What Is The White House Doing To Address The Humanitarian Crisis In Iraq?

White House declines to say whether President Obama is weighing airstrikes or airdrops.
6:34 | 08/07/14

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Transcript for What Is The White House Doing To Address The Humanitarian Crisis In Iraq?
I wanna -- -- back to Iraq and its terminology here you said that. The president would -- for a core American objective. And in America's interest. We've now -- -- situation we've had a series of Christian towns that have been effectively ethnically cleansed. And place a situation where at were religious minorities. Have been given a choice of -- slaughter. Or leave or convert to Islam. Is preventing. The kind of humanitarian catastrophe. Which you said. Appears to be. At hand. A core American objective. Well there are times where the president has taken military action. Sometimes in concert with our allies. To protect. Innocent vulnerable civilian populations. From slaughter or other dire humanitarian situations. That occurred in Libya -- -- -- where. Qaddafi -- army was. Speeding toward -- Ghazi promising to carry out of the slaughter innocent civilians. When presented with that information the president did order military action. We evaluated to -- circumstances on a case by case basis each of them is different each of them has their own. Potential. Consequences. And unique set of complications. We have been very clear about -- How disturbing we find this dire humanitarian situation that exists in Iraq right now. We are seeing Christians being persecuted because their religious beliefs. We're seeing -- CDs. Be persecuted. Because of their religious and ethnic. Identity. There is one particular situation that we are concerned about there is a Melton. Near -- -- where there are reports that thousands of these CDs are currently trapped under a mountain have been for a couple of days now. They are unable to access food and water they don't have any access to shelter. And they are they have fled persecution. And and efforts to leave the mountain or blocked. By -- forces who are vowing to killed. That is -- this is a terrible. Humanitarian situation in one that is of great concern here to the United States. Social -- just get back to my my question. Without without that I -- historic context of Libya and all but specifically this preventing. Ethnic religious cleansing of that type you have just described is that it core American troops preventing that kind of slaughter. Ethnic religious based slaughter. In America scored that is something that we evaluate only on a case by case basis clearly this kind of there have been situations again to to go back to history here. There have been situations where this kind of ethnic slaughter and cleansing can have a very destabilizing impact on a broader region. And that is how that is one way in which a humanitarian situation. I'm could have. Broader. Implications for not just a country where this is occurring. But for the countries in the region -- -- other countries around the globe. So I'm not in a position to further described characterize this situation beyond a pointing out how deeply disturbing it is. But it is something that we are closely. Monitor and -- or leave it spent about two months since crisis took over Mosul. There -- -- a lot of talk here about preparations for potential military action which did not happen. In in the inner city two months crisis has taken over more territory in Iraq. It's taken over more border crossings. Of the Syrian border it's taken over -- major oil refinery is now taken over the largest dam in Iraq giving it. You know control over over vast areas of electricity and what is the United States doing about this what what what where is the American leadership on this. Well John the thing that's important again and it's important for all your viewers understand this that there are no military solutions. To be very difficult problems that exist in Iraq now. Dean the American people cannot solve this problem for the Iraqi People. The only solution that exists is Iraqi political solution that was true six weeks ago and it's true today. And that's why that's that's why -- the United States stands ready to support the Iraqi Government and the Iraqi People. Win and inclusive. Iraqi Government is formed. But the the Iraqi and Kurdish forces have been over wrong quite easily it seems bias is not what I understand the point you have made there's no American military solution. What is -- keep -- the State's tolerate. A terrorist group a terrorist group linked to al-Qaeda. Having control over a vast area of Iraq and end of Syria and -- access to resources that we've never seen a terrorist group have access to. Oil financial military resources. This is that's why this -- the Iraqi and Kurdish forces have been over wrong quite easily it seems biases and I want to understand. The point you -- me that there's no American military solution. What is that could keep -- the other states tolerate. Well the president has not demonstrated any sort of unwillingness to act when necessary. To counter. Terror threats that may pose. A significant risk to American personnel. Or American interest or even the American homeland is a threat. Well again John I'm not a position to offer that kind of assessment from here but this is a situation that we're looking at very closely. There's this is situation -- American. And members of the military are on the ground reviewing very closely. What is. Most important about the situation is that this is a complicated problem that exists right now in Iraq. And if we want to confront this problem what we need is we need for Iraqis Iraq's political leadership to step forward. Put in place. The kind of reforms that would allow for the creation of an inclusive government that would unify the people of Iraq. And unifier -- security forces to confront this threat after this is a -- right now that is an existential threat to the people of Iraq. And that's why the United States stands ready to support the people of Iraq in an inclusive government of Iraq to defeat this threat posed --

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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