Tags: Barack Obama | Iraq | ISIS/Islamic State | Rand Paul | Rand Paul | Obama | declare

Rand Paul: Time for Formal Declaration of War on ISIS

By    |   Monday, 24 November 2014 11:37 AM

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul not only wants to severely limit the use of military force against the Islamic State (ISIS), but he wants to formally declare war against the Islamic terrorist group, The New York Times reports.

While many members of Congress have proposed granting the Obama administration limited authority to act against the Islamic State, Paul's suggestion of a formal declaration would take the "extra step of declaring war — something Congress has not done since World War II," according to the Times.

The Obama administration has cited the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, which was passed after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and a 2002 congressional resolution granting President George W. Bush authorization for the Iraq War to justify actions against the Islamic State, including a series of airstrikes that were launched in September, according to the Times.

Paul's resolution would permit the limited use of ground forces "as necessary for the protection or rescue of members of the United States Armed Forces or United States citizens from imminent danger [posed by ISIS] … for limited operations against high value targets" and "as necessary for advisory and intelligence gathering operations," reports The Daily Beast, which also obtained a copy of the Kentucky senator's resolution.

The proposal, which will be introduced next month, is not the first time Paul has stated his belief the administration is going beyond its executive authority and must come to Congress to begin a war against the Islamic State.

"I also believe the War Powers Act is misunderstood; President Obama acted without true constitutional authority even before the 90 days expired, since we were not under attack at that time. But in either case, this war is now illegal. It must be declared and made valid, or it must be ended," Paul wrote in a Nov. 10 editorial in The Daily Beast.

"Congress has a duty to act, one way or the other," he added.

In his post-election news conference, Obama said he was planning to "begin engaging Congress over a new Authorization to Use Military Force against [ISIS]," but Congress has so far been reluctant to move forward with a vote.

An aide to House Speaker John Boehner told the National Journal that he wants to receive specific language from the administration before a vote is called.

"The ball's in their court," said the aide.

However, pressure from Paul and others is building on Congress to assert its authority.

In his November editorial, Paul voiced specific criticism of conservatives who decry Obama's use of executive authority when Obamacare is the issue, but not when the use of military force is concerned. He said "conservatives can't simply be angry at the president's lawlessness when they disagree with his policies" and urged them to "end their conspicuous silence about the president's usurpation of Congress' sole authority to declare war  [especially if] they support going after ISIS, as I do."

On Sept. 23, Michigan Republican Rep. Justin Amash made a similar argument in a tweet in which he noted that "GOP ldrs regularly blast Obama's unlawful exec orders, yet they applaud his most egregious exec order: going to war w/o congressional auth."

Democrats also have joined Paul and Amash to urge Congress to hold a formal vote on the use of force.

"It is time for Congress to step up and revise the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force in a way that supports the targeted actions underway, but also prevents the deployment of American ground forces that would drag us into another Iraq War," said Maryland Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen in a Sept. 23 statement.

Van Hollen did express support for the administration's decision to "organize a coalition of Arab countries to strike key ISIS targets in Syria in response their extremist agenda."

Legal scholars also have weighed in, asserting Obama lacks authority to wage war against the Islamic State.

"Since ISIS poses a new problem for the president, the War Powers Resolution of 1973 requires him to seek a new mandate from Congress. The resolution, enacted over President Richard M. Nixon's veto at the end of the Vietnam War, requires the president to obtain congressional assent within 60 days of commencing 'hostilities'; if he fails, he must withdraw American forces within 30 days," wrote Yale law and political science professor Bruce Ackerman in a September editorial in The New York Times.

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Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul not only wants to severely limit the use of military force against the Islamic State (ISIS), but he wants to formally declare war against the Islamic terrorist group, The New York Times reports.
Rand Paul, Obama, declare, war, ISIS, Islamic State, Congress, War Powers Act
Monday, 24 November 2014 11:37 AM
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