President Barack Obama has asked Congress recently to formally authorize military force against the Islamic States group, arguing the militants could pose a threat to the United States (U.S.) homeland if their violent power grab goes unchecked and urging lawmakers to “show the world we are united in our resolve to counter the threat.”
The president elected on a promise to end America’s wars is sending Congress a proposed joint resolution to authorize military force against the swift rise of Islamic State extremist, who are imposing violent rule across Iraq and Syria and have brazenly killed U.S. and allied hostages in brutal online propaganda videos.
In a five-paragraph letter to lawmakers accompanying the three-page draft resolution provided to The Associated Press, Obama said the Islamic State “poses a threat to the people and stability of Iraq, Syria and the broader Middle East and to U.S. national security.”
“It threatens American personnel and facilities located in the region and is responsible for the deaths of U.S. citizens James Foley, Steven Sotloff, Abdul-Rahman, Peter Kassig, and Kayla Mueller,” he said, listing the American hostages who died in IS custody. “If left unchecked, ISIL will pose a threat beyond the Middle East, including to the United States homeland.”Obama plans to speak on his request from the White House recently.
Obama’s proposal launches an ideological debate over what authorities and limitations the president should have in pursuit of the extremists, with the shadow of lost American lives hanging over its fate. Confirmation of the death of 26-year-old humanitarian worker, Mueller, on the eve of Obama’s proposal, added new urgency, while the costly long-running wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were a caution to some lawmakers against yet another protracted military campaign.
Obama is offering to limit authorization to three years, extending to the next president the powers and the debate over renewal for what he envisions as a long range battle. He is proposing no geographic limitations where U.S, forces could pursue the elusive militants. The authorization covers the Islamic States and “associated persons or forces,” defined as those fighting on behalf of a alongside IS “or any closely related successor entity in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners.”
Obama’s resolution would repeal a 2002 authorization for force in Iraq but maintain a 2001 authorization against al-Qaida in Afghanistan, although Obama said in his letter to lawmakers his goal is to refine and ultimately repeal that authorization as well.
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