Tags: ISIS/Islamic State | Obama | war powers | Democrats

Obama's War Resolution Draws Heavy Fire From the Left

By    |   Monday, 23 Feb 2015 12:17 PM

In attempting to win congressional support for a new resolution authorizing force against the Islamic State (ISIS), President Barack Obama has to tackle a huge problem within the Democrat Party: a deeply suspicious left-wing base that regards anything but the most narrow war authorization as a return to the policies of George W. Bush in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Many House and Senate Democrats – who, like Obama, rose to political prominence by opposing Bush – say they will oppose any legislation giving Obama greater latitude to fight the terrorists than he has asked for. But the Republican majorities in the House and Senate have the opposite problem with Obama's approach: that it does not go far enough and would tie the hands of Obama and the next president.

Special: Find Out Everything You Need to Know About the Rise of ISIS — Click Here

Should Obama be seen as attempting to accommodate these Republican concerns, "the result could be the largest Democratic rebellion in years, which could send an embarrassing message to U.S. allies just as the United States tries to show unity against a serious national security threat," Politico reported Monday.

"If the existing draft moves towards the John McCain and Lindsey Graham position, there will be a significant bleeding of support amongst Democrats," said Connecticut Democrat Sen. Chris Murphy, referring to two prominent Republican senators supporting more expansive war powers.

"I was sent to Congress in 2006 to make sure we never repeated the mistakes of the Iraq War," said Murphy, who served three terms in the House before he was elected to the Senate in 2012. "I have a pretty clear mandate from my state to make sure we don't send massive numbers of ground troops back to the Middle East."

In his proposal announced Feb. 11, Obama proposed repealing the 2002 Iraq War authorization but leaving in place the one passed shortly after the 9/11 attacks – a measure the administration has used to support ongoing military operations against ISIS and other terror groups.

"The Republicans are trying to enable or at least allow for the possibility of a ground war," said liberal Democrat Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii. "If the language reflects that, they're not going to get a lot of Democratic votes."

To hear some Democrats explain the situation, "there's almost nothing the Obama administration can do" to win their support, according to Politico.

"A lot of members aren't even convinced that we need to vote for an AUMF [authorization for the use of military force], said Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, a co-chairman of the Progressive Caucus. "We have not  concluded as a body that we want an AUMF."

Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon says he has seen "no credible plan" from the administration for dealing with ISIS.

"Basically, it's the aftermath of the Iraq War, the worst foreign policy mistake in the history of the United States. And I do not want to fight a third war in Iraq."

Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva says that Democrats face a "damn hard" task to balance their responsibility to take on terrorists, respond to the recent murders of Americans including Kayla Mueller, loyalty to Obama and a national reluctance to fight another war, The Wall Street Journal reported.

"Even progressive members agonize over this. We've seen the atrocities. Kayla [Mueller] is from my home state," Grijalva said. "You're dealing with a non-state, you have to destroy it and ISIS. But you have the specter of history hanging over us."

Special: ISIS: Everything you need to know about the rise of the militant group — Click Here

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President Barack Obama has to tackle a huge problem within the Democrat Party: a deeply suspicious left-wing base that regards anything but the most narrow war authorization as a return to the policies of George W. Bush.
Obama, war powers, Democrats
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2015-17-23
Monday, 23 Feb 2015 12:17 PM
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