Defense, House News, Senate News

Pres. Obama asks Congress to approve force against ISIL

President Obama speaking to military families in 2013 (Photo by U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class David Mosley)
President Obama speaking to military families in 2013 (Photo by U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class David Mosley)

In a letter sent to Capitol Hill Wednesday, President Obama has asked Congress to approve his request to use force against the terrorist group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

According to the official AUMF (authorization for use of military force), the president is asking Congress to approve a plan that would allow military use against the group for up to three years, but would permit the U.S. military from putting actual boots on the ground. The AUMF also would require the president to give reports to Congress every six months regarding what specific actions have been taken against ISIL under the approval of the authorization (the official request can be found here).

The following is a portion of President Obama’s letter to request (as found on the White House website), where he details what approval of this AUMF would allow him to do:

My Administration’s draft AUMF would not authorize long‑term, large-scale ground combat operations like those our Nation conducted in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Local forces, rather than U.S. military forces, should be deployed to conduct such operations.  The authorization I propose would provide the flexibility to conduct ground combat operations in other, more limited circumstances, such as rescue operations involving U.S. or coalition personnel or the use of special operations forces to take military action against ISIL leadership.  It would also authorize the use of U.S. forces in situations where ground combat operations are not expected or intended, such as intelligence collection and sharing, missions to enable kinetic strikes, or the provision of operational planning and other forms of advice and assistance to partner forces.

Shortly after the White House announced its request, the office of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) released a statement saying the president’s request falls short of “a robust authorization.” More below:

ISIL is at war with our country and our allies.  If we are going to defeat this enemy, we need a comprehensive military strategy and a robust authorization, not one that limits our options.  Any authorization for the use of military force must give our military commanders the flexibility and authorities they need to succeed and protect our people.  While I believe an AUMF against ISIL is important, I have concerns that the president’s request does not meet this standard.  Now we will begin hearings and rigorous oversight so lawmakers and the public can provide their input.  Ultimately, our objective is to show the world that the United States is resolute in our commitment to destroy ISIL.

On the Senate side, majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) said the Senate would review the president’s request “thoughtfully” and would seek the advise and consideration of military leaders. You can see Sen. McConnell’s full comments below from his YouTube channel (everyone has one nowadays it seems, don’t they?)

The request is the first formal presidential request to use military force sent to Congress since President George W. Bush asked and received permission back in 2002 to invade Iraq. According to Yahoo!News, there is no timetable as of yet for Congress to consider and approve President Obama’s request for authorization.

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