The Obama administration is reportedly considering airstrikes on Sunni militants who have trapped tens of thousands of people on a desolate mountaintop in Iraq.
Press secretary Josh Earnest, however, would not confirm or deny that air strikes were under consideration when he spoke with reporters on Thursday.
“I'm not in a position to shed light on the president's thinking right now,” Earnest said, adding that he could not “rule things on the table or off the table.”
Earnest said the White House was “gravely concerned” for the health and safety of the refugees, and that the United States was “working intensively with the government of Iraq” to address the crisis.
But while Earnest said the situation was “nearing a humanitarian catastrophe” and “deeply disturbing” he declined to say if addressing the situation ranked as a core U.S. interest — and thus deserving of military intervention.
“That is something we evaluate on a case by case basis,” Earnest said.