U.S. Airstrikes in Iraq to Protect Mosul Dam

ABC News' Terry Moran and ret. Col. Steve Ganyard on the latest developments in Iraq after airstrikes near the Mosul dam.
4:01 | 08/17/14

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Transcript for U.S. Airstrikes in Iraq to Protect Mosul Dam
Now, our "Closer look." Breaking developments in the crisis in Iraq. The U.S. Launching another round of air strikes. This morning, there are real fears that the Isis jihadist army is gaining momentum. Chief foreign correspondent terry Moran has the very latest from northern Iraq. Good morning, terry. Reporter: Good morning, Martha. The main battle in Iraq is about 80 miles west from here. U.s. Air power supporting kurdish troops on the ground in an effort to retake the huge dam outside of mosul. Which, in Isis' hands, is a potential for mass destruction. U.s. And Iraqi officials are deeply concerned that Isis might blow up the dam that could release a wall of water 60 feet high through the city of mosul. And flood Baghdad, 250 miles away. The new U.S. Strikes are aimed at breaking the Isis juggernaut. They've got all the initiative right now. More than one-third of Iraq is under Isis control. Including major cities like mosul, fallujah and tel afar. Much of the border between Iraq and Syria is in their control, as well. Everywhere they go, they spread terror in the name of their god. On Friday, another massacre of yazidis. Scores of men killed. Women and children kidnapped. We spoke with man from that same village. He fled with his family, ten children, this week. We showed him pictures of the atrocity. There is no place in Iraq for us anymore, he told us. As they squat outside of the already full U.N. Refugee camp, there is no place for them to go. For "This week," terry Moran. Let's break down the strategy can colonel Steve ganyard, ABC contributor. Let's talk about the air strikes. This goes beyond moving people, it seems. It's been an incredible week for American air power. Think about what we have done in a few dozen strikes. We have held erbil. Presented a fall of kurdistan. Reprevented an -- a near disaster on the top of mount sinjan. Opened up an escape route for the refugees. We're conducting strikes around the mosul dam in an attempt to prevent a disaster. That could affect hundreds of thousands of people. The president said these strikes will be only used for humanitarian purposes. And only to protect U.S. Citizens. Air power cannot defeat an ideology. It's still up to the Iraqi government to beat Isis. What happens going forward? Air power alone can't do it. You're a pilot. You -- you know that, I think. You're right. Just things -- the only thing the U.S. Air power will be used for is things that will protect U.S. Citizens. People in erbil or the consulate there or in Baghdad, or if there's another humanitarian problem. The white house has no stated strategy against Isis itself. It remains the responsibility of the Iraqi government to use the U.S. Air power as a crutch to stand up on its own two feet and push Isis back across the border again. I want to read something quickly. I saw a tweet of yours this week that caught my eye. The tweet said yesterday, a $28 million American reaper shot a $70,000 hellfire that brew up a $600,000 map that was given to Iraq, stolen by Isis. Your tax dollars at work. Your comment? We spent hundreds of millions and a decade training the Iraqi army only to watch them fail at the first test. And lots of U.S. Equipment fall back into Isis' hands. Unfortunately, the American taxpayer gets the bill coming and going.

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

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