Republican members of both the house and senate have been increasingly critical of President Obama’s strategy or lack thereof with regards to dealing with ISIL. As of late, the president has outlined the main strategy will be that of containment and control, in hopes that ISIL will die from within. Despite Obama’s strong aversion to ground forces, the US is still playing a strong role in the region. Currently U.S. forces are fighting on the authority of the September 14, 2001 AUMF passed three days after 9/11. Recent cries from Republicans have shown displeasure with the administration for using this AUMF for conflict outside of Afghanistan and Iraq.
Yet again, the Republicans inability to even agree amongst themselves has shown how shattered the party is from within. Hawks amongst the Republicans think that any new AUMF should be a blanket approval for any action needed against any enemy. Hawks such as Marco Rubio have stated that the new AUMF should read “’We authorize the president to defeat and destroy ISIL’. Period.” However, the doves within the party argue that the new AUMF would still be too broad. It is within these shattered party lines that we have seen the president play an ingenious political strategy.
The Obama administration, hearing these cries for a new AUMF, asked Congress for support with a war resolution that expired after three years. Yet the divide within the Republicans, both in the house and the senate, led to considerable inaction. Hawks claimed that Obama’s proposed AUMF lacked enough strength and were not in support. Doves within claimed the new AUMF was entirely too broad. Obama’s ability to draft an AUMF that split the party of opposition upon itself allows the Obama administration to both say they asked for a new AUMF and show that Republicans were the ones who stopped a new AUMF.
Unfortunately, it’s election season and with election season comes an excessive amount of generalities from candidates. The process needed to craft an appropriate AUMF to deal with ISIL causes candidates to specify their stance. Specific language of the AUMF causes us to ask hard questions. This is the reason why our government has become so ineffective. This is the reason why our government has become so unpopular. Our government, within both parties, lacks the intestinal fortitude to ask hard questions which is precisely what we need for a new AUMF. Asking the hard questions is what our Constitution intended. Until our leaders find their UMPH, don’t hold your breath for a new AUMF.