Republicans and Democrats have found a rare area of agreement. Neither party is happy with President Barack Obama’s War authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). Republicans believe the plan’s objectives are not aggressive enough. Democrats think the plan is too broadly written. The proposal limits the use of ground troops and imposes a three year restriction on the authorization. The request also repeals a 2002 law authorizing the invasion of Iraq, but it maintains a 2001 bill approving operations against al Qaeda and its affiliates, which Obama has been using to support his bombing campaign against ISIS. The AUFM will undoubtable require some revisions to make it palatable to its opponents.
Republicans argue that the proposal is not comprehensive enough to ensure that the military will have the resources and the flexibility to defeat ISIS. Some question the three year restriction and made the assertion that President Obama is leaving the situation unfinished for the next president. For example, Representative Michael McCaul (Republican-Texas), the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said that he would not approve a measure that “ties the hands of our military commanders or takes options off the table.” The GOP maintains that the restrictions on the use of ground troops were likely included to appease the Democratic war opponents within Congress. GOP leaders, including Senator John McCain (Republican- Arizona), also took issue with the request for being specific to ISIS, which effectively excludes Syrian President Bashar al-Assad who has killed over 200,000 people.
Democrats were unhappy with the request’s broad language which, for example, does not include geographic limitations on the where the war to defeat ISIS can be waged. Many Democrats, including Representative Adam Schiff (Democrat- California), a key supporter of the AUFM, were critical of the proposal’s vague language. Representative John Yarmuth (Democrat-Kentucky) was uncomfortable with the phrase “enduring offensive ground combat operations” against ISIS, in that the phrase implied that the military effort would be “open-ended”.
Republicans and Democrats were united in the concern that the request could be revealing our strategy to our enemies. And some question the need for the request at all. After all, couldn’t President Obama just continue the war effort under the 2001 bill? President Obama’s Authorization for Use of Military Force is yet another example of Barack Obama’s isolationist strategy. The President has shown over and over again that he often makes decisions without fully engaging the heads of his key departments. It is ironic that he is requesting this AUFM the same week that he is welcoming Ashton Carter, his fourth Secretary of Defense in six years.
President Obama’s AUFM just seems like a political manoeuver, an effort to try to appear presidential and decisive. But once again, he squandered the moment.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com