Following the murder of 26-year-old humanitarian worker Kayla Mueller at the hands of ISIS or ISIL, President Obama is asking Congress to authorize military force against the terrorist organization’s Islamic State fighters.
In urging Congress to back military force, the president ruled out “enduring offensive combat operations,” a deliberately ambiguous phrase designed to satisfy lawmakers with widely different views on any role for U.S. ground troops.
Majority Republicans in Congress responded warily to the request.
Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, expressed doubt it would “give our military commanders the flexibility and authorities they need to succeed and protect our people.” He said changes were likely before the measure comes to a vote, although an initial House committee hearing was set for Thursday.
n a letter to lawmakers that accompanied the three-page draft legislation, Obama said the Islamic State “poses a threat to the people and stability of Iraq, Syria and the broader Middle East and to U.S. national security.”
While asking Congress to bar long-term, large scale ground combat operations like those in Afghanistan and Iraq, Obama said he wants the flexibility for ground combat operations “in other more limited circumstances.” Those include rescue missions, intelligence collection and the use of special operations forces in possible military action against IS leaders.
The issue of ground forces is likely to prove difficult in the administration’s attempt to win passage of legislation.
Obama proposed a three-year time limit on the authorization for the use of force, a schedule that would leave the legislation in force through the first year of his successor’s term in office.
Although it is just a proposition for now, it is being reported that the president is likely to face some opposition from the unlikely party: the Democrats.