09 Aug 14. Two days after authorizing targeted U.S. airstrikes in Iraq, President Barack Obama said that while the United States will continue to do “whatever is needed” to protect Americans in the country, he will not allow the nation to become involved in another full-blown war there. In his weekly address, Obama said the two goals of the airstrikes — to protect American diplomats and military advisors from advancing Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists and to get humanitarian aid to civilians who have fled from ISIL in Iraq’s northern region — could continue for some time. “Thursday night, I made clear if that if they attempted to advance further, our military would respond with targeted strikes. That’s what we’ve done. And if necessary, that’s what we will continue to do,” he told the nation. To the west, minority Christians and members of the Yezidi sect have fled Kurdish territory, with thousands stranded in inhospitable conditions on Sinjar Mountain, starving and dying of thirst, Obama said. Airdrops of humanitarian aid began Aug. 7 to prevent what Obama called a possible genocide and of an entire religious community. “The food and water we airdropped will help them survive. I’ve also approved targeted American airstrikes to help Iraqi forces break the siege and rescue these families,” he said in his weekly address today, casting the situation as so dire that “when we have the ability to help prevent it, the United States can’t just look away.” But Obama drew a line at becoming involved in a new war in Iraq, almost three years after withdrawing the last combat troops from the country. “As commander in chief, I will not allow the United States to be dragged into fighting another war in Iraq,” he said. “American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq, because there’s no American military solution to the larger crisis there.” He saluted those involved in the ongoing operations, “especially our courageous pilots and crews protecting our fellow Americans,” who he said also are “helping save the lives of innocent people on a mountain –people who know that there’s a country called America that cares for them.” Since dispatching 300 U.S. military advisors to Iraq in June to help the Baghdad government confront rapidly advancing ISIL terrorists, Obama has insisted that the solution to the Iraqi crisis must be political through the formation of a new Iraqi government that brings in minority Sunnis and Kurds in addition to Shiites, who have ruled since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. (Source: US DoD)
07 Aug 14. In a Marketing Coup, Scorpion Joins Guard Exercise.
The Textron AirLand Scorpion doesn’t yet have a buyer, but that hasn’t stopped the plane from taking part in a major National Guard training exercise this week. Billed as an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) plane with strike capabilities, the jet provided live video feed during Vigilant Guard 2014, which brought several Guard units to Kansas to run through various emergency scenarios. A non-Guard plane as part of a major exercise? That’s “a first for me,” said Paul Weaver, a former head of the Air National Guard who is now an advisor on the Scorpion program. So why was Scorpion allowed to participate? For one thing, the company picked up the tab, Weaver said. It also helped that Kansas is the Scorpion team’s home state. Weaver said that the state’s Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Lee Tafanelli, was aware of the plane sitting in his backyard and had been briefed on its capabilities. Both the Guard and Textron benefit from Scorpion’s participation. The Guard gets full-motion video of the proceedings, as if a company funded overhead video at the Super Bowl and gave it to the television network covering the game, no downside and a better product. In the first two days of the exercise, Scorpion logged over seven hours of mission activity, which largely focused on providing streaming overwatch video to commanders on the g