Tags: America's Forum | Iraq | ISIS/Islamic State | Syria | war powers | debate | congress

Buchanan, Hoekstra: War Powers Opens Way to Needed Debate on ISIS

By    |   Thursday, 12 February 2015 11:34 AM

Whether or not Congress ultimately votes to give President Barack Obama authorization to use military force against the Islamic State (ISIS), the debate will do a lot of good, former presidential adviser Pat Buchanan and former House Intelligence Chairman Pete Hoekstra agreed Thursday on Newsmax TV’s "America’s Forum."

"This is an excellent exercise," Buchanan said. "I've argued for a long time that the Congress of the United States should be brought aboard and frankly should say yes or no to all of these wars and these American interventions. The debate that's going to be forced here is a good one.

"President Obama said we've got to degrade and defeat ISIS. We can degrade and we can contain ISIS with what we're doing now, but to defeat them, they're going to need an army in Iraq, presumably the Iraqi army, and the Kurds, and they're going to need troops in Syria in the scores of thousands who presently do not exist as an army.

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"So this forces the Congress of the United States to sit down, debate, and determine what it's going to take to win the war, and, after we win it, who sits in Damascus, for example? To answer these questions is extremely healthy."

The discussions need to focus on how the United States plans to confront and contain the threats posed by ISIS, and who’s going to do the fighting, according to Hoekstra.

"The document itself, I'm not going to say it's meaningless because remember, number one, the president says, I don't need it," Hoekstra said. "I already have the authorization to act, I can do whatever I need to do so I don't need it.

"The second thing is it's written vaguely enough that you've got people on the left that say it gives the president too much authority, you've got people on the right who are saying it's not aggressive enough."

Hoekstra said the new authorization for use of force would give Obama and future presidents the flexibility to be as aggressive or restrained as they saw fit.

"The debate is the most important thing of this process," Hoekstra said.

The three-year sunset stipulated in Obama’s current request does not concern Buchanan. If there is a change in circumstances and something happened that would "tip the balance against us in the whole Middle East," he said he’s confident that Congress would revisit the issue and give the president the authorization "to do what it took to prevent that."

"So I don't think it's a bad thing at all that the time limit is on it," Buchanan said. "If the Republicans got control of both houses of Congress and the presidency, they can extend it and expand it. The Democrats, they would have it there, they wouldn't have to use it."

Like Hoekstra, Buchanan said he would like to see a debate about what we are doing and who we want to ultimately win in this war.

"We know who we're against, but a lot of our allies there, for example in Syria, our allies are Hezbollah de facto, Iran, Assad, and Russia fighting against ISIS," he said. "And so for people to sit down and talk this over and think it through, where we are going and for what we should spend American blood is an excellent exercise."

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Whether or not Congress ultimately votes to give President Barack Obama authorization to use military force against the Islamic State, the debate it will initiate will do a lot of good, Pat Buchanan and Pete Hoekstra told Newsmax TV.
war powers, debate, congress, Pete Hoekstra, Pat Buchanan
Thursday, 12 February 2015 11:34 AM
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