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Published On: Thu, Feb 12th, 2015

President Obama ‘sort of’ declares war on ISIS, GOP unhappy

President Obama on Wednesday opened the door to “limited” ground combat operations against the Islamic State, as he asked Congress to formally authorize military force against the terrorist network.

The President, in a proposed resolution and a letter to Congress, underscored the “grave threat” posed by ISIS, but imposed a three-year limit on American action that has been conducted largely from the air and, while allowing Special Operations commandos and other limited missions, would rule out sustained, large-scale ground combat.

It would also finally repeal the expansive 2002 congressional measure that authorized President George W. Bush’s war in Iraq.

Obama declares war on ISIS   photo/ screenshot from 2014 State of the Union address

Obama declares war on ISIS photo/ screenshot from 2014 State of the Union address

“This is a difficult mission, and it will remain difficult for some time,” Obama said. “But our coalition is on the offensive. ISIL is on the defensive, and ISIL is going to lose.”

The request includes no restrictions on where U.S. forces could pursue the threat. And while the current military campaign centers on coalition airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, the proposal clearly allows U.S. ground troops to engage in limited circumstances.

“The authorization I propose would provide the flexibility to conduct ground combat operations in other, more limited circumstances, such as rescue operations involving U.S. or coalition personnel or the use of special operations forces to take military action against ISIL leadership,” Obama wrote in his letter to Congress. “It would also authorize the use of U.S. forces in situations where ground combat operations are not expected or intended, such as intelligence collection and sharing, missions to enable kinetic strikes, or the provision of operational planning and other forms of advice and assistance to partner forces.”

“It is not the authorization of another ground war,” Obama said, adding: “We need flexibility, but we also have to be careful and deliberate.”

The request kicks off what is likely to be a drawn-out debate in Congress, with neoconservative lawmakers sure to push for a broader authorization and anti-interventionist voices seeking more limits.

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., said he is “concerned about the breadth and vagueness of the U.S. ground troop language and will seek to clarify it.”

On the other side, House Speaker John Boehner said he was “not sure that the strategy that’s been outlined will accomplish the mission.”

Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he appreciated the president seeking the authorization and would quickly begin holding “rigorous hearings” on the White House request.

“Voting to authorize the use of military force is one of the most important actions Congress can take, and while there will be differences, it is my hope that we will fulfill our constitutional responsibility, and in a bipartisan way, pass an authorization that allows us to confront this serious threat,” Corker said.

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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