WASHINGTON—In an effort to reassure a weary American public, President Obama said Friday that his decision to authorize airstrikes to protect Iraqi Kurds and besieged Yazidi minorities was not the beginning of a slippery slope toward other humanitarian interventions. “Many are concerned that these strikes could lead to responding in a compassionate, principled manner to a host of other crises in the world, but I cannot and will not permit that to happen,” the president said at a press conference, emphasizing that the strike would not deteriorate into involvement on behalf of other oppressed peoples anywhere else on the globe. “As commander-in-chief, I can assure the American people that this is a limited-scale mission of mercy that will in no way take us down the road to stepping in on behalf of other persecuted groups. Nobody wants that.” At press time, polls suggested that the U.S. populace was divided on the airstrikes, and even supporters worried that humanitarian interventions had a way of getting out of hand.