With people expressing concern about the large number of wiggle words in the draft authorization for the ISIS war, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest today confirmed that the language was made “intentionally” vague.
While officials tried to present the authorization as not including a ground war, the language actually only limits “enduring offensive ground combat operations,” meaning a ground war that officials could argue was either not “enduring,” which Earnest refused to define, or “offensive,” which is likely meaningless given the narrative of the war to “liberate” ISIS territory from ISIS.
Earnest says the bill was drawn up that way because it would allow President Obama to “be able to respond to contingencies that emerge in a chaotic military conflict,” meaning it is littered with opportunities to escalate the war.
The closest thing to an explicit limit on the war within the resolution, the three year deadline, itself includes a ready-made out, allowing Congress to just keep reauthorizing the war an unlimited number of times.
The administration had express objections to every other Congressional alternative war authorization, some with explicit limits and some without, seemingly entirely because they’ve spent the last several months drafting a version to gives the impression of limits while allowing truly limitless war.