President Walking a Fine Line Sending 300 Additional Troops to Iraq

Obama makes it clear the U.S. will not be fighting a new war in Iraq, and chastises Iraqi prime minister for failing to unite his country.
3:29 | 06/19/14

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Transcript for President Walking a Fine Line Sending 300 Additional Troops to Iraq
Crisis in Iraq big developments this evening President Obama today revealing military action is on the table 300 advisor special forces being sent into Iraq. Could these Americans see combat we have team coverage tonight at the White House and in Baghdad. And we start with -- ABC's chief global affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz she's in Iraq again tonight for a -- the good evening. Good evening David clearly what the president is trying to do is keep this nation in which the United States has invested so much from collapsing. While resisting a slide back to war that he tried so hard to end. 109 fighter jets launching from -- US carrier. Back over the Iraqi skies watching the militants on the move. Today President Obama made it clear that US combat forces will not fight a new war here. But within days the first of some 300. Additional US troops military advisors will begin arriving. A move clearly aimed at bolstering the Iraqi forces that are crumbling in the face of battle. And the president today not ruling out airstrikes. We will be prepared to take targeted and precise military action if and when we determined that the situation on the ground requires -- That likely means using drones to fire on limited targets. The president did have tough words for his Iraqi counterpart -- -- -- For failing to unite Iraq's religious and ethnic factions. But the president also said there are lessons to learn from this crisis. And from the nine year war that has left deep scars on our nation what's clear from last decade is. The need for the United States to ask hard questions before we take. Action brought. And -- this -- now from Baghdad and mark that we all heard the president say today that he's prepared to send those additional American military advisors. We're talking about hundreds of them people who are they and what would they be doing. They will actually be special forces David. The 300 will divide into teams of twelve and they will actually embed with Iraqi military forces first the headquarters -- a brigade level. To help train them and advise them. And the White House has not ruled out that these advisors would actually help the Iraqis find targets for airstrikes. No combat for these American troops but I would still say David this is a dangerous. The White House not ruling out these special forces would help Iraqis find targets. For air strikes Martha points out it could be dangerous was this a surprise. Well it was in this sense -- -- we knew the president. Was likely to send some special forces to help train the Iraqis but this. Is a significantly more dangerous mission that had been widely anticipated three times as many special forces. Hasn't been reported. And David it will be embedded as you -- -- the report with Iraqi forces not just in Baghdad but also up in Northern Iraq. The president though faces a real dilemma here on one hand he wants no part of going back into Iraq War. He claims credit for ending but at the same time this group is now taking over parts of Iraq. Poses a real threat as -- retire as a former ambassador to Iraq who served under Obama said today. This group is more formidable than bin Laden's al-Qaeda at the time of September 11 attacks tough choices ahead Jon Karl Martha Raddatz thanks pupil.

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

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