Barack Obama could be breaking the law if he bombs Iraq without congressional approval

President Barack Obama is prepared to wage an airstrike campaign to help the fledging Iraqi government as it faces a dire threat from the terrorist group, Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (also known as “ISIS” or “ISIL”).

Roll Call recently noted that the Obama administration isn’t saying where it would derive the authority to launch the campaign, but argued that the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 would give the White House the authority to conduct the airstrike campaign.

Though the 2002 Iraq war resolution remains in effect, despite laudable attempts to repeal it, President Barack Obama could be violating use it to wages a military campaign against ISIL. The resolution was tailored against Saddam Hussein’s regime and enforcement of United National Security Council resolutions.

The Iraq war resolution does make references to terrorism, but in the context of al-Qaeda and the 9/11 terrorist attacks. ISIL isn’t affiliated with al-Qaeda, though it was until February, and the Iraq-based terrorist group, led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, played no role in the planning or execution of 9/11.

If President Obama wants to wage an airstrike campaign against ISIL to save Prime Minister Nouri Maliki’s government, he needs to go to Congress to get approval, and without doing so, his administration would be in violation of the law.

H/T: Matt Vespa and Will Upton

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