This week, after over half a year of conflict with ISIS, the Administration sent Congress its proposal for the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), for the purpose of degrading and defeating the brutal terrorist group.
Currently, the Administration is operating under a broad AUMF, which dates back to September 2001, and served as a reaction to the 9/11 terror attacks. It authorized the President with all necessary and appropriate force, “against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.”
Now, the President is requesting formal authorization from Congress for the use of military force against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The authorization would not authorize the conduct of long-term, large-scale ground combat operations. But it would authorize the conduct of ground combat operations in limited circumstances, such as rescue operations or the use of special operations forces to take military actions against ISIS leadership. It also authorizes the use of U.S. forces in situations such as intelligence collecting, missions to enable strikes against terrorist targets, or the provision of operational planning and assistance to partner forces.
Proponents argue that the President’s proposal fulfills his constitutional and legal obligations, while striking the proper balance of demonstrating commitment towards destroying ISIS, yet limiting U.S. ground troops’ involvement. Those opposing the proposal cite concerns over the content of the request, including the lack of a concrete, comprehensive strategy, the limits it places on the flexibility and options of our military commanders, as well as the potential it creates for another endless conflict with no clearly articulated plan for achieving the stated objectives.
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