February 11, 2015
President Obama is requesting an authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) against the Islamic State from Congress. Today the Associated Press obtained the letter that accompanied that request. Excerpt:
My Administration’s draft AUMF would not authorize long-term, large-scale ground combat operations like those our Nation conducted in Iraq and Afghanistan. Local forces, rather than U.S. military forces, should be deployed to conduct such operations. The authorization I propose would provide the flexibility to conduct ground combat operations in other, more limited circumstances, such as rescue operations involving U.S. or coalition personnel or the use of special operations forces to take military action against ISIL leadership. It would also authorize the use of U.S. forces in situations where ground combat operations are not expected or intended, such as intelligence collection and sharing, missions to enable kinetic strikes, or the provision of operational planning and other forms of advice and assistance to partner forces.
Although my proposed AUMF does not address the 2001 AUMF, I remain committed to working with the Congress and the American people to refine, and ultimately repeal, the 2001 AUMF.
This is actually quite similar to Rand Paul’s proposed AUMF, which would have allowed ground troops only “to rescue servicemembers, conduct operations against high-value targets or assist with ‘advisory and intelligence gathering operations,’” according to The Hill. It’s distinct from the declaration desired by Republican Senators Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio, who, as Reid Smith pointed out yesterday, want to cede to the executive unlimited authority to wage war.
Graham and Rubio, two of the president’s loudest critics, want to give Obama more power than Obama does.
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