Obama seeks okay for use of force, but not troops, against Islamic State

If passed, resolution would be first bill to approve use of force since Congress voted to authorize war in Iraq in 2003.

A pair of US Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles fly over northern Iraq after conducting airstrikes in Syria (photo credit: REUTERS)
A pair of US Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles fly over northern Iraq after conducting airstrikes in Syria
(photo credit: REUTERS)
WASHINGTON – US President Barack Obama has submitted language to Congress that would formally authorize broad-scale use of force against Islamic State wherever it is, but without the longterm use of ground troops, the White House said on Wednesday.
If passed, the authorization would be the first bill of its kind to authorize the use of force since Congress voted to authorize the war in Iraq in 2003.
According to the resolution, the president would have the authority “to use the armed forces of the United States, as the president determines to be necessary and appropriate against ISIL or associated persons or forces.” But the draft “does not authorize the use of the United States armed forces in enduring offensive ground combat operations.”
Obama’s resolution repeals the 2002 authorization for the use of force against Iraq, but not an authorization passed in 2001, which grants the president near-limitless ability to target suspected terrorists worldwide.
Obama’s Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) against Islamic State expires in three years and requires reauthorization at that time.
“My administration’s draft AUMF would not authorize long-term, large-scale ground combat operations like those our nation conducted in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Obama wrote in a letter to Congress, sent with the draft language.
“Local forces, rather than US military forces, should be deployed to conduct such operations.
The authorization I propose would provide the flexibility to conduct ground combat operations in other, more limited circumstances, such as rescue operations involving US or coalition personnel or the use of special operations forces to take military action against ISIL leadership.”
Congressional authorization would demonstrate unity within the United States on its strategy going forward, the president wrote.
On that strategy, Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) plans on holding swift briefings for “greater clarity” on its objectives, while lauding the president’s decision to send a draft.
“Voting to authorize the use of military force is one of the most important actions Congress can take,” Corker said in a prepared statement, “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.”