President Obama on Wednesday morning sent Congress draft legislation authorizing the use of military force (AUMF) against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), warning that if the terror group was left unchecked, it would “pose a threat beyond the Middle East, including to the United States homeland.”
In September 2014, I wrote that the United States has an obligation to lead and respond whenever innocent people are being massacred. The President has since shown indecision and dragged his feet on the formulation of a plan to wipe out this radical terror group. On September 10th, the President spoke for a mere 14 minutes in length during a primetime speech, painting in broad strokes the outlines of a strategy that was void of anything substantive.
It is the President who, utilizing the vast resources of the executive branch, must assess any threats to our national security and who must lead by developing a comprehensive, intelligent strategy to confront and defeat the enemy. I appreciate that the President has come to Congress for authorization for use of military force, but this is not a substitute for a comprehensive strategy to confront and defeat an enemy that the President has yet to define.
I want to reiterate that there is no more serious matter that comes before a Congress than the authorization for the use of military force. I am keenly aware that the American public is war weary after fighting in the Middle East for over a decade, but we must respond with military might, not with half-hearted attempts at pacifying terrorist organizations.
As Congress moves forward in addressing this serious threat, I strongly support any discussion that ensures the United States aggressively and effectively attacks this enemy while also providing the training, equipment, and strategic flexibility needed by our military. I welcome this debate and urge President Obama to not limit the means or capabilities of the United States (such as a “3 year sunset provision” and not authorizing “enduring offensive ground operations”) to defeat this enemy. Working with our friends in the region that are most affected by ISIS is necessary, but the United States must also do what it traditionally has done: Lead. The President’s current request is not sufficient.
Member of Congress