Do American’s really want to give Barack Obama a free hand in dealing with ISIS? The American Conservative’s Daniel Larison writes, “The administration’s proposed authorization for the ISIS war restricts the use of ground forces, but does not limit the war to Iraq and Syria.”
It is hard to miss the absurdity of this entire process. The war has been going on for half a year, so it’s not as if the administration thinks it needs Congressional approval. In the event that that the administration chooses to ignore the restrictions included in its proposed AUMF, there is very little chance that it will be forced to answer for that by Congress. That is especially true when many members of the majority in both houses object to the language of the proposed resolution because it is too limiting rather than too broad. The lack of geographical limitations is worrisome, since it suggests that the administration conceives of the war on ISIS in Iraq and Syria as just one part of a potentially much larger campaign. Along the same lines, authorizing force against ISIS’ “associated forces” potentially allows the U.S. to take military action in Libya or in any other country where a jihadist group declares its support for ISIS, no matter how tenuous the actual connection between the organizations might be. The administration has already presumed to wage war on its own authority for months on more than one occasion, and it has interpreted existing law and previous Congressional authorizations however it pleased, so it would be foolish to think that it will respect the limits contained in a new resolution.