After six months of Congress and the Administration ignoring their constitutional duty, today President Obama sent language to Capitol Hill to authorize war for the next three years (an Authorization for the Use of Military Force or AUMF) against ISIS. During the last six months of this military strategy, many argue little progress against ISIS has been made.
It’s about time that Congress fully debated the U.S. war being waged in the Middle East. We agree with past statements of the president that there is no military solution and we oppose any AUMF. That said, if one passes it should be much narrower than what President Obama proposes and include limitations such as:
*A one-year sunset clause
*Definitively no combat troops on the ground
*Repealing both former AUMFs not just one
*Robust reporting requirements including civilian deaths
The president’s proposed AUMF does one good thing: it repeals the outdated and ill-advised Iraq AUMF. It fails, however, to repeal the 2001 AUMF which has been used as a blanket “war on terrorism.” Additionally, it uses the legally ambiguous language of no “enduring offensive ground operations.” It’s not clear that this actually excludes combat troops.
As it stands, it doesn’t seem that the current military strategy is working. Instead the international community should:
*Reduce civilian deaths, casualties and the destruction of civilian infrastructure that tends to recruit financial support and foreign fighters for ISIS.
*Weaken ISIS by reducing its income (oil, antiquities, sex trade), freezing assets, reducing military resources (weapons, training and foreign fighters).
*Support political solutions to the Syrian civil war and Iraqi ethnic tensions.
*Increase humanitarian aid and refugee support.
*Support actions that will help prevent extremism in the first place: education, religious tolerance, poverty alleviation and justice.
Congress has not voted on a war authorization regarding terrorism since 2001. It’s time for a full debate in Congress on ISIS. Make sure your voice is heard now.
Humbly for Peace,