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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 2/12/15

Newest Gambit Out of White House to Congress, Nothing Can Be Taken At Face Value

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President Obama Delivers a Statement on ISIL On February 11, 2015, President Obama provided an update on his request of Congress for authorization to use military force against ISIL terrorists.
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President Obama requesting formal authority from Congress to fight ISIS

If we have learned anything about our politics nothing coming out of "official Washington" can be trusted and taken at face value.

The newest gambit that's surfaced has the White House sending to Congress a request for formal authority to fight ISIS to include "associated forces" and "contain no geographic limitations", ban the use of what it's calling "enduring offensive ground forces", limit the engagement to three years while asking Congress to restrict the ability of the commander in chief to wage war against an overseas enemy.

Let's look at these requests.

For starters the request for formal authority to fight ISIS to include "associated forces"; last September the president said "he had the authority he needs to take action against the Islamist state" [1] -ISIS. Apparently Obama and his coterie of crack advisors realized sending in jet fighters, helicopter gun ships, bombers, drones and missile strikes back into Iraq-after that war was supposed to have ended with the US withdrawal in 2011 and now Syria-might look a little suspicious without congress having given its blessing. Besides with the Republicans now in control of both houses of congress it's a no brainer. When was the last time these war mongers voted against going to war-not with a declaration of war mind you-that would put them squarely on the hook if anything went wrong-, just give the usual "Authorization for the Use of Military Force" to the dictator, ah president giving him a free hand to do what he pleases and when things go south as they always do, he'll take the heat.

As for the "associated forces" and "contain no geographic limitations"; associated forces presumably would include any group the administration has on its terrorism list such as the al Nasra front but any group that arises or morphs from another just as ISIS originated as al Qaeda in Iraq then morphed into ISIS so the term associated forces along with no geographic limitations essentially means everything is open ended.

Then there's the ban of "enduring offensive ground forces"-I don't know who thought up that little mouthful-it probably means "no American boots on the ground". But one guesses that doesn't include the special ops guys and the other 2600 American troops whose boots are already on the ground in Iraq and Syria so the convoluted "enduring offensive ground forces" means lets not get too deep into the details. Ah, next question?

Then there's limiting the engagement to three years and the president asking congress to restrict the ability of the commander in chief against an overseas enemy; these are slick little inserts tossing the ball into the lap of the next administration after Obama is history and checking on the plans for his presidential library.

However, reading the New York Times article, "Obama to Seek War Power Bill From Congress to Fight ISIS" by the Times Jeremy Peters, he and his editors took the Obama proposal quite seriously with Peters getting quotes from a few senators and a congressman familiar with the "plan" on their impression of Obama's new proposal.

I won't belabor anyone with an in depth rendering of what our "lawmakers" had to say, but here's a thumbnail. Senator Richard Blumenthal D. CT said, "He had grave reservations" and "yet to be convinced" after he left a meeting conducted by Obama's chief of staff, Denis McDonough who presented Democrats outlines of the plan.

Senator Joe Minchin III, D.W.VA said, "If money or military might would change that part of the world, we'd be done a long time ago. In West Virginia, we understand the definition of insanity".

Senator Jeff Flake, R. AZ intoned, "I have disagreements with the president's conduct of foreign policy and what he's done. But in this instance, we need an Authorization for the Use of Military Force. Our enemies and our allies need to know that we speak with one voice."

As for Senator Mark Kirk, R.ILL, he said, "You go to war with the president you've got, which would give us all pause." As for reservations about the president's request he didn't hesitate, "No. I think it's the right thing to do to take these guys out".

As for Robert Menendez, Democratic Senator from New Jersey, realizing this new authorization would cover force authorization until 2017 and cover the next president as well, said, "Unless that is further defined, that might be seen as too big a statement to ultimately embrace. Because forget about Barack Obama. There will be a new president in two years. And this authorization would go into that new presidency".

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