Carlo Angerer, September 11, 2014
Christians who have fled the bloody
campaign of ISIS in Iraq said U.S. plans to snuff out the Sunni
militants will not be enough and that American combat troops are their
President Barack Obama
pledged overnight to lead a "broad coalition" of allies to tackle the
threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham - but without American
That disappointed many on the ground in northern Iraq, who told NBC News they want boots on the ground.
"Only Americans can fix
it," said one man taking shelter in an unfinished building in Erbil, a
city of 1.5 million that has become a safe haven for religious minorities who have escaped
and fled religious persecution at the hands of ISIS militants. "They
should just send their soldiers into Iraq and Syria, not just fight from
He and others, who
requested anonymity out of fear for their lives, said they do not see
how local, Iraqi forces can defeat the extremists.
"I was with the Iraqi
army in Mosul for four years and I can tell you we did not do anything,
just collected a salary," said the man, who fled from the Christian town
of Qaraqosh. Qaraqosh, once a town of 40,000, has been terrorized by
ISIS fighters amassing power and laying down harsh Sharia law.
"We're happy that the U.S. is conducting air strikes," another man said. "But it's not enough. We need something to happen now."
Obama has stressed that
U.S. involvement will not lead to a repeat of the Iraq war - but some
Christians who spoke to NBC News waxed nostalgic for those times.
"When the Americans were in Mosul, we had no problems," another man said. "When they left, the troubles started."