Allen B. West

FUBAR or SNAFU? Congress to punt on war powers bill

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It’s been over 60 days since the United States began airstrikes against ISIS. So may I pose a simple question: are we at war with ISIS? Or is it just an “overseas contingency operation?” The Obama administration was vehemently against the standing AUMF (Authorization for Use of Military Force) right before they were for it — how convenient to play adjustable war policy.

I hope you recall the Obama administration NEVER went to Congress on operations in Libya and exceeded the authorization as prescribed in our law, the War Powers Resolution. And we see how well things worked out in Libya — last thing I remember, Islamic terrorists were doing swan dives into the U.S. Embassy residential complex pool.

So if you’re not paying attention, we’ve been escalating our involvement in Iraq to the tune of 3,000 “advisors” on the ground — oops, non-combat troops. And we’ve gone from just fixed wing airstrikes to involving attack helicopters flying without any supporting surface-to-surface fire support — a violation of tactical employment.

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Many are focused on President Obama’s threat to use executive action to grant amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants in America. (And let’s be honest, Ronald Reagan allowed amnesty for 2-3 million because securing the border was a continent portion of the action. And guess what, congress — a Democrat congress — never secured the border.) But we should also be focused on the nebulous “non-combat operation” being escalated with no authorization and strategic direction by the Obama administration. This policy of “mission creep” is history repeating itself, as we remember from the Vietnam War.

A report from the Washington Examiner explains, “The Obama administration has been “vacillating” on its request that lawmakers grant the president additional war powers to combat the Islamic State, leaving congressional Democrats frustrated and both the House and Senate poised to adjourn this year without passing any legislation, even as the conflict in the Middle East escalates. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee had to abruptly cancel a hearing on the Islamic State scheduled for Tuesday after its star witness, believed to be Secretary of State John Kerry, said he could not attend (how convenient for the Secretary of State to flee in order to negotiate with Iran). The move leaves Senate Democrats little time to gather critical information about the U.S. strategy for combating the group, which the Senate needs to craft a measure known as an “authorization for use of military force,” or AUMF. “How do you go forward with an AUMF when you are not being briefed by the administration?” a Hill aide asked the Washington Examiner.”

I think the Capitol Hill aide should be asking that question of the National Security Advisor, Susan Rice. And why is it that the Senate needs to speak to Secretary of State Kerry on this matter? Why not the Secretary of Defense? — after all, it’s called an authorization for use of military force — not diplomatic.

What is so very disturbing for me is that no one in the House or Senate is taking any forcible action to hold the Obama administration accountable. Talk about ceding over the enumerated powers of the legislative branch.

“House Republicans say they have no plans to take up a war powers bill this year, in part because President Obama has not sent over a specific request for what kind of authorization he wants. “The House will wait till next year,” a spokesman for House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., told the Examiner. Another GOP aide said Republican leaders “believe that Obama has an obligation, as previous presidents have done, to draft and send up language specific to the authorities he needs and work to ensure its passage.” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has not indicated whether he would take up a war powers measure, but Democrats tell the Examiner that the leadership is in no rush, having taken cues from Obama’s recent public statement that he really doesn’t need Congress to take any action right now.”

Not a single person from the House or Senate should depart for any recess until this is hammered out. We cannot continue the violations of our rule of law, especially in the case of deploying American troops into an ill-defined combat operation for which there is no authorization.

Either we commit to destroying ISIS or stop playing this farce pretending to do so — and than means a declaration which clearly delineates our strategic, operational, and tactical tasks and purposes.

We have nothing of the sort, and no one seems to view this with any sense of urgency. The president does not possess the unilateral authority to just send American troops anywhere to do whatever he deems important — he must present his case before the representatives of the American people for support — or rejection.

This is just another reflection of the dysfunction of our federal government and the evident lack of guiding policy — just politics and political calculations — at the expense of our men and women in uniform. It’s disgusting.

The Examiner says, “On Nov. 5, Obama told reporters he would request specific authorization for using the U.S. military to battle the Islamic State, a jihadist group waging a terrorist campaign throughout parts of the Middle East. But he also said the debate could perhaps wait until the new Congress convenes in January.”

Then we should wait to deploy any troops to Iraq — actually, we should redeploy them all until someone figures out exactly what we’re doing. Yes, I want ISIS destroyed, but I don’t want this situation of abject incompetence to pervade and our troops suffer because of it.

The Obama administration and our congress have no idea or strategy, and this is the worst-case scenario in which an American fighter can be deployed. And what is more disconcerting is that the American people are sitting back and allowing this to occur — either this operation is authorized or it is not – but according to our Constitution and standing laws, this operation is not authorized.

We are in a dangerous place and the enemy knows the situation is unclear and \no one is truly addressing ISIS. Speeches, rhetoric — all the while ISIS is murdering and increasing their ranks– yes, Iraqi troops pushed back ISIS in Beiji — but ISIS is still pressing its advantage in western Al Anbar province.

According to the Washington Examiner, “Earlier this month, the Pentagon announced plans to double to about 3,000 the number of U.S. troops in Iraq who are serving as advisers to Kurdish and Iraqi forces fighting the Islamic terrorists. The U.S. military has also stepped up targeted airstrikes. Obama and some lawmakers in both parties, though, believe the president is authorized to act under war powers measures that were passed in 2001 and 2002, during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

There is no war in Iraq and we are drawing down in Afghanistan — these AUMFs are not valid for current operations. We are doing something not authorized for which there is no strategic vision or policy.

We should not be deploying our troops without clear authorization — and there is none. Some would say this is FUBAR – but sadly, it’s SNAFU.

Congrats Mr. President, you just...

Congrats Mr. President, you just...

Obama just handed Hillary a HUGE stinking mess...

Obama just handed Hillary a HUGE stinking mess...