President Barack Obama on Thursday authorized airstrikes to stem the advances of extremists in Iraq.
The president said fights from the group calling itself the Islamic State are forcing religious minorities to flee and are threatening a genocide of certain sects.
He also said the militants are threatening a city where America has a large diplomatic mission, and the U.S. is obligated to protect these areas.
However, he made a point to explain that any military action will be limited and should not dovetail into a larger war.
"As commander-in-chief, I will not allow the United States to be dragged into fighting another war in Iraq," Obama said. "And so even as we support Iraqis as they take the fight to these terrorists, American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq."
Meanwhile, at the request of Iraqi officials, the U.S. government has already begun to supply humanitarian aid to Iraqi civilians who are under threat or have been forced to leave their homes.
The aid began after extremists seized Iraq's largest dam, giving them control of a major power and water source for Baghdad.