The following statement was released by the White House today after President Obama spoke from Massachusetts on what occurred in Ferguson, Missouri,
when Michael Brown was killed by a police officer, and what he has ordered, and the status of Iraq.. It is shared unedited here:
BY THE PRESIDENT
12:49 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. This sound system is really
powerful. Today, I’d like to update the American people on two issues
that I’ve been monitoring closely
these last several days.
of all, we continue to make progress in carrying out our targeted
military operations in Iraq. Last week, I authorized two limited
our people and facilities inside of Iraq, and a humanitarian operation
to help save thousands of Iraqi civilians stranded on a mountain.
week ago, we assessed that many thousands of Yezidi men, women and
children had abandoned their possessions to take refuge on Mount Sinjar
in a desperate
attempt to avoid slaughter. We also knew that ISIL terrorists were
killing and enslaving Yezidi civilians in their custody, and laying
siege to the mountain. Without food or water, they faced a terrible
choice -- starve on the mountain, or be slaughtered
on the ground. That’s when America came to help.
the last week, the U.S. military conducted humanitarian air drops every
night –- delivering more than 114,000 meals and 35,000 gallons of fresh
We were joined in that effort by the United Kingdom, and other allies
pledged support. Our military was able to successfully strike ISIL
targets around the mountain, which improved conditions for civilians to
evacuate the mountain safely.
a small team of Americans -– military and civilian -– completed their
review of the conditions on the mountain. They found that food and
have been reaching those in need, and that thousands of people have
been evacuating safely each and every night. The civilians who remain
continue to leave, aided by Kurdish forces and Yezidis who are helping
to facilitate the safe passage of their families.
So the bottom line is, is that the situation on the mountain has
greatly improved and Americans should be very proud of our efforts.
of the skill and professionalism of our military –- and the generosity
of our people –- we broke the ISIL siege of Mount Sinjar; we helped
people reach safety; and we helped save many innocent lives. Because
of these efforts, we do not expect there to be an additional operation
to evacuate people off the mountain, and it’s unlikely that we’re going
to need to continue humanitarian air drops
on the mountain. The majority of the military personnel who conducted
the assessment will be leaving Iraq in the coming days. And I just want
to say that as Commander-in-Chief, I could not be prouder of the men
and women of our military who carried out this
humanitarian operation almost flawlessly. I’m very grateful to them
and I know that those who were trapped on that mountain are
extraordinarily grateful as well.
the situation remains dire for Iraqis subjected to ISIL’s terror
throughout the country, and this includes minorities like Yezidis and
it also includes Sunnis, Shia and Kurds. We’re going to be working
with our international partners to provide humanitarian assistance to
those who are suffering in northern Iraq wherever we have capabilities
and we can carry out effective missions like the
one we carried out on Mount Sinjar without committing combat troops on
obviously feel a great urge to provide some humanitarian relief to the
situation and I’ve been very encouraged by the interest of our
partners in helping on these kinds of efforts as well. We will
continue air strikes to protect our people and facilities in Iraq. We
have increased the delivery of military assistance to Iraqi and Kurdish
forces fighting ISIL on the front lines.
perhaps most importantly, we are urging Iraqis to come together to turn
the tide against ISIL –- above all, by seizing the enormous opportunity
forming a new, inclusive government under the leadership of Prime
Minister-designate Abadi. I had a chance to speak to Prime
Minister-designate Abadi a few days ago, and he spoke about the need for
the kind of inclusive government -- a government that speaks
to all the people of Iraq -- that is needed right now. He still has a
challenging task in putting a government together, but we are modestly
hopeful that the Iraqi government situation is moving in the right
second, I want to address something that’s been in the news over the
last couple of days and that’s the situation in Ferguson, Missouri. I
many Americans have been deeply disturbed by the images we’ve seen in
the heartland of our country, as police have clashed with people
protesting. Today, I’d like us all to take a step back and think about
how we’re going to be moving forward.
morning, I received a thorough update on the situation from Attorney
General Eric Holder, who has been following it and been in communication
his team. I’ve already tasked the Department of Justice and the FBI to
independently investigate the death of Michael Brown, along with local
officials on the ground.
Department of Justice is also consulting with local authorities about
ways that they can maintain public safety without restricting the right
protest and while avoiding unnecessary escalation. I made clear to the
Attorney General that we should do what is necessary to help determine
exactly what happened, and to see that justice is done.
also just spoke with Governor Jay Nixon of Missouri. I expressed my
concern over the violent turn that events have taken on the ground, and
that now is the time for all of us to reflect on what’s happened, and
to find a way to come together going forward. He is going to be
traveling to Ferguson. He is a good man and a fine governor, and I’m
confident that, working together, he is going to be
able to communicate his desire to make sure that justice is done and
his desire to make sure that public safety is maintained in an
course, it’s important to remember how this started. We lost a young
man, Michael Brown, in heartbreaking and tragic circumstances. He was
old. His family will never hold Michael in their arms again. And when
something like this happens, the local authorities –- including the
police -– have a responsibility to be open and transparent about how
they are investigating that death, and how they
are protecting the people in their communities.
is never an excuse for violence against police, or for those who would
use this tragedy as a cover for vandalism or looting. There’s also no
for police to use excessive force against peaceful protests, or to
throw protestors in jail for lawfully exercising their First Amendment
rights. And here, in the United States of America, police should not be
bullying or arresting journalists who are just
trying to do their jobs and report to the American people on what they
see on the ground. Put simply, we all need to hold ourselves to a high
standard, particularly those of us in positions of authority.
know that emotions are raw right now in Ferguson and there are
certainly passionate differences about what has happened. There are
going to be different
accounts of how this tragedy occurred. There are going to be
differences in terms of what needs to happen going forward. That’s part
of our democracy. But let’s remember that we’re all part of one
American family. We are united in common values, and that
includes belief in equality under the law; a basic respect for public
order and the right to peaceful public protest; a reverence for the
dignity of every single man, woman and child among us; and the need for
accountability when it comes to our government.
now is the time for healing. Now is the time for peace and calm on the
streets of Ferguson. Now is the time for an open and transparent
see that justice is done. And I’ve asked that the Attorney General and
the U.S. Attorney on the scene continue to work with local officials to
move that process forward. They will be reporting to me in the coming
days about what’s being done to make sure
Thanks very much, everybody.
PHOTO CREDIT: (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) A protester kicks a smoke grenade, that had been deployed by police, back in the direction of police on Aug. 13, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo.
Labels: Edgartown, Ferguson, Iraq, Massachusetts, Michael Brown, Missouri, President Obama