Obama Submits Draft of AUMF Against ISIS

Here is Obama's draft of the Authorization for Use of Military Force against ISIS. Here is the statement he released about it.

It does not authorize combat troops on the ground on an "enduring" basis:

[c] LIMITATIONS.— The authority granted in subsection (a) does not authorize the use of the United States Armed Forces in enduring offensive ground combat operations.


Who is targeted?

In this joint resolution, the term ‘‘associated persons or forces’’ means individuals and organizations fighting for, on behalf of, or alongside ISIL or any closely-related successor entity in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners.

It will be good for three years. It also repeals the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.

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    Just how long (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Zorba on Wed Feb 11, 2015 at 03:27:29 PM EST
    does not "enduring" last?  What does it mean?
    One week?  One month?  Thirteen years?

    Anything short of forever ... (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by Robot Porter on Wed Feb 11, 2015 at 03:40:03 PM EST
    and they'll be fine.



    Or more like (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Zorba on Wed Feb 11, 2015 at 04:10:00 PM EST

    So I guess the moniker (5.00 / 3) (#15)
    by ruffian on Wed Feb 11, 2015 at 07:43:24 PM EST
    'Operation Enduring Ground Force' is off the table?

    At moments like this, I miss Frank Zappa (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Feb 11, 2015 at 07:58:05 PM EST
    For sure, for sure,
    It's enduring war,
    And we got no cure...

    The resolution (none / 0) (#5)
    by FlJoe on Wed Feb 11, 2015 at 03:48:29 PM EST
    has a three year sunset at least.

    Which, (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by lentinel on Wed Feb 11, 2015 at 03:54:04 PM EST
    as anyone knows, is renewable ad infinitum.

    I don't believe (none / 0) (#8)
    by FlJoe on Wed Feb 11, 2015 at 04:02:13 PM EST
    2001 and 2002 have sunsets.

    This new AUMF will eliminate (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by caseyOR on Wed Feb 11, 2015 at 04:42:39 PM EST
    the one from 2002, but the original one, the 2001 AUMF, will still live on.

    So far today I have neither heard nor read a good explanation for keeping the one from 2001 in effect. It does give the president ridiculously broad and seemingly never-ending war powers. Perhaps that is why Obama is hanging on to it.

    Still, if the one from 2002 is outdated, surely the AUMF that preceded it is also outdated.


    Haven't at least some war powers... (none / 0) (#14)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Feb 11, 2015 at 07:39:58 PM EST
    been hanging on since Nixon's time?

    I think we have declarations... (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by unitron on Thu Feb 12, 2015 at 06:16:07 AM EST
    ...of states of emergency going back to Wilson that have never been withdrawn, so theoretically whoever's President could impose martial law and stuff on the strength of something from a century ago.

    The Hypocrite in Chief ... (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by Robot Porter on Wed Feb 11, 2015 at 03:33:44 PM EST
    ... strikes again!

    I'd feel so much better about all of this (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by Anne on Thu Feb 12, 2015 at 08:20:33 AM EST
    if I had the sense that there's truly enough understanding among those who ultimately get to decide of what it is we're doing, and that the discussion leading up to the eventual decision was more participatory in terms of "we, the people."  

    I'm not saying we don't need this new authorization, but I think it maybe muddies the water having to also take the existing 2001 authorization into account.  I think people are confused by that, and I think confusion is not something we should be accepting as a normal state.  And what I find most confusing is that we've have years and years to craft something better.  The problem, I suppose, is that there exists within the Congress a fight between the we-want-to-be-able-to-do-what-we-want-when-we-want coalition and the blanket-authorizations-are-dangerous group.  We find ourselves out here in the real world engaged in the same kind of division, and feeling like no one's really hearing us.  

    Cora Currier at The Intercept:

    Speaking at New York University School of Law this afternoon, Harold Koh, the State Department's legal adviser until 2013, said that the Obama administration is currently on shaky legal grounds, tying the airstrikes to a law passed days after 9/11.

    Koh said that stretching the law like that is inconsistent with Obama's stated goal of bringing the U.S. off of "perpetual wartime footing." Acting without a new authorization from Congress "doesn't promote the end of the `Forever War,'" Koh said.

    Since August, the U.S. and other nations have carried out more than 2,300 airstrikes, according to data released by the U.S. military and compiled by journalist Chris Woods.

    The administration currently justifies those airstrikes by invoking self-defense and the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force. Passed one week after the September 11th, 2001 and just 60 words long, that law in broad language gave the White House the power to go after anyone connected to the 9/11 attacks.

    Thirteen years on, it is still the main legal backing for the war in Afghanistan and for the targeted killings of alleged Al Qaeda affiliates in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia-though there is now a growing consensus among legal scholars and some members of Congress that the law is being used to justify military action it wasn't originally intended to cover.

    War is important enough to require having serious and thorough discussions about it before engaging, but I feel like we're at such an information disadvantage that we're essentially relegated to making noise that no one wants to hear and ends up being too easy to ignore.

    We're not "making" noise, Anne; (none / 0) (#33)
    by Mr Natural on Thu Feb 12, 2015 at 08:53:48 AM EST
    we are the noise.

    I want this (none / 0) (#1)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Feb 11, 2015 at 03:13:55 PM EST
    And the 2002 AUMF is about 13 yrs old?  Way too old, the world changes.  If the existing Congress can't sack up and vote on an AUMF then no troops need to be deployed anywhere.

    I agree (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by vicndabx on Wed Feb 11, 2015 at 05:06:40 PM EST
    If the country does not want it, let their representatives be heard.

    Thank you Vic (none / 0) (#17)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Feb 11, 2015 at 09:12:56 PM EST
    Thank you for understanding that Americans need to weigh in again.  People need to sign or not sign on dotted lines.  Complex discussions and arguments are warranted.  Thank you for arguing for democracy instead of arguing for a status quo you can whine everyday about!

    The problem (none / 0) (#19)
    by lentinel on Wed Feb 11, 2015 at 09:26:43 PM EST
    is, in my opinion, that people who are opposed to these never ending wars of dubious morality have no representation whatsoever.

    So who is going to hear what?


    Bingo! (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by Robot Porter on Thu Feb 12, 2015 at 01:36:11 PM EST
    Of course, there is one thing you can say for these endless wars.  

    It does rid the world of the scourge of innocent Arab children ... by the the tens of thousands!

    And, sarcasm aside, if you support these endless wars that is what you support.  The wholesale murder of innocents.  Mainly children.


    You are part of the debate (1.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Feb 11, 2015 at 09:52:35 PM EST
    Your view usually demands that true dangers be defined.  The real peril must be sussed out in a debate that includes your point of view...the anti-war left.  Persons must hit the Sunday shows and go smoking gun mushroom cloud on the record when you have these debates about these votes.  And those records will be counted in following elections.  Graham and McCain whining constantly about the constipated Obama on all news channels disappears too, and that needs to happen.

    Sorry, no...maybe not sorry, your approach to this discussion and this issue is lazy and self serving.


    I am (5.00 / 3) (#26)
    by lentinel on Wed Feb 11, 2015 at 11:09:17 PM EST
    simply saying that I cannot think of a government official who represents me or my point of view.

    It is often hard for me to consider myself a citizen of this great country.

    Malcolm X once articulated it this way. "I'm not going to sit at your table and watch you eat, with nothing on my plate, and call myself a diner."


    Good news! (none / 0) (#7)
    by lentinel on Wed Feb 11, 2015 at 03:59:49 PM EST
    It also repeals the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.


    So we don't have to go after all.

    Silly lentinel... (none / 0) (#12)
    by kdog on Wed Feb 11, 2015 at 05:17:28 PM EST
    It hasn't been about need since Pearl Harbor, and even that might be debatable. War of 1812???

    Since then, beyond dispute, it's been all about want, not need.  We go to war because we want to, not because we have to.  


    American Civil War? (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by oculus on Wed Feb 11, 2015 at 07:25:00 PM EST
    Duh...Good answer! ;) (none / 0) (#30)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 12, 2015 at 07:47:40 AM EST
    Repealing (none / 0) (#18)
    by lentinel on Wed Feb 11, 2015 at 09:20:49 PM EST
    an authorization for a war that has been being waged for over a decade is a possible definition of insanity, imo.

    What is this? "Back to the Future" part eleven?


    WSJ said it best (none / 0) (#20)
    by thomas rogan on Wed Feb 11, 2015 at 09:41:30 PM EST
    "Rather than put shackles on his generals, Mr. Obama should be urging them to mount a campaign to roll back ISIS as rapidly as possible from the territory it holds. That would be a genuine defeat--and the world would see it as one. It would also be a demonstration to potential ISIS recruits that if you join the jihad, you are likely to die, and soon.
    Many Republicans will be tempted to vote for some resolution as a show of anti-ISIS resolve, and we'd support one without restrictions. But Mr. Obama already has the power to fight this conflict from the 2001 al Qaeda and 2002 Iraq resolutions and as Commander in Chief under the Constitution. He says so himself. What he really wants from this new authorization is political cover for his military strategy. Better no new authorization than one that makes victory more difficult."

    Yes lets jump right in (5.00 / 3) (#22)
    by Molly Bloom on Wed Feb 11, 2015 at 10:12:16 PM EST
    waist deep in the big muddy... whose with me?


    WSJ Editorial Board


    Sigh....... (none / 0) (#23)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Feb 11, 2015 at 10:26:13 PM EST
    We pounded Fallujah to dust twice.  Melted disabled inhabitants in their beds doing it, and we got what?  We got ISIS.

    A US military victory against Sunni extremists = ZERO!


    And unlike other commenters here (none / 0) (#24)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Feb 11, 2015 at 10:27:30 PM EST
    I think our President is fully in touch with that fact.

    That seems to be the issue (none / 0) (#25)
    by MKS on Wed Feb 11, 2015 at 10:57:19 PM EST
    The areas is a mess.  And until it grows up, any military victory will be temporary.

    The best we can do is a sort of containment (none / 0) (#43)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Feb 12, 2015 at 04:43:14 PM EST
    To prevent genocide that also allows for the regional players to have to come to grips with the struggle/war within Islam.  That is basically what has been accomplished thus far too.  Prior to the murder of the Jordanian pilot, Jordan was the leader in providing recruited ISIS fighters.

    They always do (none / 0) (#29)
    by Yman on Thu Feb 12, 2015 at 06:22:27 AM EST
    The same people who repeatedly hyped claims about Iraq's (imaginary) nuclear threat to sell the Iraq War.  The same people who said we would find "nasty weapons" and be greeted by cheering Iraqis when we liberated the country.  The same editorial board who claimed the Iraqi National Congress Has "brought out scores Of defectors and tons of (false) information on Saddam's weapons programs.

    Yeah - they always "say it best" ...


    You can't make this stuff up (none / 0) (#27)
    by Slado on Thu Feb 12, 2015 at 04:15:18 AM EST
    I'm not a lawyer so would one of you please explain to me what this means when the president asks for the following when referencing boots on the ground...

    "Limited enduring offensive combat".

    No troops?  Maybe just a little troops? If there are troops they'll be there for three years?

    Can't he do anything with simple sentences?  

    This is just an open ended agreement for the president to do whatever he wants and maybe when he actually has a plan it will be helpful but for me it is just another sign of how uncommitted he is to living up to his own rhetoric and promises.  Are we destroying them?  Containing them?  He said we are going to destroy them.

    Can tou do that with..."Limited enduring offensive combat"?

    If I was ISIS I wou be worried that much has changed.

    boots (none / 0) (#31)
    by Uncle Chip on Thu Feb 12, 2015 at 07:58:41 AM EST

    "Limited enduring offensive combat".

    I know one thing for sure -- the Kurds are hoping that that sentence means that Obama will now send them the military vehicles and weapons that they have requested for a long time now but todate have been denied for no good reason.

    The Kurdish Peshmerga are the boots on the ground and are willing to put more boots on the ground but to-date Obama has denied them the vehicles and weaponry to go with the Kurdish feet in those boots.

    Obama speaks out of both sides of his pie hole and with a forked tongue.


    Weasel words (none / 0) (#34)
    by FlJoe on Thu Feb 12, 2015 at 09:11:11 AM EST
    are all we can really expect from our politicians. No president is going to purposely tie their hands if they can get away with it. This current AUMF is just an additional political fig leaf for Obama as the previous ones arguably give him permission to act.
    Can't he do anything with simple sentences?
    Unfortunately there is no simple answer to the problems with ISIL and longstanding problems in the area. Obama doesn't have the answer, nobody does, yet people like you are demanding clear cut simple solutions to a nearly intractable problem. I am no big fan of the weasel words and waffling of all our leaders on all of our problems, but I don't expect them to ever go away.  

    One person's "weasel words" are (none / 0) (#36)
    by christinep on Thu Feb 12, 2015 at 12:08:23 PM EST
    another person's "flexibility."  In general--imo--it can be beneficial to have a degree of flexibility in any legislation.  

    Frankly, nothing in law really meets the definition of "simple" ... and those federal statutes that come closest more often than not cause a negative, restrictive dilemma in implementation.  Think: Strict constructionism v. interpretation from demonstrated intent (in another area, it is the Burwell challenge to the ACA before the Supreme Court now.)

    Unintended consequences are almost always there in most pieces of legislation.  For one thing, no one thinks precisely nor interprets words precisely as another ... the draftsperson(s) and the lawyer know that from experience.  Given the experience this country has had with the unintended consequences of the 2002 authorization, especially, we would be nuts not to look deeply into wording and intent.  YET, the challenge is to find the balance ... because, while we know unfortunate outcome of too broad an authorization, we might want to consider the negative reality of a paralytic pole.  What the President appears to have done here is seek the proper balance ... and, in so doing, he is encouraging our elected representatives to do the same.  


    One persons 'flexibility" (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by FlJoe on Thu Feb 12, 2015 at 12:26:16 PM EST
    is another's "carte blanche" to run amok, and round and round we go.

    "negative reality of a paralytic pole." (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Feb 13, 2015 at 07:55:31 AM EST
    If you're ever wondering how deeply your O'Apologias get read, there's your answer.  Nobody but me noticed that bit of word salad.

    Congressman and former Navy Seal commander (none / 0) (#35)
    by Green26 on Thu Feb 12, 2015 at 10:46:55 AM EST
    says it will take ground troops to defeat ISIS.

    "I'm always very concerned when we put troops in harm's way that they have the right leadership, training, equipment and the right rules of engagement to win decisively on the field."

    In the case of ISIS, Zinke said he is "reluctant to tie our troops' hands behind their back so they can't win."

    "The hard facts are that air operations alone won't degrade or defeat ISIS," Zinke said. "It will take U.S. ground troops in the form of embedded special operations forces to ensure that our air power is effective," Zinke said. "It will take intelligence collections to ensure that we mitigate collateral damage."

    He added, "It will also take logistic support in the form of medical supplies and assistance, ammunition, fuel, food and likely quick reaction force."

    Exactly... (5.00 / 3) (#40)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Feb 12, 2015 at 12:30:28 PM EST
    ... to win decisively on the field.

    That is the entire point, when is the last time the US has won decisively ?  September 2, 1945

    There will not be anything resembling a win with ISIS/IS, there wasn't in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and soon to be added Syria.  We are starting to slide on the other side of .500 with wars.  

    Not that it matters, but for anyone thinking we are going to come out glorious or victors or anything but a country with even more focked up and dead Vets, is not dealing with the realities of the 21st century.


    Meh (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by Yman on Thu Feb 12, 2015 at 03:44:05 PM EST
    Zinke's opinion and a dollar will get you a cup of coffee at McDonald's.  Actually, given his ridiculous "Anti-Christ" comments, I'd probably charge him more.

    Why us? (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by FlJoe on Thu Feb 12, 2015 at 05:13:12 PM EST
    What makes our troops uniquely qualified for this mission? There are plenty of local players that have
    plenty of firepower, armed and trained by us, that can be brought to bear on these vermin within hours.
    Certainly there will be special-ops by our forces, there already is, it probably never stopped.

    I just do not understand, where is the outrage? We have spent 100's of billion dollars in military aid
    to build and train these guys and they can't handle this rag-tag bunch. Hello Turkey, Hello Jordan, Hello Saudi's, Hello Iraq (yeah I know) it's time to
    step up to the plate.


    Yes, United Arab Emirates, (none / 0) (#45)
    by KeysDan on Thu Feb 12, 2015 at 06:44:15 PM EST
    suspended its flights against ISIS over Syria due to safety concerns for its pilots.  US flights, of course, continued. According to UAE, inadequate search and rescue was in place by the US for downed pilots.  After the immolation of the Jordan pilot and new US efforts on the rescue front, UAE resumed flights a few days ago.

    "plenty of local players" (none / 0) (#47)
    by Mr Natural on Fri Feb 13, 2015 at 07:59:32 AM EST
    lol.  The local players are who's hiding underneath those balaclavas.  The young and stupid aren't running this.  They're being controlled and manipulated by those who are older (and have more insurance.)

    Why us? (none / 0) (#48)
    by MO Blue on Fri Feb 13, 2015 at 08:35:27 AM EST
    It seems that no other country is willing to sacrifice their troups. According to a former deputy national security advisor, the Arab nations would find it very hard
    The US Congress is now weighing up the language of that authorisation - that to defeat IS in Iraq and Syria the US will need soldiers from Arab nations.to to sustain support in their publics if they incurred casualties. So suck it up American, they know that they don't have to do it because we will.

    But a former American ambassador in the Middle East and deputy national security advisor gave testimony to Congress questioning whether Arab nations could be expected to supply infantry for any future ground offensive.

    "If I were advising the president ... I would say be very careful about that because the main value of these allies is their political support, which plays well here, and what they're doing in their own societies to deal with this violent Islamic manifestation," he said.

    "If they start taking a lot of casualties in ground combat against [IS] and they will - look at the Kurds, 500 or 600 killed - that's going to be very hard for them to sustain in their publics."

    In other words (none / 0) (#49)
    by FlJoe on Fri Feb 13, 2015 at 09:32:51 AM EST
    they are cowards? I am not buying it, I never pictured these nations as being peaceful states unwilling to shed their soldier's blood. If these players are unable/unwilling to confront ISIS in their own backyard then our policies in the region are more disastrous then I ever thought. We waste billions and billions giving these guys shiny warplanes and tanks but when push comes to shove we are again left to do the dirty work.

    Why should they risk their lives (none / 0) (#50)
    by MO Blue on Fri Feb 13, 2015 at 10:16:21 AM EST
    when our politicians are so very willing to let our soldiers die in their place?

    Of course, they and their their friends get even richer by their willingness to sacrifice our treasures on the battlefields of the world.


    BTW, you might want to reread my quote (none / 0) (#51)
    by MO Blue on Fri Feb 13, 2015 at 10:20:42 AM EST
    It was an American who stated it was a bad idea to have the Arabs do the fighting in the ME.

    Brilliant (none / 0) (#52)
    by FlJoe on Fri Feb 13, 2015 at 10:30:30 AM EST
    Lets have the Arabs go fight in the Ukraine and the Ukranians go fight in the ME. Solves all of our problems.

    Once again we leave out a key issue (none / 0) (#53)
    by Slado on Sat Feb 14, 2015 at 07:04:56 AM EST

    We've decided that for the Islamic world that ISIS doesn't represent Islam.   The moderates and our "Allies" do.   We don't really know what the average ME Muslim thinks but we don't appear to care as long as their leaders say all the right things and agree with our assessment.  

    It is a very big deal for these governments to attack and kill ISIS especially when it will be Sunni's fighting Sunni's for some countries but Shia's fighting  Sunni's for others.    We are asking Muslims to kill their fellow Muslims on our behalf because after 10 years of doing it ourselves we've grown tired of it and want them to do it for us.  I'm sure this notion plays well on the street.

    How many of the citizens of these nations not being directly threatened by iSIS  really want their Islamic governments waging war against a group of Muslims (and I assure you they see them as Muslims) that is fighting the dictator Assad and taking back Iraq from the Shia government in Iraq being heavily influencd by the Americans and now Iranians?

    I bet the leaders have a gold feel and don't want the blowback inside their own countries when their citizens see their armies  being tools for the Americans who have spent the last ten years waging a war against Islam and Muslims for oil.

    Religion is the number one political issue in that part of the world.  If we don't use it as a way to understand the motivations of the people when we make policy decisions going forward we again will see troops abandoning their posts and suicide bombers attacking us even though we are the "good guys".

    Here's hoping both sides continue playing politics with this issue until some sort of a plan to win but more importantly what happens when we're through "destroying ISIS.


    You seem to be leaving (none / 0) (#54)
    by FlJoe on Sat Feb 14, 2015 at 09:41:05 AM EST
    out the fact that the vast majority of Isis's  victims are muslims, are you saying that they have suddenly become a "turn your cheek" religion? Funny, I always thought they dealt out swift and brutal punishments to criminals like this.

    I bet the leaders have a gold feel and don't want the blowback inside their own countries when their citizens see their armies  being tools for the Americans who have spent the last ten years waging a war against Islam and Muslims for oil.
    Bingo,all these leaders are terrified of their own religious hotheads, but until we stand back and let them stand up for themselves the cycle will continue.

    I'm not ignoring the fact (none / 0) (#55)
    by Slado on Sat Feb 14, 2015 at 02:34:30 PM EST
    it plays into it as well but we in the west don't comprehend how much religion trumps political and national boundaries.

    Also we have been over there for 10 years killing them and they have seen very little if any results to the positive.  The Arab street is full of ideas and conspiracy theories and none of those ideas have anything to do with how we have been trying to give them democracy and freedom the last ten years.

    We are invaders after oil who will kill ISIS yes but it's not like we are the good guys.

    Also we already asked Sunni's to fight these guys once and it didn't get them anything.  Now we want them to fight the bad guys again but this time we aren't going to help on the ground.   They can do the dying and we'll be at 20,000 feet.

    Just saying it's not as easy to sell as we would like to think.


    Reluctant to tie our (none / 0) (#37)
    by KeysDan on Thu Feb 12, 2015 at 12:12:05 PM EST
    troops hands behind their back, need leadership that stays out of the way and let's the military decide.   Good idea, Zinke.  Wonder why no one ever came up with that before, it sounds like the sure fire answer.

    "Vietnam veterans said they saw the apparent success of US troops during the first two days of the Persian Gulf War as vindication of what they would have done had they not been required to fight their war with one hand tied behind their back."     "We are allowed to do what we should have been allowed to do then."   January 18, 1991

     Yes, keep the politicians out of it and let the military handle it, just as President George HW Bush vowed to do.  And, that settled things down, finally, in the Middle East.  

    The (none / 0) (#38)
    by KeysDan on Thu Feb 12, 2015 at 12:14:49 PM EST