face the Nation, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan said the president isn't doing enough to combat ISIS. “What I want to hear from our commander in chief is that he has a strategy to finish ISIS off. To defeat ISIS,” the former Republican vice presidential nominee said. “If we don't deal with this threat now thoroughly and convincingly, it's going to come home to roost.” (Photo: Face the Nation via CBS News)

Surveillance Over Syria - Obama has authorized military surveillance flights over Syria to gather intelligence about Islamic extremists but has no immediate plans to expand the airstrikes campaign against ISIL already in place in Iraq to include the neighboring nation.  (Photo: John Moore/Getty Images)

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Surveillance Over Syria - Obama has authorized military surveillance flights over Syria to gather intelligence about Islamic extremists but has no immediate plans to expand the airstrikes campaign against ISIL already in place in Iraq to include the neighboring nation.  (Photo: John Moore/Getty Images)

Justice Will Be Done - In remarks delivered at the American Legion National Convention on Aug. 26, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina, Obama vowed to root out ISIS, which he likened to a cancer. "Our message to anyone who harms our people is simple. America does not forget. Our reach is long. We are patient. Justice will be done," he said. "We will do what's necessary to capture those who harm Americans, to go after those who harm Americans, and we'll continue to take direct action where needed to protect our people and to defend our homeland."(Photo: Sara D. Davis/Getty Images)

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Like a Cancer - In a speech to the American Legion on Aug. 26, the president called ISIS a "cancer" and said that rooting it out won't be easy or quick, but that it will be done. "Our message to anyone who harms our people is simple: America does not forget. Our reach is long. We are patient. Justice will be done. We have proved time and time again we will do what's necessary to capture those who harm Americans," he said. (Photo: Sara D. Davis/Getty Images) 

Can We Talk? - California Rep. Barbara Lee has joined two other lawmakers in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner calling for a debate on the use of military force in Iraq. ?It is clear that the current mission in Iraq has extended beyond the limited, specific and targeted scope of preventing genocide and ensuring the security of U.S. personnel. The president must seek congressional authorization before the situation escalates further,? said Lee. ?Congress must have the opportunity to debate all options and consequences, including military, economic and diplomatic ones, to prevent the Islamic State from further destabilizing the region. If an authorization is necessary, it must be limited and specific to prevent passing of another blank check for endless war.?   (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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Can We Talk? - California Rep. Barbara Lee has joined two other lawmakers in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner calling for a debate on the use of military force in Iraq. “It is clear that the current mission in Iraq has extended beyond the limited, specific and targeted scope of preventing genocide and ensuring the security of U.S. personnel. The president must seek congressional authorization before the situation escalates further,” said Lee. “Congress must have the opportunity to debate all options and consequences, including military, economic and diplomatic ones, to prevent the Islamic State from further destabilizing the region. If an authorization is necessary, it must be limited and specific to prevent passing of another blank check for endless war.” (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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There Is No Plan — Yet - Asked if he would seek Congressional approval for U.S. attacks on ISIS targets in Syria, Obama said on Aug. 28, "I don't want to put the cart before the horse. We don’t have a strategy yet." He added that, as president, “I will always do what is necessary to protect the American people. Our military action in Iraq has to be part of a broader comprehensive strategy to protect our people and to support our partners who are taking the fight to ISIL." Obama said he will consult with Congress and has asked his defense secretary to prepare "a range of options."(Photo: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

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Justice Will Be Served - Following the beheading of a second American journalist, Steven Sotloff, by Islamist terrorists, Obama vowed that the brutal murder would only "stiffen" America's determination to fight ISIL. ?Whatever these murderers think they?ll achieve by killing innocent Americans like Steven, they have already failed. They failed because, like people around the world, Americans are repulsed by their barbarism. We will not be intimidated,? the president said. ?Their horrific acts only unite us as a country and stiffen our resolve to fight against these terrorists. And those who make the mistake of harming Americans will learn that we will not forget and that our reach is long and that justice will be served.?   (Photo: AP Photo)

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Another Tragedy - On Sept. 2, Islamic State militants released a video of a second American journalist, Steven Sotloff, before he was beheaded.(Photo: AP Photo)

Justice Will Be Served - ?Whatever these murderers think they?ll achieve by killing innocent Americans like Steven, they have already failed. They failed because, like people around the world, Americans are repulsed by their barbarism. We will not be intimidated," Obama said in response to the beheading. Their horrific acts only unite us as a country and stiffen our resolve to fight against these terrorists. And those who make the mistake of harming Americans will learn that we will not forget and that our reach is long and that justice will be served."  (Photo: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

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Justice Will Be Served - “Whatever these murderers think they’ll achieve by killing innocent Americans like Steven, they have already failed. They failed because, like people around the world, Americans are repulsed by their barbarism. We will not be intimidated," Obama said in response to the beheading. Their horrific acts only unite us as a country and stiffen our resolve to fight against these terrorists. And those who make the mistake of harming Americans will learn that we will not forget and that our reach is long and that justice will be served." (Photo: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Second That - "We will follow them to the gates of hell until they are brought to justice because hell is where they will reside," Vice President Joe Biden said at an event in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. "If they think the American people will be intimidated, they don?t know us very well."    (Photo: AP Photo/John Locher, File)

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Second That - "We will follow them to the gates of hell until they are brought to justice because hell is where they will reside," Vice President Joe Biden said at an event in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. "If they think the American people will be intimidated, they don’t know us very well."  (Photo: AP Photo/John Locher, File)

Protecting American Interests - The White House confirmed on Sept. 2 that the president had authorized sending 350 military troops to Iraq to protect U.S. facilities and personnel in Baghdad.   (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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Protecting American Interests - The White House confirmed on Sept. 2 that the president had authorized sending 350 military troops to Iraq to protect U.S. facilities and personnel in Baghdad. (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Let's Talk - On the eve of the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, President Obama will address the nation about another terrorist threat: ISIL. In a Sept. 7 interview on NBC's Meet the Press, he gave a preview of his strategy, explained why he won't act on immigration before the midterm elections and acknowledged that hitting the links after an American has been beheaded overseas is not a good look ? even if you are technically on vacation. Here are 10 key takeaways. ? Joyce Jones (@BETpolitichick)   (Photo: Meet the Press via NBC)

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Facing the Nation - The president announced plans to speak to the nation on Sept. 10 about the threat ISIL poses and the steps he's taking to address it. "I'll make a speech and describe what our game plan's going to be going forward. But this is not going to be an announcement about U.S. ground troops," he said in an interview on NBC's Meet the Press. "This is not the equivalent of the Iraq war." (Photo: Meet the Press via NBC)

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"Degrade and Destroy" - "Our objective is clear: We will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counterterrorism strategy," Obama said in a major speech in which he laid out a four-point plan to address the terrorist group.(Photo: AP Photo/Saul Loeb, Pool)

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The Plan - The strategy the president outlined is four-pronged: a "systematic campaign of airstrikes" against ISIL in Iraq and, if necessary, Syria; 475 service members will be sent to the region to "support Iraqi and Kurdish forces with training, intelligence and equipment"; the use of the nation's "substantial counter-terrorism capabilities" and mobilization of the international community to prevent ISIL attacks; and continued humanitarian aid to civilians displaced by the terrorist group. (Photo: Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images)

Built to Last - "Each time I look at that flag, I?m reminded that our destiny is stitched together like those 50 stars and those 13 stripes. No one built this country on their own. This nation is great because we built it together. This nation is great because we worked as a team. This nation is great because we get each other?s backs," the president said in his 2013 State of the Union address. "And if we hold fast to that truth, in this moment of trial, there is no challenge too great; no mission too hard. As long as we are joined in common purpose, as long as we maintain our common resolve, our journey moves forward, and our future is hopeful, and the state of our Union will always be strong."   (Photo: Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images)

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Standing by Their Man - In his remarks, the president said that he has the authority needed to "ultimately destroy" ISIS, some lawmakers believe that he must first ask Congress for a new authorization to use military force. Some, like the famously anti-war Rep. Barbara Lee, are calling for a vigorous debate. Both House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) are standing behind Obama and have said they will support his request for $500 million to arm and train Syrian rebels.(Photo: Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images)

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House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) - "We only have one commander in chief. He laid out his plan. I would never tell the enemy what I was willing to do, or unwilling to do. But he is the commander in chief, he made that decision. At this point in time, it’s important that we give the president what he’s asking for," said Boehner. "And we gotta keep our eye on the ball. The issue here is about defeating a terrorist threat that is real and imminent.”(Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-California) - "The facts are clear. We are no longer talking about limited strikes to prevent genocide and protect U.S. personnel. We are talking about sustained bombing and the use of military force. The threat from ISIS is serious," said Lee, the only lawmaker on Capitol Hill to vote against the use of force in Afghanistan in 2001. "But before we take any further military action, Congress must debate the threats to our national security, the risks to American servicemen and women and the financial costs of waging another war in the Middle East. As the president said, 'We are strongest as a nation when the president and Congress work together.' That is why I believe the president?s plan requires a thoughtful debate and vote by Congress.?(Photo: Kris Connor/Getty Images)

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Rep. Barbara Lee (D-California) - "The facts are clear. We are no longer talking about limited strikes to prevent genocide and protect U.S. personnel. We are talking about sustained bombing and the use of military force. The threat from ISIS is serious," said Lee, the only lawmaker on Capitol Hill to vote against the use of force in Afghanistan in 2001. "But before we take any further military action, Congress must debate the threats to our national security, the risks to American servicemen and women and the financial costs of waging another war in the Middle East. As the president said, 'We are strongest as a nation when the president and Congress work together.' That is why I believe the president’s plan requires a thoughtful debate and vote by Congress.”(Photo: Kris Connor/Getty Images)

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Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Mississippi) - "The threat from ISIL is legitimate and serious ? and it is evident that protecting the United States and its interests from this dangerous organization should not be a partisan issue," said Thompson, ranking Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee. "While I appreciate the president for outlining a strategy for dismantling the organization, both Congress and the executive branch should understand the situation in Syria is complex, challenging, and fluid.  As we pursue action, we must make sure we thoroughly vet our Syrian allies and ensure our intelligence and information sharing efforts with our international coalition partners are robust and reciprocated.?  (Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

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Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Mississippi) - "The threat from ISIL is legitimate and serious — and it is evident that protecting the United States and its interests from this dangerous organization should not be a partisan issue," said Thompson, ranking Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee. "While I appreciate the president for outlining a strategy for dismantling the organization, both Congress and the executive branch should understand the situation in Syria is complex, challenging, and fluid.  As we pursue action, we must make sure we thoroughly vet our Syrian allies and ensure our intelligence and information sharing efforts with our international coalition partners are robust and reciprocated.” (Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Sen. Tim Scott (R-South Carolina)  - As this long and complicated process continues, let us not forget that at its core, a family and community has lost a young man ? Michael Brown. My thoughts and prayers are with his parents and those who loved him as they grieve their loss. And while I know their loss is heightened by many unanswered questions surrounding his death last August, I hope that good can come out of this tragic situation.?  (Photo: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Corbis)

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Sen. Tim Scott (R-South Carolina) - "Our world remains a dangerous place and requires America to show decisive leadership, principled strength and continuous resolve when confronted with threats like ISIS. Lest we forget, two American journalists — James Foley and Steven Sotloff — were barbarically beheaded ... and ISIS continue to show an eagerness to act brutally against religious minorities and other innocent people of the region," said Scott. “I am hopeful that the president's outline for regional partnerships to combat this continuing threat is finally signaling a willingness to strategically address the rise of ISIS.”(Photo: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Corbis)