Will The ISIS War Come To A Vote?

by Dish Staff

If Obama wants to secure the public’s backing for the fight against ISIS, Jack Goldsmith recommends that he bring it to Congress for a vote:

The President must eventually educate the nation about why the United States is going to be deploying significant treasure and possibly some blood in Iraq and probably Syria to defeat IS.  As noted above, the case in theory is not hard to make.  But a mere speech from the Oval Office will not do the trick if the President wants the nation to understand the stakes and risks, and wants to get the American People truly behind the effort.  Only an extended and informed and serious national debate can do that, and such a debate can only occur if the President asks for Congress’s support.

Will Inboden also believes it’s time for a new, ISIS-specific Congressional authorization for the use of force:

Even before the Islamic State’s resurgence, some national security legal scholars were arguing that the Obama administration ‘s campaign against al Qaeda and its proliferating franchises was skating on increasingly thin legal ice. … Substantively, a new AUMF, especially focused on IS and its affiliates, could take into account the evolution and adaptation of militant jihadist groups in the 13 years since the Sept. 11 attacks, as well as the shifts and drawdowns of American ground force deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Islamic State’s nihilistic wickedness may be generating the headlines now, but over time even more danger may be posed by its magnetism towards other al Qaeda franchises and its potential leadership of militant jihadist groups spanning the broader Middle East and points beyond in Africa and South Asia.

Ashley Deeks, meanwhile, explores the various ways in which the administration might kosherize an intervention in Syria under international law:

A UN Security Council Resolution would provide the clearest basis for action. This option was a dead letter back in July 2012, when Russia and China refused even to approve economic sanctions against Assad, let alone the use of military force. One question would be whether the politics on this have changed: there might be some reason to think that Assad is coming under pressure from his own supporters to take on ISIS. It seems unlikely that Assad would affirmatively embrace a UNSCR authorizing a coalition of the willing to target ISIS in Syria, but if Russia senses that Assad might tolerate such action, the Security Council dynamics could change. Then again, the U.S.-Russia relationship is so toxic right now that this option seems remote. …

Second, Assad could secretly give consent to foreign governments (including the United States) to use force against ISIS in Syria. This, too, seems improbable, given the longstanding animosities between Assad and various Western governments. But having one government give secret and reluctant consent to another to conduct strikes in its territory is not without precedent.