Obama Wants No-‘Enduring-Offensive-Ground-Operations’ 3-Year-War Authorization Against Islamic State

By Terence P. Jeffrey | February 11, 2015 | 10:15am EST

President Obama announces the end of the war in Iraq at Fort Bragg on Dec. 14, 2011. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

(CNSNews.com) - President Barack Obama today asked for the United States Congress to pass a resolution authorizing the president to make war against the Islamic State and “associated persons or forces” so long as the war does not include “enduring offensive ground combat operations” and the authorization is limited to “three years.

Obama pulled U.S. forces out of Iraq more than three years ago, at the end of 2011, and declared that the war there was over.

The draft war resolution Obama sent to Congress today begins by stating that the Islamic State has gained territory in Iraq and Syria, can gain more and that it says it wants to attack the United States.

The resolution begins:

“Whereas the terrorist organization that has referred to itself as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and various other names (in this resolution referred to as ‘‘ISIL’’) poses a grave threat to the people and territorial integrity of Iraq and Syria, regional stability, and the national security interests of the United States and its allies and partners;

“Whereas ISIL holds significant territory in Iraq and Syria and has stated its intention to seize more territory and demonstrated the capability to do so;

“Whereas ISIL leaders have stated that they intend to conduct terrorist attacks internationally, including against the United States, its citizens, and interests."

The language authorizing the president to make war limits the targets of that war to the Islamic State and it allies. It says:

“The President is authorized, subject to the limitations in subsection (c), to use the Armed Forces of the United States as the President determines to be necessary and appropriate against ISIL or associated persons or forces as defined in section.”

The draft resolution then expressly denies the president the authority to engage in “enduring” ground operations in the context of this war, saying:

“The authority granted in subsection (a) does not authorize the use of the United States Armed Forces in enduring offensive ground combat operations."

And the resolution would expire in three years, early in the term of the next president:

“This authorization for the use of military force shall terminate three years after the date of the enactment of this joint resolution, unless reauthorized."

In the letter he sent to Congress transmitting his draft war resolution, Obama explained the circumstance in which he envisions using U.S. ground forces against the Islamic State. These include sending special forces after Islamic State leaders and to collect intelligence.

“My Administration’s draft AUMF would not authorize long‑term, large-scale ground combat operations like those our Nation conducted in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Obama. “Local forces, rather than U.S. military forces, should be deployed to conduct such operations.

“The authorization I propose would provide the flexibility to conduct ground combat operations in other, more limited circumstances, such as rescue operations involving U.S. or coalition personnel or the use of special operations forces to take military action against ISIL leadership,” he said.  “It would also authorize the use of U.S. forces in situations where ground combat operations are not expected or intended, such as intelligence collection and sharing, missions to enable kinetic strikes, or the provision of operational planning and other forms of advice and assistance to partner forces."

Back on Dec. 14, 2011, just before the 2012 election year, President Obama gave a speech at Fort Bragg announcing the end of the Iraq war and the removal of U.S. forces from that country.

“It’s harder to end a war than begin one,” Obama said then. “Indeed, everything that American troops have done in Iraq--all the fighting and all the dying, the bleeding and the building, and the training and the partnering--all of it has led to this moment of success.

“Now, Iraq is not a perfect place,” Obama said. “It has many challenges ahead. But we’re leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq, with a representative government that was elected by its people. We’re building a new partnership between our nations. And we are ending a war not with a final battle, but with a final march toward home. This is an extraordinary achievement, nearly nine years in the making."

In his 2012 reelection, President Obama often said the he had ended the war in Iraq as he said he would do when he first ran for president during the 2008 election cycle.

At an Oct. 24, 2012 campaign event in Iowa, for example, Obama said: "I've kept the commitment that I've made. I told you we would end the war in Iraq. We did."

On Nov. 5, 2012, Obama said: "I mean what I say and I say what I mean. I said I'd end the war in Iraq. I ended it."

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