On Wednesday, the president announced and sent to Congress a joint resolution authorizing the use of military force to combat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). What on the surface seemed to be a lay-up in terms of bi-partisan legislation that would pass the House and Senate with little opposition, has turned into a political “no man’s land” in terms of the delicate intricacies of war.
The language of the authorization bill is sparse & vague as far as the mission is concerned, which concerns anti-war Democrats who want the possibility of ground troops explicitly outlawed. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) believes, for example, that coalition forces in the region can handle the threat on the ground anyway.
On the other side of the isle, Republican hawks are baffled by language in the document which is not vague at all, and states that, “the use of military force shall terminate three years after the date of the enactment of this joint resolution, unless reauthorized. . . .The Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 is hereby repealed.”
House Speaker John Boehner certainly doesn’t support a new AUMF which “ties (the president’s) hands even further”. He wants to “fight the war wherever it is” and for as long as it takes. The resolution states the opposite, which is that it “does not authorize the use of the United States Armed Forces in enduring offensive ground combat operations.”
Who ever said that fighting ISIS was an issue that Democrats and Republicans could agree on anyway? Not in this Congress, and certainly not in these complicated times.
[AP] [Photo courtesy AFP/Getty Images]