Obama Strategically Waits for the Middle East to Catch Up to Civilization

modern medieval

Despite already having the ability — as he has been more than willing to mention — to wage war without asking for Congressional approval, President Obama nonetheless is trying to get a new authorization for use of military force (AUMF) passed on The Hill, something that is proving controversial to both sides of the aisle.

From a three-year limit to a check on launching “enduring offensive ground combat operations,” lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are calling Obama’s proposal either too restrictive or too broad — but few are calling it just right.

Those on the right wonder if the three-year time frame — which will bleed over into the term of the next president — doesn’t tie the hands of the executive office (bearing in mind Obama has made great use of that same executive privilege he would limit after he leaves office). It also turns our engagement in the region into a very dispassionate drone war, assuming we still have an interest in the region at all. Those on the left actually — oddly — argue the exact opposite: that the new AUMF gives the president too much power to say how and who we fight.

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.

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“Every once in a while, somebody has to get the bureaucracy by the neck and shake it loose and say ‘stop doing what you’re doing.’” — Ronald Reagan

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“People must fight for something that they want to achieve, not simply reject an evil, however bad it may be.” - Ludwig von Mises

— McConnell wins renomination in Kentucky: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) took 60.2 percent of the vote over conservative primary challenger Matt Bevin. “The tough race is behind us; it’s time to unite,” McConnell said last night. “To my opponent’s supporters, I hope you will join me in the months ahead and know that your fight is my fight.” Conservative groups that backed Bevin got behind McConnell before he uttered those words. FreedomWorks, for example, sent a statement calling for unity that landed in our inbox at 7:31 pm, not long after the media called the race for McConnell and before he gave his remarks. “Matt Bevin’s principled challenge helped Senator McConnell rediscover his conservative principles come November,” FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe said. “Competition always breeds stronger candidates, and there is an improved conservative candidate heading into the general election as a result.” Likewise, Erick Erickson, editor of RedState, tweeted this before polls in Kentucky closed.

Rand Paul seeks to repeal Iraq War authorization

Despite an al-Qaeda resurgence in Iraq, just 25% of voters favor military action in the Middle Eastern country if Islamic radicals take control. That is an example of how much a war weary nation has changed.

Some like, Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), have used the escalating violence in Iraq to slam President Barack Obama’s 2011 decision to withdraw from Iraq, which was based on a timeline set by his predecessor, George W. Bush. Others, however, like Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), say that it’s time to repeal the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against Iraq:

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., plans to introduce legislation Friday to repeal the law that green-lighted the March 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, and which remains on the books two years after President Barack Obama declared that war over, Paul’s office said Wednesday.

Paul’s announcement came one day after Yahoo News reported the White House now favors scrapping the Authorization for the Use of Military Force in Iraq, signed into law in late 2002 by then-President George W. Bush.

Reid delays Senate vote on Syria

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced last night that he would delay a test vote authorizing the use of military force (AUMF) against Syria due to discussions taking place between the Obama Administration and other foreign governments:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says it wouldn’t be beneficial to hold the vote while international discussions continue regarding Syria’s use of chemical weapons.

Reid says it’s not important to, quote, “see how fast we can do this.” He adds, “We have to see how well we can do this.”
The Nevada Democrat had planned a full Senate vote Wednesday. It’s unclear when that might happen now.

Delay of the vote comes as opposition to military intervention in Syria has increased in the Senate as members from both sides of the aisle are beginning to listen to constituents back home. For example, Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), who previously backed military strikes against Syria, decided yesterday that he would vote against intervention after receiving calls and emails from Georgians opposed to another war.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) sent a letter to colleagues yesterday urging them to vote against the war against Syria.

Amash, Cruz, and Paul speak out against Syria war plans on Sunday shows

Justin Amash on

Syria was largely the topic of discussion on Sunday talk shows. The White House sent Chief of State Denis McDonough to make the case for military strikes against Bashar al-Assad’s regime, insisting that Congress would authorize force.

But the trifecta of Rep. Justin Amash (R-WI) and Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rand Paul (R-KY) also appeared on separate Sunday shows, serving as a voice of reason to the Obama Administration’s push for another war in the Middle East.

Amash, who has been one of the most vocal opponents of war against Syria, told Bob Schieffer on Face the Nation that it’s “highly doubtful” that the Obama Administration could convince him to support military action.

“I’ve been to the briefings. I’ve spent a lot of time with my constituents, and there’s overwhelming disapproval for this war,” said Amash. “I can’t think of a reason right now based on the objectives that the administration has laid out, based on the strategy they’ve laid out — I can’t come up with a reason right now why the United States should support this action.”

Amash explained that he went to his constituents to get a pulse of what people were thinking about the prospect of war with Syria, noting that he held 11 town hall meetings in two days, finding overwhelming opposition for military action.

“[W]hen you’ve dealing with an issue like war, you must take into consideration what the public thinks,” he added. “You’re asking people to possibly send their loved ones into harm’s way, and you really have to take that very seriously.”

Whip Count: Obama’s Syria war resolution headed for defeat

Editor’s note: Due to mounting opposition to military intervention, we’ve added the Senate numbers at the bottom of the page.

As it stands today, President Barack Obama’s push for military strikes against the Syrian government would lose — and it would lose in a very big way.

Looking at the various media outlets and blogs tracking the vote, most show a majority of the House of Representatives rejecting authorization of force against the Middle Eastern country. You can click on the links to see party breakdowns and more information.

FreedomWorks urges “no” vote on Syria war resolution

FreedomWorks -- Syria

The push from the Tea Party against the authorization for use of military force (AUMF) in Syria just got a little stronger.

FreedomWorks, a grassroots group with more than six million members, announced this morning that they are urging members of Congress to vote against the Syria resolution. They will also score the vote on their scorecard.

“Congress should be focusing on the red ink at home, not arbitrarily established red lines abroad. As a membership organization, FreedomWorks has been overwhelmed with requests to help activists express their voice in this debate,” said Matt Kibbe, president and CEO of FreedomWorks. “A broad coalition of Americans, including the millions of grassroots activists represented in the FreedomWorks community, has already roundly rejected the Obama Administration’s rationale for bombing Syria. Congress ignores the will of the voters on this issue at their own peril.”

Kibbe said the vote represents the “‘insiders versus the rest of us’ dynamic” that is so prevalent in Washington, comparing the Syria resolution to the TARP bailout. He went onto note that the limited military strikes the Obama Administration is proposing may well turn into a costly, prolonged engagement.

“When they convene, Congress will consider short-term actions. They should also reflect upon long-term costs associated with those actions,” he said. “There is no guarantee that ‘limited’ military operations in Syria will lead to a ‘limited’ result. The costs of brinksmanship in an ongoing civil war are steep, and a collapse of state would fall in our laps. In other words, if we break it, we buy it.”

Senate committee approves measure authorizing intervention in Syria

President Barack Obama’s push for military intervention in Syria cleared a hurdle yesterday afternoon when the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved a resolution authorizing the use of force:

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee in a 10-7 vote has approved a resolution authorizing military force against Syria.

The panel first voted to expand the use-of-force resolution by specifying the goal of U.S. military intervention in Syria should be to bolster the Free Syrian Army.

That amendment helped win the support of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a leading Senate voice on national security matters. He and Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) wrote the measure, which also states the aim of U.S. strikes should be to reduce the ability of Syrian President Bashar Assad to use chemical weapons.

McCain, who has been clamoring for military action in Syria, had been on the fence about the resolution, complaining that it wasn’t strong enough. The amendment that helped bring him to support the resolution hints that the United States intervention in the Middle Eastern country could be much broader than the Obama Administration is currently promising.

It is the policy of the United States to change the momentum on the battlefield in Syria so as to create favorable conditions for a negotiated settlement that ends the conflict and leads to a democratic government in Syria,” states the McCain-Coons amendment (emphasis added).

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