President Obama is authorizing targeted U.S. airstrikes if necessary in Iraq to protect U.S. personnel in Iraq.

Addressing the nation from the White House, the President said he also ordered humanitarian airdrops to help thousands of Iraqis who are stranded atop a mountain.

The Iraqis became trapped after fleeing a violent surge by Islamist militants in northwest Iraq. The stranded Iraqis have been in desperate need of food, water and medical supplies.

The President called the militants "terrorists" who are targeting religious minorities with ruthless aggression. He said the U.S. cannot turn a blind eye to potential acts of genocide.

Meantime, Obama again called on Iraqi leaders to take steps to create a more inclusive government. He also assured the American people that he will not allow the U.S. to be dragged into another war in Iraq.  (Metro Networks Inc.)