Veteran Sen. Orrin Hatch ripped into the president's plan to limit military force against the Islamic State (ISIS), calling it "utterly stupid" and arguing it will handcuff his successor with "really stupid language."
"Any president worth his or her salt is going to ask for as much authority as they can get, so at least the ISIS people know that he has the authority to come in on them anyway he wants to," the Utah Republican told KSL News Radio
on Wednesday, reports The Hill
Hatch, mentioning the death of American aid worker Kayla Mueller
, said Obama needs to threaten ISIS with "all the force he can get," not by setting limits.
ISIS claimed on Feb. 6 that Mueller was killed when the building where she was being held in Raqqa, Syria, a weapons storage facility, was bombed by aircraft from Jordan.
However, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said there was "no evidence of civilians in the target area" at the time of the strike, and insisted ISIS, who captured Mueller, was responsible for her death.
Obama on Wednesday sent a proposal to Congress to allow U.S. troops to target ISIS leaders, advise and assist in operations against the group, and to conduct search and rescue missions.
However, the plan bars "enduring offensive ground combat operations" and limits authorization for the campaign to three years.
Those restrictions could be used by ISIS, said Hatch.
"Why would we not only unilaterally impose limitations as to which types of tools and tactics our service members can use then also broadcast these limitations to the enemy?" he told KSL. "If we're telling the Islamic State upfront that we will not using ground forces, will they not tailor their strategy around that fact?"
He said he fears that if ISIS knows an end date for military action, "won't they just hunker down and wait for that date?"
Instead of Obama's plan, Hatch said, there should be a new military authorization that allows the executive branch to use force against ISIS and its future forms, while targeting its associates.
"Most importantly, the president should be asking for an authorization that would not impose any artificial and any unnecessary limitations such as those based on time, geography and type of force that could interfere with our strategic objectives of defeating the Islamic State," he said.
But instead of doing that, Hatch said, Obama is "tying his own hands, and stupidly tying his own hands," he said. "I mean my goodness, talk about telegraphing weakness. That's what he's doing."
Sandy Fitzgerald ✉
Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
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