President Obama Vows to "Destroy" Islamic State in Speech

President Obama Live ISIL Speech - H 2014
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President Obama Live ISIL Speech - H 2014

Obama has authorized airstrikes against terror group

President Obama announced that the U.S. would "lead a broad coalition" against the terror group ISIL (also known as ISIS), and that he was authorizing airstrikes against the militants in Iraq and Syria.

The president laid out a four-point strategy, including airstrikes, counter-terrorism activities, supporting foreign troops on the ground in ISIL areas and lending humanitarian assistance to displaced peoples. 

"Our objective is clear: we will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy," Obama said during a nationally televised speech Wednesday.

In addition to targeted airstrikes, 475 additional service members will be deployed to Iraq, the president said, stressing they would not be there in a combat role. 

“I want the American people to understand how this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil," he said. "This counter-terrorism campaign will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out ISIL wherever they exist, using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground."

Cable news shows greeted the speech with a mixed response. Newt Gingrich praised Obama's words as patriotic.

"It was probably the most explicitly pro-American speech he had ever made," the former House speaker said on CNN. "I think he achieved a fair amount of what he needed to do to start this process."

But on MSNBC, Iraq War veteran Paul Rieckhoff took issue with Obama saying the troops being sent overseas would not be combat troops.

"If they're on the ground, it's combat," said Rieckhoff.

Meanwhile, Fox News Channel's Megyn Kelly asked if Obama's push to leave Iraq ended up empowering ISIL.

"Did his attempt to get out of this thing, prematurely, lead us to having to go back?" she asked.

ISIL recently claimed responsibility for the beheadings of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, acts that put the group in the public spotlight.