On Point On Point

Support the news

A Formal U.S. War On The Islamic State44:37
Download

Play
This article is more than 5 years old.

The President asks Congress for war powers to fight ISIS. Should he get the green light? We’ll hear the debate.

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., right, and Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., reflect on President Barack Obama's request to Congress to authorize military force against Islamic State fighters. (AP)
Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., right, and Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., reflect on President Barack Obama's request to Congress to authorize military force against Islamic State fighters. (AP)

Barack Obama has directed nearly 2000 US airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria over the last six months.  Now, he wants formal Congressional authorization.  War powers.  What should Congress give him?  The White House request says no “enduring offensive ground operations.”  It imposes a three-year limit on the green light.  But what is the right thing here?  More, say Washington hawks.  No holds barred to get ISIS.  Less, say skeptics.  War is not working.  It may be the problem. This hour On Point:  the war powers request, and what’s needed to deal with the Islamic State.
-- Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Borzou Daragahi, Middle East and North Africa correspondent for the Financial Times. (@borzou)

Reuel Marc Gerecht, senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Joshua Landis, associate professor and director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma. (@joshua_landis)

Andrew Bacevich, professor emeritus of international relations and history at Boston University. Author of "Washington Rules: America's Path To A Permanent War."

From Tom’s Reading List

POLITICO: Obama sends war draft to Hill -- "While congressional leaders of both parties enthusiastically embraced the idea of blessing the six-month old bombing campaign against Islamic militants, the specifics of the text immediately drew fire from Republicans and Democrats who are set to battle for weeks over its language prohibiting the 'enduring' use of ground troops."

NPR News: In White House Memory, A-U-M-F Translates To B-U-S-H -- "The Obama administration also might have preferred not to have its actions framed by a formal Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). This was, after all, the instrument by which previous wars in the region were prosecuted by the Bush administrations — both of them with the approval of Congress in 1991, 2001 and 2002. Surely it is not a welcome thought for the current White House that its moves in the Islamic world will now be accompanied by the phrase  '... just like President Bush.'"

The Guardian: US warning as pro-Assad Hezbollah fighters launch assault on Syrian rebels — "In his statement before the House homeland security committee on Wednesday, the director of the US National Counterterrorism Center Nicholas Rasmussen said that of the 20,000 foreign fighters who have traveled to Syria, 3,400 of those are from western countries, including over 150 Americans who either traveled to Syria or attempted to do so. In September, US officials had put the number of Americans fighting with extremist groups in Syria at about two dozen."

Read The President's Draft AUMF Here

This program aired on February 12, 2015.

Support the news