Local veteran reacts to airstrikes in Iraq

KIMT News 3 – After a second round of airstrikes authorized by President Obama, many say they fear this could be the start of even more military action.

For some, these airstrikes signal a strategic plan to help our humanitarian efforts in the region and keep people safe.

For others, it’s a sign that we could get more involved then we’d like to, in a conflict that we only recently distanced ourselves from.

Now there exists a delicate balance between the two differing opinions.

They’re surrounded, unarmed and fleeing from ISIS control.

Now these Yazidi Christian groups are receiving the aid they need, through military intervention.

In the span of 24 hours, six US fighter planes dropped bombs over extremists groups in Iraq, near Irbil.

In a statement on Thursday, President Obama authorized the strikes as a way to protect U.S. personnel and the Yazidi from ISIS.

“I think they should’ve called the airstrikes and air support a lot earlier,” said Gary Reinholdt of Mason City.

Reinholdt is an Iraq War veteran from 2003 to 2004 and says he believes this was the right move to help a struggling country combat the extremist groups.

“If we’re going to be a world leader looking for peace, then we need to be out there. They need to know that we’re willing to do what it takes to help bring stability to any region,” said Reinholdt.

“We put a lot of investment into Iraq and we lost a lot of lives. Soldiers are frustrated because it seems like it was all for not,” said State Rep. Josh Byrnes (R) Osage, IA.

Some say while they agree with the decision to help liberate the fleeing men, women and children, their concern is how far America will go in their humanitarian efforts.

“We need to have some sort of idea of what our involvement is and how we can handle the situation. We need to have those conversations about whether or not we get involved,” said Byrnes.

According to Byrnes, America’s foreign policy seems to be unclear at this point, even for legislators like him.

He says the partisanship in politics is fueling the lack of communication, since no one is willing to put their differences aside.

The fear on the minds of many is whether we should expect boots on the ground, but Gary says, he does not think that’s likely.

“We trained up their military enough. They just need the support and backing to help them do their jobs,” said Reinholdt.

At this point, United States government officials have insisted that any combat with ISIS groups will not be carried out by forces on the ground.

This means no additional troops will be called in to the region to assist with regaining control.

According to Pentagon officials, the United States is working to help those who have been forced to leave the region because of the violence there.

The pentagon says that 72 bundles of supplies were air-dropped to those in need.

They contained 8,000 pre-packaged meals and 5,000 gallons of drinking water.

In a statement issued by Sen. Al Franken he explains the following:

“We need to protect the Americans in our consulates and elsewhere in Iraq, and I support air drops of food and water to help the religious minorities being besieged by terrorists,” said Sen. Franken. “But this shouldn’t lead to any involvement from ground combat troops. I strongly support maximum consultation with Congress by the Obama administration, and I’ve already been in communication with the administration on what’s happening in Iraq.”

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