Obama Asks Congress To Authorize War Against Islamic State [VIDEO
President Barack Obama announced Wednesday that he is seeking Congressional approval for direct U.S. military action to combat ISIS.
Under the new proposal (full text here), the use of military force against ISIS fighters would be authorized until a year after the end of Obama’s second term, after which Congress would need to renew or repeal the authorization. The new proposal would be unbounded by national borders and extend to any groups closely related to the Islamic State or perceived as possible successors.
Meanwhile, the 2002 congressional authorization that led to the initial invasion of Iraq by U.S. forces in 2003 would be repealed, though that which was approved following the 9/11 attacks would remain in place.
In a letter to Congress, Obama said his proposal would not authorize long-term, large-scale ground combat operations like those conducted in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“Local forces, rather than U.S. military forces, should be deployed to conduct such operations,” the letter reads. “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.”
Speaking at the White House Wednesday, Obama stressed that the three-year limit should not be viewed as a timetable.
“It is not announcing that the mission is completed at any given period,” the President said. “What it is saying is that Congress should revisit the issue at the beginning of the next president's term."
This would be Congress’ first vote on whether to grant war powers vote in over a decade. Republicans have largely criticized the plan for excluding the possibility of a long-term commitment to ground forces, while some Democrats have expressed doubts about whether U.S. ground forces should be involved at all.
The United States began participating in coalition airstrikes against ISIS in August of last year.