WASHINGTON (WAVY) – CNN is reporting the U.S. is planning to move USS George H.W. Bush into the Persian Gulf Friday to possibly aid in the ongoing situation in Iraq.
The aircraft carrier, homeported in Norfolk, deployed to the Arabian Gulf and the Mediterranean in February from Naval Station Norfolk.
An official reportedly told CNN the move will provide President Obama with options for “possible airstrikes against militants in Iraq.” The move did not mean the decision was final, the report said.
President Obama said Friday during a news conference there will be no U.S. troops on the ground in Iraq, but the U.S. is contemplating other options.
“We’ll be monitoring the situation in Iraq very carefully over the next several days. Our top priority will remain being vigilant against any threats to our personnel serving overseas,” he said.
Insurgents have taken control of several key cities in Iraq and are planning to move to Baghdad. The incidents have caused an outcry from politicians in Washington.
Republican Congressman Scott Rigell of the House Armed Services Committee said he opposed any more military intervention in Iraq.
“I would be opposed to airstrikes. I think it’s a further engagement in a troubled region. We have done enough and the future of that country must be shaped by the will of the Iraqi people. We have paid a disproportionate price. Our entire region has,” he said.
Statement from Governor Terry McAuliffe:
Virginia is lucky to be home to so many servicemen and women and their families who put their lives on the line to keep our Commonwealth and country safe. Dorothy and I are grateful for the service of the men and women aboard the USS George H.W. Bush and on military assignments across the globe, and we are praying for a quick and safe conclusion to this latest period of unrest in Iraq.
Statement from Congressman J. Randy Forbes:
The crew of the USS George H.W. Bush serve this country with skill and distinction, and all Americans can be proud of their Navy and its sailors. I share the concerns of many Americans that this Administration’s weakness, from the Middle East to Eastern Europe to our southern border, continues to jeopardize our national security.