President Obama Asks Congress To Authorize Military Force Against ISIS

On Wednesday, President Obama sent a formal request to Congress to begin a three-year military campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS).

This comes barely 24 hours after it was announced that Kayla Mueller, an American humanitarian held hostage by ISIS, had been killed while in captivity.

The proposal would allow the president to continue to conduct air strikes against ISIS, while also authorizing limited ground operations.

These operations could include everything from pursuing terrorist leadership on the ground to rescuing personnel. This is by no means a request for a full-scale invasion, however.

This is the first time in 13 years that an American president has requested Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF).

At present, there are two war powers resolutions (AUMFs) in place.

One pertains to 9/11 and allows the president to use military force against any person, group or nation that assisted in the attacks. The new proposal will not impact this for the time being.

Yet, it would replace the 2002 war powers resolution allowing use of force in Iraq.

President Obama sent a letter to Congress in conjunction with the request, stating:

The so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) poses a threat to the people and stability of Iraq, Syria, and the broader Middle East, and to US national security. It threatens American personnel and facilities located in the region and is responsible for the deaths of US citizens James Foley, Steven Sotloff, Abdul-Rahman Peter Kassig, and Kayla Mueller. If left unchecked, ISIL will pose a threat beyond the Middle East, including to the United States homeland.

Some members of Congress have already chimed in on this development on Twitter:

Have concerns w/proposed #AUMF. Too broad in scope & provides blank check to con't 2001 AUMF. Ready to work w/@WhiteHouse to hone it further — Chris Van Hollen (@ChrisVanHollen) February 11, 2015
President Obama has taken an important step in defining the US role in the fight vs ISIL. Now Congress must debate & vote on this mission. — Senator Tim Kaine (@timkaine) February 11, 2015
Believe the Administration proposal contains important limiting provisions – including 3 year sunset & immediate repeal of 2002 Iraq #AUMF. — Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) February 11, 2015
It is my hope that we will, in a bipartisan way, pass an authorization that allows us to confront this serious threat. #AUMF — Senator Bob Corker (@SenBobCorker) February 11, 2015

As Congress continues to debate the matter, President Obama spoke on his proposal at 3:30 pm on Wednesday. Here's what he had to say:

"There is only one option—with our allies and partners we are going to degrade and ultimately destroy this terrorist group." —Obama #ISIS — Elite Daily (@EliteDaily) February 11, 2015
"Our coalition is on the offensive, #ISIL is on the defensive, and ISIL is going to lose." —President Obama #AUMF — Elite Daily (@EliteDaily) February 11, 2015
"The resolution we've submitted today does not call for the deployment of U.S. ground combat forces to Iraq or Syria." - President Obama — Elite Daily (@EliteDaily) February 11, 2015
"The United States should not get dragged back into another...ground war in the Middle East...that's not necessary to defeat #ISIL." - Obama — Elite Daily (@EliteDaily) February 11, 2015
"As Commander in Chief, I will only send our troops into harm's way when it is absolutely necessary for our national security." —Obama #ISIL — The White House (@WhiteHouse) February 11, 2015
"Our coalition is strong, our cause is just and our mission will succeed." —President Obama on our mission to degrade and destroy #ISIL — The White House (@WhiteHouse) February 11, 2015
"Long after the terrorists we face today are destroyed and forgotten, America will continue to stand free and tall and strong." —Obama #ISIL — The White House (@WhiteHouse) February 11, 2015

Citations: Obama Sends Letter to Congress Seeking Authorization of ISIS Fight (The New York Times), Letter from the President Authorization for the Use of United States Armed Forces in connection with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (The White House), As Obama requests military force a brief history of war power (PBS NEWSHOUR), To authorize the limited use of the United States Armed Forces against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (The White House)