ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl pressed White House press secretary Josh Earnest on why President Obama decided to authorize military action in Iraq and not in Syria, where considerably more people have been killed or forced from their homes.
Earnest drew attention to the “significant humanitarian intervention” in Syria by the U.S. throughout the conflict in the country. Militarily, he said the U.S. has aided in building up the moderate opposition in Syria against both the regime and extremist opposition.
Ultimately though, Earnest said, the conditions and situations in Iraq and Syria are “different,” and merit different responses.
“The president’s constantly evaluating both of these situation to determine what is in the best interest of American national security, and that is what’s driving the decision he’s making in both countries,” he said.
NBC’s Kristen Welker later revisited the subject, asking if the president felt his administration was doing enough in Syria amid the ongoing violence.
Earnest said the president recognizes the “tragic situation” in Syria and continues to work towards “an end to that suffering.”