by William Teach | September 8, 2015 7:10 am
On one hand, this editorial makes sense. There is a need for a war resolution/authorization for dealing with ISIS. Let’s not forget, though, that the Washington Post was a big advocate for the 2003 Iraq war, before turning against it for political purposes. On the other hand, this seems a way to Blame Congress and protect Obama
Congress should authorize war against the Islamic State
MORE THAN a year after the United States began airstrikes against the Islamic State, the results are mixed: The terrorists have been pushed back in some parts of Iraq and Syria but have expanded their territory in others, and they continue to attract recruits and inspire the creation of affiliates in countries from Afghanistan to Libya. The Obama administration has slowly ramped up its commitment of troops, its cooperation with allies and its range of operations. To all appearances, a solid majority in Congress supports this creeping escalation; many, like us, believe that President Obama should have embraced more robust measures. Extraordinarily, however, Congress has yet to vote on authorizing the conflict, leaving Mr. Obama to act on the dubious legal authority provided by the 2001 congressional vote to support action against al-Qaeda.
Obama submitted an authorization that Republicans felt was too restrictive and Democrats felt was too loose
One big reason for Congress’s failure to act has been disputes among Democrats, Republicans and the White House over what an authorization should say. Democrats would like to include limits on the scope of the war, including a ban on ground troops and an expiration date for the authority. Republicans generally reject such provisions, seeing them as improper micromanagement of military operations or as an attempt to bind the next president.
Democrats want to give authorization while hamstringing the ability to actually fight ISIS.
Lost in this debate is what should be the overriding imperative of a vote to authorize the war. Those who insist on conditionality ensure only that the president will continue to act on authority that is as expansive as it is thin.
So, wait, the Post is now saying they don’t like Obama taking on so much power unilaterally? Where were they in condemning all his other expansions of power?
But, it does look like the WPEB is suddenly in warmongeville, eh?
Encouragingly, a bipartisan war authorization draft has emerged in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Crafted by Sens. Timothy M. Kaine (D-Va.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), it attempts to bridge the gap between the two parties’ positions with language that discourages the use of “significant” ground troops against the Islamic State while stopping short of an explicit ban. Importantly, it does not limit the war geographically, making action against Islamic State affiliates in places such as Libya possible; and it authorizes action against any entity that “presents a direct threat” to “forces trained by the coalition,” which would cover potential action to defend Syrian rebels against the Assad regime.
Of course, they can’t make it simple, like
WHEREAS, The Islamic State has committed repeated acts of war against the Government and the people of the United States of America; therefore, be it resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the state of war between the United States and the Islamic State, which has thus been thrust upon the United States, is hereby formally declared; and that the President be, and he is hereby, authorized and directed to employ the entire naval and military forces of the United States and the resources of the Government to carry on war against the Islamic State; and to bring the conflict to a successful termination all the resources of the country are hereby pledged by the Congress of the United States
It used to be pretty darned simple: you messed with the United States, we declared war and beat you. Even the authorizations for military action, as opposed to full war, tended to be simple things.
Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.
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