Readers React: Is Congress up to the job of fighting Islamic State?


To the editor: Former congressmen Mickey Edwards (R-Okla.) and David Skaggs (D-Colo.) are technically correct about the division of powers, and they seem fair in pointing fingers at both the president and Congress. (“The commander in chief should not also be the ‘decider in chief,’” Op-Ed, Sept. 2)

Something needs to be done very quickly about the Islamic State, yet Congress did not take up debate on it before going on vacation. I’m sure President Obama would have been thrilled if House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) had shown some leadership by keeping House members in Washington for the urgent debate on the Islamic State.

Obama certainly doesn’t want to be solely responsible for the mess over there, yet Congress continues to play politics by also refusing to take responsibility (while simultaneously claiming that Obama isn’t leading but that he’s making too many decisions by himself).


Whenever lawmakers are ready to show up again to perform their jobs, perhaps they can lend a hand on this topic before going on vacation. If I left my job to go on vacation with so many ticking time bombs, I would be promptly fired upon returning.

Howard Schlossberg, Agoura Hills


To the editor: While I enjoyed and agreed with this piece, the recent second recorded beheading of an American journalist by the Islamic State demands a decisive response well within the president’s powers.

The Persian Gulf War’s successes were initiated with a powerful B-52 strike. Now is the time to find an area totally controlled by the Islamic State upon which B-52 carpet bombing similarly should rain.

I hope the president has the fortitude to employ this kind of retribution, as it seems the only sure way to teach the Islamic State savages that when you execute Americans, there is hell to pay.

Gene Martinez, Orcutt, Calif.



To the editor: Edwards and Skaggs are correct to assert that only Congress has the constitutional power to declare war.

Unfortunately, both Congress and the American people conceded that power to the president many years (and wars) ago. To my recollection, the best Congress has done since World War II is to enact resolutions.

Is it too late to close the barn door?

Kevin McGill, Chula Vista