Full text: Obama’s request for congressional authorization to fight Islamic State

Islamic Extremism

President Barack Obama asked Congress Wednesday to formally authorize war against the Islamic State group, arguing the militants could pose a threat to the U.S. homeland if their violent power grab goes unchecked. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

U.S. President Barack Obama, elected in part on a promise to end America’s wars, sent Congress Wednesday a proposed joint resolution to authorize military force against the swift rise of Islamic State extremists, who are imposing violent rule in Iraq and Syria and have brazenly killed U.S. and allied hostages in brutal and graphic online propaganda videos.

FIGHT AGAINST ISIL:

* $1.5 billion: Total cost of operations against ISIL (August 8, 2014-January 30, 2015)

* $8.4 million: Average daily cost of fight against ISIL (August 8, 2014-January 30, 2015)

* 2,000 airstrikes (August 8, 2014-February 8, 2015)

* More than 2,000 troops in Iraq right now

Source, U.S. Department of Defense, Reuters

(You can read the 2001 Joint Resolution, which authorized then-President George W. Bush to go after the perpetrators of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and Obama is currently acting under, here.)


TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES:

The so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) poses a threat to the people and stability of Iraq, Syria, and the broader Middle East, and to U.S. national security. It threatens American personnel and facilities located in the region and is responsible for the deaths of U.S. citizens James Foley, Steven Sotloff, Abdul-Rahman Peter Kassig, and Kayla Mueller. If left unchecked, ISIL will pose a threat beyond the Middle East, including to the United States homeland.

I have directed a comprehensive and sustained strategy to degrade and defeat ISIL. As part of this strategy, U.S. military forces are conducting a systematic campaign of airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq and Syria. Although existing statutes provide me with the authority I need to take these actions, I have repeatedly expressed my commitment to working with the Congress to pass a bipartisan authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) against ISIL. Consistent with this commitment, I am submitting a draft AUMF that would authorize the continued use of military force to degrade and defeat ISIL.

My Administration’s draft AUMF would not authorize long‑term, large-scale ground combat operations like those our Nation conducted in Iraq and Afghanistan. Local forces, rather than U.S. military forces, should be deployed to conduct such operations. The authorization I propose would provide the flexibility to conduct ground combat operations in other, more limited circumstances, such as rescue operations involving U.S. or coalition personnel or the use of special operations forces to take military action against ISIL leadership. It would also authorize the use of U.S. forces in situations where ground combat operations are not expected or intended, such as intelligence collection and sharing, missions to enable kinetic strikes, or the provision of operational planning and other forms of advice and assistance to partner forces.

Although my proposed AUMF does not address the 2001 AUMF, I remain committed to working with the Congress and the American people to refine, and ultimately repeal, the 2001 AUMF. Enacting an AUMF that is specific to the threat posed by ISIL could serve as a model for how we can work together to tailor the authorities granted by the 2001 AUMF.

I can think of no better way for the Congress to join me in supporting our Nation’s security than by enacting this legislation, which would show the world we are united in our resolve to counter the threat posed by ISIL.

BARACK OBAMA

THE WHITE HOUSE,
February 11, 2015.

Report compiled with information from The Associated Press


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