How big is the ISIS war, and how big is it going to be? That’s a question the administration seems desperate to avoid answering, and they’re facing growing criticisms from Congress, both from people concerned by the lack of limits, and hawks concerned by the slow rate of escalation.
Secretary of State John Kerry’s talk to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee didn’t go too well, with everyone on one side or the other. Sen. Rand Paul (R – KY) was particularly concerned with Kerry’s call for any Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) not to include a geographic limitation.
Right now, the US is fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria. It’s conceivable that could expand into some nation bordering those, if ISIS moves into Lebanon or Jordan, for instance.
But having no limitation at all, with a global group like ISIS, means the administration could bomb any city on the planet on the grounds that some “ISIS supporters” are doubtless there. Kerry insisted they wouldn’t, but had no other response for why he didn’t want that in writing.
Sen. John McCain (R – AZ), by contrast, didn’t care about the lack of regional limitations, but was mad at Kerry anyhow because the US war is so far limited to ISIS and other Syrian Islamist rebels. McCain, rather, wants attacks on the Assad government in Syria, saying the war needed a strategy for regime change first and foremost.