Readers React: Congress should give Obama the legal OK to fight Islamic State

To the editor: I agree with my colleague Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) that Congress should pass legislation authorizing operations against Islamic State. We should repeal and replace the authorization Congress passed shortly after 9/11 and redefine presidential authority to conduct military operations against Islamic State and Al Qaeda. Such authorization should be clearly limited in scope and duration. (“Congress must exercise its war powers,” Op-Ed, Nov. 17)

However, I do not believe that the president’s current actions constitute a clear violation of law. In 2001, Congress adopted an authorization to wage war against Al Qaeda that was unlimited in scope or duration. The president believes that the 2001 resolution includes an authorization to wage war against the various groups that Al Qaeda has spawned, including Islamic State, which was known as Al Qaeda in Iraq.

Rather than applying an out-of-date and overly broad resolution from 2001, Congress should draft a new authorization for the current situation.

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks)



To the editor: I think the war vote should be even more restrictive than Schiff stated.

The president should be given the power to “disrupt, dismantle and destroy” Islamic State, but he should have to state a narrow mission to Congress. He should come back to Congress periodically to explain how the mission is being advanced and if there are changes.

The president should also have to define when we have met our goals and provide an exit strategy. He should ask Congress for support for rebuilding bombed-out cities and infrastructure.


Congress is going to have to accept its responsibilities and acknowledge that the world is a complex and sometimes dangerous place. It should do more than just try to damage this president politically.

Larry Margo, Valley Village

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