I have posted two articles in the past week or so denouncing President Obama’s unilateral escalation of the war in Syria: Obama Can’t Ramp Up The War in Syria Fast Enough! and Obama Finds His Own Private Viet Nam.
Now it seems that the president’s war may be totally illegal but he is able to get away with it because the GOP, although in favor of the war, are unwilling to commit to a new war powers bill. Instead they allow President Obama to continue to wage war in the middle east under the authorization given President George W Bush after September 11, 2001. A law a little long in the tooth:
In the battle against the Islamic State group, members of Congress talk tough against extremism, but many want to run for cover when it comes to voting on new war powers to fight the militants, preferring to let the president own the battle.
The U.S. military intervention in Iraq and Syria is creeping forward, putting more pressure on Congress to vote on a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force. It would be the first war vote in Congress in 13 years.
Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., a leading force in the Senate for a new authorization, said the reluctance to vote runs deep and that many in Congress prefer to criticize President Barack Obama’s policy in Iraq and Syria without either authorizing or stopping the fight.
“There is sort of this belief that if we do not vote, we cannot be held politically accountable. We can just blame the president,” Kaine said.
To fight IS, Obama has relied on congressional authorizations given to President George W. Bush for the war on al-Qaida and the invasion of Iraq. Critics say the White House’s use of post-9/11 congressional authorizations is a legal stretch at best. And they note that the battle has grown exponentially.
“I think we are seeing an example of mission creep right now,” said Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., who signed the letter calling for a new AUMF. “I think we should go ahead. We are gradually ceding over our war-making authority to the president. Big mistake. No matter which side you are on, you ought to want Congress to do this. And you ought to be able to hold your member accountable for how they ultimately vote.”
On Friday, a bipartisan group of 35 House members called on new Speaker Paul Ryan to schedule and debate on a war authorization as quickly as possible in light of the United States’ “deepening entanglement in Syria and Iraq.”
Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, has asked the Obama administration to brief committee members as early as next week on the legal justifications for recent deployments to Syria and elsewhere.
Generally, conservatives want Congress to approve broad authorities for the president to fight IS militants with no limits on ground troops. They say banning U.S. combat troops or restricting the fight to just Iraq and Syria only emboldens the militants, who would seek safe haven elsewhere. Other lawmakers want to give the president authority to train and equip local forces and conduct airstrikes but not launch a combat mission on the ground.
Well I hope they do bring this to a vote…and I hope the deny the president the right to continue to wage this war…and I hope they call him out on it and force him to bring our troops home from Syria and Iraq.
I lived through the Viet Nam war era…I grew up with a disabled veteran of WWII…I see the thousands of vets from Iraq and Afghanistan struggle to re-enter their way of life…I see the newly disabled…and I don’t want one more American to sacrifice for a war we can’t win.