A puzzling aspect of President
In a speech in September, Obama insisted that he already possessed all the legal authority he needed to launch airstrikes against the group in Iraq and Syria, though he added vaguely: "I welcome congressional support for this effort." But in his
Faced with the administration's passive-aggressive attitude, Congress should exercise its constitutional responsibility by authorizing and placing limits on that war. A bill introduced this week by Rep.
The Schiff resolution would authorize military action against Islamic State for three years, but only in Iraq and Syria. Military action could not include the deployment of "ground forces in a combat role," though military advisors and special operations forces would be allowed. That retroactively ratifies Obama's decision to send 3,000 advisors to Iraq.
Schiff's bill also would immediately repeal the 2002 resolution allowing military action against Iraq (the authorization for President
Given the liberties the Bush and Obama administrations have taken with the existing congressional authorizations, Schiff is right to include time limits and to codify Obama's insistence that he doesn't intend to commit "boots on the ground" to this conflict. Nothing prevents Obama or his successors from seeking additional authority later.
Even without the deployment of ground forces, the U.S. is embarked on a large-scale and long-term military campaign to "degrade and ultimately destroy" Islamic State. It's unconscionable that Congress has not yet voted on this commitment. It must expeditiously do so, with or without a script from the White House.