February 13, 2015
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Every member of Congress should vote NO on President Obama’s request for an “authorization for the use of military force” (AUMF) against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
President Obama’s request is an absurd and insulting effort to get the Congress to provide political cover for a hopelessly unworkable campaign in Iraq and Syria.
The proposal is absurd both because of the context within which it is being offered and because of the structure of the proposal itself.
Let’s start with the recent context in which the President is asking for approval.
His spokesman announced that the Taliban is not a terrorist group. This is a group the U.S. has been fighting since late 2001, when our invasion of Afghanistan to remove the Taliban from power marked the beginning of the War on Terror. For more than 13 years, we have been killing Taliban members and they have been killing Americans and Afghans. Now, thousands of lives, tens of thousands of wounded and billions of dollars later, the Obama White House says they are not terrorists.
President Obama decided to use the National Prayer Breakfast as a venue to announce that his one-sided distortion of 1,000-year-old history proved we should not judge too harshly the terrorists who today behead and burn their victims to death. This was bad history, bad timing, ridiculously bad judgment.
President Obama explained that the killing of Jews in a Jewish grocery store in Paris–by a radical Islamist who told the media he had set out to kill Jews–was a “random” act of violence. This is delusional on a clinical scale, or dishonesty on cynical level. The White House and State Department spokespersons backed up the President, of course, and looked idiotic doing it.
In the same interview, the President said he thought the problem of terrorism was “hyped” by the media, and suggested that it gets relatively too much attention compared to more pressing threats like global warming.
Back in October, President Obama declared Yemen a good example of how our policies were working. This week the radical Islamists defeated the government. The British, French and American embassies were evacuated and the rebels are now driving our vehicles around the capital. The leader of the National Counterterrorism Center admitted that we were surprised by the sudden collapse of the Yemeni government (just as we were surprised a few months ago by the sudden collapse of the Iraqi Army).
Lt. General Michael Flynn, the immediate former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, has said that things are getting worse and the radical Islamists are gaining strength. He has said bluntly that the current plans and strategies aren’t working.
The director of the FBI said last week that there are active anti-terror investigations underway into individuals possibly connected with ISIS in 49 states. Under the Obama regime of political correctness, of course, the FBI director can’t tell us what common characteristic is shared by the threats in 49 states.
If the President can’t even honestly and accurately describe our enemies, why would reasonable, prudent members of Congress vote to legitimize his policies?
The entire context surrounding the administration’s request proves it is doomed to fail. But the authorization itself is also so weak that it deserves to be defeated for that reason alone.
President Obama is proposing a three-year authorization.
Why three years?
We have been struggling with radical Islamists since the Iranians seized the American Embassy in 1979. If we have not won in 35 years, why would we think President Obama can win the war with no name against the enemy with no identity in three years?
The Obama resolution is profoundly wrong in its focus.
Radical Islamists are a global problem. The most recent estimate is that more than 20,000 foreign fighters have flocked to Iraq and Syria to join ISIS.
The United States has had at least 150 people trying to join the terrorists. Britain has had more than 600. The French more than 1,000.
The emergence of radical Islamist groups continues across the planet.
Any resolution which focuses only on Iraq and Syria is by definition a failure.
In 2014 Boko Haram killed more people in Nigeria (10,000) than Ebola killed in all of Africa (8,000).
The radicals are gaining ground in Yemen.
Al Shabab remains a threat in Somalia.
Libya continues to host terrorist factions.
This is clearly a global campaign.
A declaration of war against all elements of radical Islamism would make sense. I joined a group of House members in calling for such a declaration of war immediately after 9/11. Our reasoning then is still true today. Declaring war would turn aiding radical Islamists into an act of treason. It would define the campaign as a war, to be fought under the rules if war. It would end the efforts of lawyers to get judges on the battlefield. It would communicate to friends and enemies alike how serious we are about winning and not just trying.
The Obama proposal is both factually and symbolically absurd and it should be rejected.
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