After several months of escalating war, President Obama has finally gotten around to putting forward a draft version of the Authorization for the Use of Military Force against ISIS.
The bill is facing growing opposition from both sides, with complaints not only that its vagueness amounts to no limitation at all, but from hawks that wanted the massiveness of the war more explicitly stated.
The White House was quick to try to quiet the hawks by bragging about how they left the language deliberately vague so the president could unilaterally escalate at will. That’s only adding to the problems.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D – CA) is leading the charge against a “carte blanche” authorization for an open-ended ground war. President Obama’s speech earlier in the day about limitations is effectively meaningless now, with the White House insisting the limitations don’t really apply.
Schiff and other antiwar Democrats will be trying to mobilize enough antiwar Republicans to prevent the bill from passing, and they may ironically have some help from ultra-hawks, particularly in the Senate, who are not sold on the White House pledges to ignore the vague limitations in the bill.
Ultimately, the bill itself continues the administration’s claims that the president can unilaterally launch and escalate the ISIS war at will, while presenting some vague Congressional imprimatur, which the president has long insisted he doesn’t need, in the name of “unity.”