When he greeted Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi at the
Yet eight months after Obama promised to "degrade, and ultimately destroy" Islamic State,
The first, approved in 2001, authorized the president to use force against those who "planned, authorized, committed or aided" the 9/11 attacks. The second authorization, from 2002, authorized President George W. Bush's use of force against "the continuing threat posed by Iraq."
Besides being responses to long-ago threats, these authorizations are extraordinarily broad and open-ended, potentially permitting everything from airstrikes and military advisors to the deployment of massive numbers of U.S. ground forces. By contrast, the proposed new three-year authorization submitted to Congress by the White House in February would rule out "enduring offensive ground combat operations."
Obama says he has no intention of reversing the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq, where more than 4,000 Americans lost their lives. But without a new authorization cementing that commitment into law, Americans can't be certain that a sudden collapse of the Iraqi army and its allied militias won't tempt the president to escalate U.S. involvement.
On Monday, Reps.