The Obama administration announced Friday it plans to conduct military operations inside Syria.
Benjamin Rhodes mentions alleged ISIS video as he announces possible military action inside Syria. The video does not show the beheading of James Foley.
Benjamin J. Rhodes, a top Obama national security adviser, said the United States will “do what is necessary” in Syria following the unverified murder of freelance photojournalist James Foley.
“If you come against Americans, we are going to come after you,” Rhodes said from Martha’s Vineyard where Obama is on vacation.
Rhodes did not outline a specific plan. “We’re actively considering what’s going to be necessary in dealing with that threat,” Rhodes said. “We’re not going to be restricted by borders.”
“I think the American people understand that this president is very deliberate about military action,” Rhodes added. “The American people also understand that there are some threats that have to be dealt with.”
“We will take direct action against terrorists that threaten the United States.”
It is unclear if the unverified murder of James Foley and the administration’s characterization of it as a terror attack against the United States will drum up the consensus required to wage a protracted war against ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
Following weeks of coverage on the brutal terror group, a Washington Post/ABC News poll showed that 54 percent supported strikes hitting ISIS in Iraq, while 39 percent oppose them.
In September, a poll conducted by Gallup revealed the American people were largely opposed to military action in Syria. An earlier poll conducted in March of 2013 showed nearly 70% of surveyed Americans opposed a military effort to “end the conflict” if “all economic and diplomatic efforts fail to end the civil war in Syria.”
An effort by the Obama administration to gain consensus following an allegation that Syria had used chemical weapons failed.
It was later discovered that the al-Assad government had not used chemical weapons. The use of the weapons was later attributed to the al-Nusra Front, an Islamist mercenary group fighting against the Syrian government.
On Thursday the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Martin E. Dempsey, said the only option in response to ISIS would be to conduct military operations in Syria.
“This is an organization that has an apocalyptic end-of-days strategic vision that will eventually have to be defeated,” Dempsey said. “Can they be defeated without addressing that part of the organization that resides in Syria? The answer is no.”