New York Times Demands President Obama Get Congressional Authorization for ISIS Strikes
President Obama’s plan to “degrade and destroy” ISIS has garnered some criticism from the editorial board of The New York Times. They cite a speech given by President Obama at the National Defense University in May of 2013, saying that the laws authorizing the President to fight Al Qaeda should be repealed.
“Now the White House is repudiating that thinking and making the perplexing argument that the 2001 law authorizing the use of force in Afghanistan and the 2002 law authorizing force in Iraq give Mr. Obama the power to battle the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, known as ISIS and ISIL, indefinitely and anywhere in the world. They most certainly don’t.”
The Times argues that because “Al Qaeda has disavowed ISIS, deeming it too radical” that to suggest that ISIS is a legitimate target under the 2001 law authorizing the fight against the group is just wrong.
That Al Qaeda distanced itself from ISIS because they are too vicious is an odd yet persistent myth. In fact, Al Qaeda distanced itself from ISIS in February of this year because the group didn’t follow orders when they were told to leave Syria to focus their attention on Iraq. They also conducted a suicide attack at a meeting where a truce was supposed to be negotiated.
They also point to President Obama’s assertion that Congress provide authorization for action in Syria – a civil war and before the extent of the ISIS threat was known – as another reason why he’s being hypocritical about ISIS. In fact, it seems officials in the government and intelligence circles can’t accurately determine if ISIS poses a significant threat to the United States or not.
The justification, or at least your humble correspondent’s reading of the situation, is that ISIS certainly is a danger to the U.S. As Richard Clarke, the intelligence official who spent his career warning Presidents Bush and Clinton about the dangers of Osama Bin Laden, said on an episode of Real Time that to attack the U.S. would be a huge feather in the ISIS cap. Also, since many of their members have western and U.S. passports, infiltrating the country would be as easy as getting on a plane.
Any military action taken by the U.S. is simply a palliative remedy and not one that will truly eradicate the “cancer” that is ISIS. The true solution to the ISIS problem has to come from the Mulsim people, but in the meantime the President seems not willing to take any chances.