On Wednesday, president Obama Asked Congress to Back War on Isis.

Six months after US planes began bombing Jihadi militants in Iraq and Syria, President Barack Obama is taking a political gamble by asking Congress to approve the military operation.

The White House on Wednesday sent to Congress a new war powers resolution to authorise a “limited” military campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (known as Isis) for the next three years.

In a statement at the White House, Mr Obama said the resolution was designed to give the “flexibility we need for unforeseen circumstances”. He would consider using US forces in Iraq or Syria if, for instance, the US received information about a meeting of Isis leaders.

But he insisted that the US was not getting “dragged back into another prolonged ground war in the Middle East”. The resolution was “not the authorisation of another ground war, like Afghanistan or Iraq”.

Although operations against Isis so far have taken place only in Iraq and Syria, the resolution places no geographic limits on the fight against either Isis or what it calls “associated persons or forces” — a phrase that has been used in the past to justify counter-terrorism operations against a range of different groups.

However, at the same time the resolution calls on the next president to return to Congress in three years’ time to either justify or change the military campaign and bars the US military from conducting what it calls “enduring offensive ground combat operations”.

Explaining “Limited”

  • Don’t worry. War will be “limited” just like Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam, and other initially limited engagements.
  • It can’t last longer than three years because of the “stringent requirement” that the next president would have to ask for an extension.
  • Besides, ground troops won’t be used, unless of course they are.
  • And operations will be limited to Iraq and Syria except as needed to target “associated persons or forces” anywhere in the world.

In other words, Obama seeks approval to pretty much do whatever the hell he wants. Realistically, there are no limitations.

Republicans Seek “Robust” War

However, war hawks in Congress, don’t want to deal with even theoretical limitations. For example, House Speaker John Boehner quipped “If we are going to defeat this enemy, we need a comprehensive military strategy and a robust authorization, not one that limits our options. The president’s request did not give military commanders “the flexibility and authorities they need to succeed and protect our people”.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock