Byrne supports U.S. airstrikes in Iraq

Published 8:47 am Friday, August 8, 2014

U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, whose district includes Escambia County, said Friday that he agrees with President Barack Obama’s decision to authorize airstrikes in Iraq.

Early Friday morning, two U.S. F/A-18 jet fighters bombed military targets in Iraq that are controlled by a Sunni Islamic extremist group called the Islamic State, and previously known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

In a statement, Byrne said he believes the president made the correct decision.

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“I support President Obama’s decision to authorize military air strikes against ISIS in Iraq,” he said. “The situation is growing more dire by the minute, and American leadership is needed now more than ever. While I want our involvement to be limited, we can no longer sit on the sidelines while a country we devoted so many American lives to falls into the hands of terrorists once again.

“ISIS has made repeated threats against the American people, both overseas and here at home. There is no doubt ISIS poses a clear threat to the United States, and the group is better funded and more extreme than al-Qaeda.

“I will continue to pray for the safety of American personnel stationed in Iraq and those who will carry out these missions against a truly dangerous enemy.”

The Islamic State has made recent inroads on U.S. interests in northern Iraq, in its Kurdish region. Before the Islamic State’s advance, the region had been widely considered among the most stable areas in Iraq.

According to Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby, the U.S. dropped several 500-pound laser-guided bombs on a “mobile artillery piece” used by the Islamic State, at about 5:45 a.m. Central Time on Friday.

On Thursday, two U.S. military cargo planes airdropped 5,300 gallons of water and 8,000 meals onto Mount Sinjar, a peak in the region where thousands of Iraqis had taken refuge from Islamic State militants, according to reports.