Tags: Iraq in Crisis | ISIS/Islamic State | War on Terrorism | Harry Reid | ISIS | Islamic State | airstrikes

Reid: Obama Needs Congress' OK for Weapons, Not Airstrikes

By    |   Wednesday, 10 September 2014 12:33 PM

President Barack Obama does not need additional authority from lawmakers to keep airstrikes going against the Islamic State (ISIS),  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Wednesday, but called for Congress to pass "Title 10" authority to allow the president to order training and supply arms to Syrian rebels who then, in turn, could fight against ISIS.

"As commander in chief, the president has the authority he needs now to act against ISIS. I believe the vast majority of members of Congress agree with that. For now, it's critical we support our commander in chief," Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said on the Senate floor, reports The Hill.

However, Reid said that it's "clear to me that we need to train and equip Syrian rebels and other groups in the Middle East that need some help," CNN reports. "It is called Title 10 authority. The president has tried to get that from us and we should give it to him. That is one way of helping to build an international coalition. Congress should do that."

According to U.S. code, Title 10 outlines the role of the armed forces, providing a legal basis for each branch's missions, organization and roles.

Reid, though, questioned a push by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, and others for authorization for Obama to use military force, reports Roll Call.

"We should be learning from our past mistakes, not repeating them," Reid said in a reference to the George W. Bush-era's invasion of Iraq.

"Airstrikes, strategic use of drones, and, of course, covert action are the most effective way to take out ISIS without committing troops," Reid said.

Reid also urged critics to hold back until after Obama delivers his prime-time speech Wednesday, during which he will outline his plan for dealing with the ISIS threat.

"Let's allow him to speak to our country, to our fellow citizens, and lay out his plan," Reid said. "It's absolutely critical that the American people and Congress hear directly from the president of the United States."

The Obama administration will also deliver a classified briefing to the Senate on Thursday.

Reid also complained Wednesday about House Republicans having former Vice President Dick Cheney address them Tuesday.

"There are people here in Congress who are taking advice from Dick Cheney," Reid said. "He was here yesterday. I think they'd better be very careful with the advice they take from Dick Cheney. Dick Cheney is more responsible than anyone else for the worst foreign policy decision in the history of the country — the invasion of Iraq. Almost 6,000 dead Americans, tens of thousands wounded."

Reid was one of many who voted in 2002 giving Bush authority to go into Iraq, but says he now regrets it.

"Was that war necessary? In hindsight, it appears to me that it really wasn't," Reid said. "Not only have we lost thousands of American lives, but it destabilized the whole Middle East and … hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been killed."

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President Obama does not need additional authority from lawmakers to keep airstrikes going against the Islamic State, but needs Congress to pass Title 10 to train and supply the Syrian rebels, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Wednesday.
Harry Reid, ISIS, Islamic State, airstrikes, Title 10
Wednesday, 10 September 2014 12:33 PM
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