Congress Must Authorize New Iraq/Syria War

FA-18 Hornet
An FA-18 takes off from the US Navy aircraft carrier USS George HW Bush in the Gulf last Friday

CENTCOM confirms airstrikes against ISIS forces near the Mosul Dam. These attacks were offensive actions that went beyond the stated reasons for U.S. military action, namely to protect refugees and the city of Erbil.

Congress must get involved as soon as possible. Our Constitution does not allow the President to conduct offensive military operations on his own, without congressional authorization.

I get it. Democrats don’t want to vote for a new war in Iraq before the November elections, and the Tea-GOP/neocons are extremely reluctant to approve anything President Obama does or might do, even if they agree with it in principle.

Well, too bad. Congress (and only Congress) has the responsibility to either authorize another war or rein in this President. Mission creep is already underway – soon there will be about 1,000 U.S. soldiers on the ground in Iraq. The Pentagon has disclosed that a failed hostage rescue attempt last month resulted in a firefight with ISIS on the ground in Syria.

Any decision to wage war on ISIS has to take into account the fact that Syria is their base of operations. Are we going to commit our armed forces to fight, effectively, on behalf of the Assad regime in Damascus?

More info:
Iraq crisis: US strikes aid Kurdish bid to retake dam

Bill Roggio, editor of The Long War Journal:
US launches 6 more airstrikes against Islamic State

The US has now “conducted a total of 90 airstrikes across Iraq. Of those 90 strikes, 57 have been in support of Iraqi forces near the Mosul Dam.”

…When President Obama “authorized the U.S. Armed Forces to conduct targeted air strikes to support operations by Iraqi forces to recapture the Mosul Dam” on Aug. 14, he permitted the United States military to serve as Iraq’s air arm as Iraqi and Kurdish forces went on the offensive in northern Iraq.

The Obama administration should be very explicit about its goals and objectives in Iraq if it wants to retain the support of the American public for an extended period of time. If the goal is to conduct limited airstrikes in the north to help the Iraqi government and the Kurds regain some lost ground with the hopes of containing the Islamic State, then it should say so. If the goal is to further the defeat of the Islamic State by striking in other theaters and possibly putting advisers, forward air controllers, and special operations forces on the ground, then the administration should communicate that as well.

DSWright on FDL: Secretary Hagel Claims ISIS Is ‘Threat To Every Interest We Have’, ‘Beyond Anything We’ve Seen’

[T]he Pentagon now appears to be on board with launching attacks in Syria if they target ISIS with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey saying ISIS would be a threat as long as they had safe zones in Syria and that “This is an organization that has an apocalyptic, end-of- days strategic vision and which will eventually have to be defeated.” General Dempsey went on to call the Syrian-Iraq border “essentially non-existent.”

So, to recap, the Obama Administration now wants to fight with the Assad government against ISIS. Degrading Assad’s capability to kill his own people no longer a priority because he is also using that capability to kill ISIS forces. There’s still a red line somewhere it’s just not very straight.

ISIS Labeled ‘Imminent Threat’ As US Strikes Set To Expand Into Syria

In the aftermath of the killing of James Foley the Obama Administration has ratcheted up the rhetoric against ISIS now calling the group an imminent threat to US national security and global interests. Part of that label apparently entails attacking ISIS wherever they are including outside of current “limited” US operations in Iraq with plans to expand the US military campaign against ISIS into Syria.

Of course, in the real world there is no way ISIS constitutes an imminent threat to U.S. national security.

  1. #1 by Richard Warnick on August 27, 2014 - 10:53 am

    Patrick Cockburn: ISIS Raises the Stakes While the U.S. Pursues Bankrupt Syria Policy

    [O]ne of Isis’s great strengths is that it can switch its military campaigns from Iraq to Syria and back again, and much that happens on the Syrian battlefields remains unreported. It helps Isis that the US, Britain and their Arab allies don’t know how to retreat without humiliation from their three-year attempt to bring down President Bashar al-Assad, Isis’s main opponent in Syria. The rest of the Syrian armed opposition is retreating, disintegrating or changing sides.

    In the long term the US and their allies may well develop a degree of mostly covert co-operation with the Assad government but it will probably be too late.

    All the attention in the last two weeks has been focused on the Isis offensive against the Kurds and Yazidis. But over the same period there has been much heavier fighting in Syria than in Iraq, with Isis storming an important Syrian army base at Tabqa on Sunday, capturing much equipment including jet aircraft. This was not a walkover as in Sinjar, but a bloody battle with 346 Isis fighters and 170 government soldiers reportedly killed.

    Isis is winning victories where it counts, capturing two other Syrian army bases near Tabqa and a fourth in Hasakah province. The bottom line is that Isis fighters are now driving westwards, threatening Hama and Aleppo.

  2. #2 by Richard Warnick on September 5, 2014 - 9:26 am

    Congressman Introduces Bill To Authorize Military Force Virtually Everywhere

    Titled the ‘‘Authorization for Use of Military Force against International Terrorism Act’,” [Rep. Frank] Wolf’s [R-VA] bill would greatly expand the already overly broad mandate given under the 2001 AUMF.

    It may not be possible to make an unwinnable war even MORE unwinnable, however Rep. Wolf is going to try!

    • #3 by Larry Bergan on September 5, 2014 - 5:20 pm

      Just what we need is an endless war act. I’m sure there are those who LOVE the idea.

  3. #7 by Larry Bergan on September 5, 2014 - 5:15 pm

    Personally, I want Saddam back.

  4. #8 by cav - Spam Status?: Solidifying on September 5, 2014 - 6:24 pm

    Vote ! Vote ! The Wimps or the Slithers?! But, vote. It’s your duty.

  5. #9 by piss poor "progressivism" on September 6, 2014 - 10:05 am

    Voting..yes voting.can any of you by now see an iota of any hope and change? This now has become quite dire, this level of hubristic ineptitude makes for a fallen nation, let alone empire.

    Just absolutely amazing to see such a person one heartbeat away from the button. Here’s to hoping Putin is scaring some sense into them.

  6. #10 by piss poor "progressivism" on September 6, 2014 - 10:45 am

    Does any of this resemble an iota of hope and change so promised by the one? (golfing), maybe dreaming of being Tiger.

    The realm of the incredible, realizing the CIA and the CFR in accord with the military hosts civilian buffoon leaders in an ever growing total spectrum dominance of the Military Industrial Complex.

    Ike is rolling in his grave.

  7. #11 by cav - Spam Status?: Solidifying on September 8, 2014 - 7:44 pm

    If this war is going to last years as the true seers of the admin tell us, shouldn’t we, and by extension; congress, make the thing formal, and in so doing, with the power of such sagacious lawmaking, BAN profiteering this time?

    I crack myself up sometimes.

  8. #12 by cav - Spam Status?: Solidifying on September 9, 2014 - 11:25 am

    Depends on what the meaning of ISIS. /B. Clinton

  9. #13 by brewski on September 11, 2014 - 12:10 am

    Carter-like damage to the Democratic Party.

    This from MSNBC.

  10. #14 by Larry Bergan on September 11, 2014 - 2:22 pm

    Chuck Todd is a tool. We’re supposed to think he’s a reporter, when he’s just another far-right opinion pundit. Left leaning reporters on television can be counted on the smaller part of your hand and there ARE no far left reporters anywhere on television.

    You see how they do that?

    • #15 by brewski on September 12, 2014 - 8:13 am

      Chuck Todd far right? Really?

      All reporters are lefties. Don’t you see that?

      • #16 by cav - Spam Status?: Solidifying on September 12, 2014 - 6:13 pm

        They’re certainly in someone’s pocket. be it left of right pocket…same pair of pants.

      • #17 by Larry Bergan on September 12, 2014 - 8:14 pm

        There might be a coliseum full of reporters who actually want to report on what’s really going on, but they want to keep their well paying jobs. The alternative for them is starting up a podcast or web news site and struggling to keep it going without a smidgen of corporate money.

        If “all reporters are lefties”, why don’t Glenn Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill, Greg Palast or the myriad of other great reporters have any television presence. These people are on par with Edward R. Murrow or even better.

        • #18 by brewski on September 13, 2014 - 5:48 pm

          Because they have so little credibility no one wants to listen to them except for loons who live in their mother’s basements and think their failures are all someone else’s fault.

          • #19 by cav - Spam Status?: Solidifying on September 13, 2014 - 8:45 pm

            And I get the spam grill ! WTF

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