An uncertain kazoo

The New York Times has posted the text of President Obama’s proposed resolution for the authorization of the use of force against the Islamic State here. The White House has posted the text of President Obama’s remarks on the proposed resolution here. NRO’s Mario Loyola observes that the proposed resolution contains three “poison pills.” He writes:

First is the time limit of three years. This is another of Obama’s signature declarations that we’re going to fight the enemy for a time certain, regardless of the outcome and regardless of whether the enemy continues fighting after that deadline. Once again, instead of a strategy, we have a deadline.

Second, and even worse, is the repeal of the Iraq war resolution of 2002. That is unacceptable because the twin objectives of that resolution — to remove the threat to the United States posed by Iraq and to bring Iraq into compliance with 16 Security Council resolutions, including protection of minorities and ending support for terrorism — are still in doubt. When Obama withdrew forces from Iraq prematurely in 2011, he in effect pushed Iraq into the control of terroristic Shiite militias and into the orbit of terror-sponsor Iran. That means Iraq is dangerous again, and the results of our war there are still in doubt, which means that — as a result of Obama’s own actions — the 2002 resolution remains necessary.

Third, and worst of all, is the proposed resolution’s specific exclusion of ground troops: “The authority granted . . . does not authorize the use of the United States Armed Forces in enduring offensive ground combat operations.” Because the starting baseline for any authorization is the 2001 resolution against al-Qaeda (which Obama has used as the basis for operations against the Islamic State for the last six months) and the 2002 resolution against Iraq, this new authorization would actually reduce the scope of what is authorized now.

Loyola speculates that the proposed resolution is calculated “to place political obstacles in the path of using ground forces in a strategy that might actually work. It is not an authorization, it is a de-authorization. The strategy behind it seems to be to force Republicans into a painful vote that will pit the GOP’s foreign-policy hawks against its libertarian doves.”

The peculiarities of the proposed resolution represent Obama trademarks. The killer clown show of the Obama administration’s closing years continues. Confronting the terrorist threat we see growing before our eyes, President Obama sounds an uncertain kazoo.


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