Obama’s New ISIS War Likely Illegal, But Will Congress Care?

Kerry Insists It's Not Technically a War

President Obama announced his intention to expand the war on ISIS from Iraq into neighboring Syria, while continuing to reiterate his belief that he has all of the authorization he needs to carry out the conflict without Congress.

There doesn’t seem to be an actual legal argument underpinning this, and the likelihood is that President Obama’s ever-expanding war is grossly illegal.

Obama’s aides say that the 2001 authorization for war on al-Qaeda could provide a basis for the ISIS war, but experts find that implausible, since ISIS isn’t part of al-Qaeda, and indeed is actually fighting them openly in Syria.

The other, even less plausible argument, was pushed forward by Secretary of State John Kerry today, who insisted that the new war isn’t actually a war, but rather a “major counter-terrorism operation that will have many different moving parts.”

That was the argument the administration made during its Libya war, sparking a battle with Congress. That’s probably not going to be such a battle this time around, at least not any time soon.

That’s because Congress seems to prefer to duck the vote entirely until after the midterm election in November, meaning the war is likely to just fly under the radar for the next few months.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.