Is it time to go all out and get medievel on ISIS' assets?
Congressional debate over 44’s authority to combat the Islamic State flared, then quickly quieted after he introduced his AUMF in February. The two parties couldn’t agree on the scope of the president’s authority, and 44 didn’t want too much of it at all.
As WaPo described it, “the administration has found itself caught in a position of sounding the alarm about potential terrorist attacks ... but offering a war resolution that includes limits on the scope of battle against the Islamic State.”
Now, the Paris terror attacks have spurred some senators to call for renewed discussion about combatting the Islamic State. Kaine, Flake, and Senator Dianne Feinstein—who suggested that the U.S. look beyond its bombing campaign—have all publicly advocated for Congress to do more. And Graham announced in mid-November that he’ll be introducing his AUMF, which according to a recent Post story has no temporal or geographic constraints, and doesn’t forbid the use of American boots on the ground.
Similarly, in a post-Paris Time op-ed, Kaine and Flake took Congress to task for abdicating “its fundamental duty to debate, vote on, and shape the extent of the current war on ISIS”:
A Congressional debate, at long last, about this war on ISIS will educate the American public about the stakes involved. It will force the administration to give thought to, and lay out a clear strategy that encompasses military and non-military dimensions—including diplomatic and humanitarian measures—for degrading and ultimately destroying ISIS, and for U.S. involvement with other nations in this struggle. It should let our troops, our allies and our adversaries know of our unity and resolve. Finally, it will vindicate the Constitutional role of Congress in making the sober decision about when military force is necessary.For now, Congress seems more or less content with 44 using a 2001 resolution to justify anti-Islamic State military operations.
Though the Founding Framers wanted Congress to decide when America goes to war, its members haven’t really tried to decide at all—not many months after military operations have already started and not after a terrorist attack.