President Barack Obama sent Congress a proposal on Wednesday seeking authorization to use military force against Islamic State. The proposal would limit the operation to three years, barring a large-scale invasion by ground troops.
The proposal is already facing resistance from Democrats, who are wary of another war in the Middle East, and Republicans who say Obama’s foreign policy is too passive.
The proposal must be approved by the Senate and House of Representatives. Lawmakers have said they will begin hearings quickly, with a vote predicted to take place in March, Reuters reported.
[quote text_size=”small” author=”– Barack Obama” author_title=”President of the United States”]
If left unchecked, ISIL will pose a threat beyond the Middle East, including to the United States homeland… I have directed a comprehensive and sustained strategy to degrade and defeat ISIL.
The request is retroactive, as Congress is receiving the proposal six months after the United States began bombing the Islamic State group, or ISIS. The president said he believes he has the authorization to go after the group already, citing a 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force as his legal grounds, but welcomes congressional signoff on the action, according to the Huffington Post.
The plan does not authorize long-term or large-scale ground operations, such as those used in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which would be left to local forces. IT would allow for some ground combat operations, however, including rescue operations and the use of special operations forces.
If the proposal is approved, it will be the first war authorization approved by Congress since 2002, when George W. Bush was given authorization for the Iraq War.
The proposal was sent just after the confirmation of the death of Kayla Mueller, an American held hostage by the Islamic State for about 18 months. The draft specifically mentioned Mueller along with three other Americans who were held hostage and killed by the Islamic State: James Foley, Peter Kassig and Steven J. Sotloff, the New York Times reported.