President Barack Obama on Wednesday submitted to Congress a formal request seeking authorization for his use of military force campaign against the Islamic State militants, a group posing threat to the region’s stability, Iraq and Syria as well as the national security of the United States.
Unlike his predecessors, Mr. Obama asked Congress to limit the commander in chief’s ability to use U.S military forces for “enduring offensive ground combat operations”. The three-page resolution has a three-year expiry period and compels the president to give Congress a report about the fight’s progress “at least” after every six months.
The proposed legislation rules out sustained, intensive ground combat like that of Iraq and Afghanistan. The three-year limit imposed on American action against ISIS will be undertaken mainly from the air and was broadcasted on cnn live. The authorization is poised to revoke the expansive 2002 legislation that authorized the war in Iraq. However, the 2001 separate congressional measure that authorized the president to wage war against Al Qaeda and its affiliates will remain in place. This means that President Obama and the next president have the liberty to order military force operations in the name of combating terrorism.
Even though the president’s proposed legislation to Capitol Hill would impose restrictions on his power, his proposal has raised a fierce debate in Congress. On one hand, the liberal democrats claim that the existing 2001 measure and the resolutions in Mr. Obama’s proposal are very flexible and leave the president unrestricted. On the other hand, Republicans feel that president Barack Obama had outlined numerous limits on the war against the Islamic State militants.
Somehow, the president’s proposal has been termed by some critics as contradicting and a clear reflection of how Mr. Obama has been managing the Situation Room for the last six years. The president has on several occasions sought to end the nation’s “perpetual war footing,” as he likes to call it, and restricts the president’s power to use military force — even though he availed himself to and expanded the authority he inherited from Mr. Bush.
“In a way, that’s been the story of his presidency,” said Jack Goldsmith, a Harvard Law School professor who, as a top lawyer in Mr. Bush’s Justice Department, was at the heart of the last administration’s debates about presidential power. “He’s been talking during his entire presidency about wanting to restrain himself. But in practice, he’s been expanding his power.”
President Barack Obama’s move to limit war power is something that his predecessors never did. As a matter of fact, presidents openly resist congressional infringement and emphasize on their power to order the military into war.
On Tuesday, House and Senate leaders said they are looking forward to heated debates and floor votes on the AUMF. Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader said on the Senate floor on Wednesday “the Senate will review the president’s request thoughtfully. Individual senators and committees of jurisdiction will review it carefully, and they’ll listen closely to the advice of military commanders as they consider the best strategy for defeating ISIL.”
Mr. Obama has the backing of the existing legal authority to carry out operations against the terror group, ISIL or ISIS and his proposal is an important step in defining the US role in the fight.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that Mr. Obama has taken an important measure in stating the U.S role in combating the militia group, ISIL. Now the Democrats and Republicans will have to do something extraordinary in fighting the Islamic State militants: debate and vote in favor of the mission.
“Voting to authorize the use of military force is one of the most important actions Congress can take, and while there will be differences, it is my hope that we will fulfill our constitutional responsibility, and in a bipartisan way, pass an authorization that allows us to confront this serious threat,” Corker said.