NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – With United States warplanes launching a second wave of airstrikes in northern Iraq on Friday, New Rochelle residents expressed exasperation that national leaders are once again middling with affairs in the Middle East.
On Thursday, President Barack Obama authorized “targeted airstrikes” to protect American international interests from militant fighters from the Islamic State for Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
In New Rochelle, Ricky Lasko was incredulous that the president would authorize more American force in Iraq, even if the dissenters were approaching assets in the Kurdish region to the north.
Earlier this week, several towns were taken over from the Kurdish fighting force, more commonly known as the Peshmerga.
“Right when we get out, we find ourselves storming back in with these airstrikes, I thought it was something of a bluff. I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “It’s important to protect ourselves and our allies, but there has to be a better way.”
According to reports, the second set of strikes was piloted remotely, striking an important ISIS vantage point with massive, laser-guided bombs. A third set of strikes on Friday struck a vehicle compound near Erbil, John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman, confirmed in a statement from Washington D.C.
“I’m pleased that we’re not risking more American lives and are just striking from afar, but it’s important we get this under control,” Mount Vernon-native Kevin Phillips said while shopping in New Rochelle on Friday. “They’re an upstart little group of soldiers, but I think flexing our might will slow them down.”
The Islamic militants have been rapidly advancing north toward the Kurdish capital, capturing the country’s largest dam and several towns, often forcing religious refugees into the mountains, where the conditions are not conducive to survival.
The American intervention in Iraq marks the first military action in the country since the troops returned home nearly three years ago.
“We know some soldiers that have returned from (the Middle East) and hearing about this makes you nervous that we’re going to get wrapped up in it,” Marcia Lewis said near City Hall. “There needs to be a line drawn, and we shouldn’t be getting involved.”