News National/International

President Sending More Troops To Combat Islamic State


President Barack Obama is sending 475 more U.S. troops into Iraq to supplement an existing American military presence that is helping Iraqi security forces battle Islamic State militants and secure diplomatic facilities.

Obama announced the additional forces Wednesday in a broadcast address from the White House, as part of an expanded offensive against the Islamic State group in Iraq and in Syria.

The new troops would join more than 1,000 U.S. military personnel in Iraq and would be embedded with Iraqi security forces and help identify targets for U.S. military airstrikes against the extremist group

The president said the military campaign will not involve American combar troops on the ground.

The U.S. already has more than 750 U.S. military personnel supporting diplomatic security at facilities in Baghdad and nearly 300 at joint operating centers in Baghdad and Irbil.

Obama says it will take time to eradicate Islamic State extremists but is offering no timetable for how long the United States will conduct airstrikes against the group in Iraq and Syria.

The president said that any time the United States takes military action, there are risks involved, particularly for the members of the military who carry out the missions.

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville) of Illinois' 13th Congressional District said he supported many of the president's actions, "including increasing the number of air strikes on ISIL in both Iraq and Syria, ensuring the Iraqi government is stabilized and building a coalition of nations to unite against an enemy of freedom and in the name of humanity." But he said any future expansion of the fight against the Islamic State should be brought before Congress.

U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzsinger (R-Channahon) of Illinois' 16th District --- and an Air Force veteran who served in Iraq -- also expressed support for the increased presence in Iraq.

"Our chief aim must be the destruction of ISIS, and no options should be off the table," said Kinzinger in a news release.

In a statement from U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, the Illinois Democrat said, "I am heartened that the President is building a strong coalition of partner nations to join us in this fight, and that we will count on Iraqi and other ground forces which will confront ISIL with our direction, equipment and air support.  There are still questions to be answered in the days ahead as Congress reviews the President's strategy and considers its Constitutional responsibility when our nation faces this type of military decision."

U.S. Rep. Andre Carson, a Democrat representing Indiana's 7th District --- and one of two Muslims serving in Congress --  said he supported the president's efforts, but,like Davis, wanted any future expansion to be brought before Congress first.

"After more than a decade of war, the American people are not prepared for another prolonged conflict", said Carson. "I will hesitate to provide any additional authorization without significant consultation.”