Following the humbling defeat suffered by Democrats across the board on Tuesday, Obama decided to seek authorization from Congress to escalate the war against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.
Obama outlines plan to update AUMF and expand war in Syria.
“The world needs to know we are united behind this effort and the men and women of our military deserve our clear and unified support,” Obama said on Wednesday.
“We now have a different type of enemy. The strategy is different, and how we partner with Iraq and other Gulf countries and the international coalition, that has to be structured differently.”
The Obama administration is seeking a new Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) to demonstrate “not just our strategy over the next two or three months, but our strategy going forward.”
“On the AUMF, the leaders are going to be coming here on Friday,” Obama said, adding that “we’ve already had conversations with members of both parties in Congress, and the idea is to right-size and update whatever authorization Congress provides to suit the current fight, rather than previous fights.”
The first AUMF was implemented in 2001 and specifically mentions al-Qaeda.
It states: “The president is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on Sept. 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.”
The following AUMF issued in 2002 applies to Iraq under Saddam Hussein prior to the U.S. invasion the following year.
Obama cited the 2001 AUMF and the powers the administration claim are inherent in the presidency – despite the fact these powers are clearly circumscribed by Article II, Section 8 of the Constitution – as the administration prepared airstrikes against IS in Iraq and Syria.
“The 2001 law authorized force against al Qaeda and its associates. The Islamic State once had associations with al Qaeda, but earlier this year al Qaeda expelled it and broke off ties,” notes Jack Goldsmith, a professor at Harvard Law School.
Obama made a connection by declaring IS is “the true inheritor of Usama bin Laden’s legacy” and is supported by “some individual members and factions of [al-Qaeda]-aligned groups.”
“The President’s gambit is, at bottom, presidential unilateralism masquerading as implausible statutory interpretation,” Goldsmith explained in September.
Goldsmith notes the irony in Obama’s citation of the 2001 AUMF. “I look forward to engaging Congress and the American people in efforts to refine, and ultimately repeal the 2001 law’s mandate,” Obama said last May at the National Defense University. “I will not sign laws designed to expand this mandate further,” he promised, and said “this war, like all wars, must end.”
Democrats and Republicans United on War Agenda
The ruling financial elite, however, are not finished making war on the people of the Middle East. It plans to use the pretense of destroying IS to remove Bashar al-Assad from power in Syria and divide the region up along religious and ethnic lines into mutually hostile balkanized failed states. A template for this process is now at work in Libya, the last country Obama invaded without congressional approval.
“I guess it’s time to formalize the transfer the power to declare war from Congress to the president,” muses Mike Shedlock.
Senator Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat and currently chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, “wants a bill ‘appropriate in scope and duration to meet the threat and sustain the fight’ without having an ‘indefinite duration,’” writes Shedlock.
“Translation: Menendez wants an indefinite duration, an open ended agenda, and no cost limits. [Arizona Republican Senator] McCain will surely see the bill gets revised that way.
“No president would ever refuse to sign such a bill. And when it happens, the power to declare war will formally be handed over from Congress to the president. Not that it matters in the least. Presidents do what they want, when they want.”
Democrats and Republicans will now work together to extend and expand the war in the Middle East.
Last month, in preparation for this expansion, Rep. Adam B. Schiff, a California Democrat, proposed new AUMF legislation in the House and met with White House counsel W. Neil Eggleston. Schiff called for House Speaker John Boehner to schedule debate and a vote on a new AUMF during the lame-duck session of the current Congress.
In September, Boehner said “I think it’s gonna take more than air strikes to drive [ISIS] outta there.”
“At some point, somebody’s boots have to be on the ground.”
The Speaker of the House then framed the argument in near apocalyptic terms. “We have no choice. These are barbarians. They intend to kill us. And if we don’t destroy them first, we’re gonna pay the price,” he said.