AMEILIA, Ohio – President Barack Obama authorized U.S. limited airstrikes in northern Iraq Thursday night, warning they would be launched if needed to defend Americans from advancing Islamic militants and protect civilians under siege.
His announcement threatened a renewal of U.S. military involvement in the country's long sectarian war.
In Clermont County, where its residents say patriotism runs deep, Obama’s announcement met mixed reaction.
"Limited bombings? They need to step it up," said Howard Daugherty, a Vietnam veteran who heads the Clermont County Veterans Service Commission.
Amelia resident Mike Allen, who served four years in the Army, said he agrees.
"I think… the president's trying to make the American people feel good that we're doing something,” Allen said. “We're not actually putting forth as much effort as should be."
Hundreds of Clermont County residents have served in Iraq, and 12 of them have died in two campaigns.
Obama acknowledged Thursday that the prospect of a new round of U.S. military action would be a cause for concern among many Americans.
He vowed anew not to put American combat troops back on the ground in Iraq and said there was no U.S. military solution to the crisis.
"As commander in chief, I will not allow the United States to be dragged into fighting another war in Iraq," Obama said.
Daugherty said he was happy with Obama’s decision not to send troops back on Iraq’s soil.
“Those people have been fighting for years and years and years and years,” he said.
But Union Township resident Keith Maupin, whose son was captured and killed while serving in Iraq, said he thinks air strikes aren’t enough.
"What good is that going to do without sending troops in after the fact?” Maupin said. "You're not going to accomplish anything except blowing holes in the ground."
Obama spoke Thursday following a day of urgent discussions with his national security team. He addressed the nation only after American military aircrafts delivering food and water to the Iraqis had safely left the drop site in northern Iraq.
The planes delivered 5,300 gallons of fresh drinking water and 8,000 pre-packaged meals and were over the drop area for less than 15 minutes at a low altitude.
Clermont County veterans each supported Obama’s decision to provide humanitarian aid for the Iraqis fleeing the extremists
"They have no food, no water, almost nothing,” Daugherty said. “We have to do something. It's what America does."