For 16 years American presidents have used vague authorizations of military force to wage protracted wars against amorphous and evolving enemies in multiple states in the Middle East.
Time has come for Congress to pass a new authorization against our new foe, the Islamic State, and against our old enemies, al-Qaeda and the Taliban, that sets a reasonable time limit for the ongoing conflict and is as specific as possible.
Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Aurora, introduced a new authorization for the use of military force on Thursday that would take just such a step to reign in the use of force abroad without explicit approval from Congress.
The bipartisan bill is similar to previous efforts to stop the executive branch’s abuse of the authorization made in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and a second authorization for the War in Iraq in pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. We hope this effort, or similar measures in the Senate, get the traction needed to change the course of our military conflicts.
When President Barack Obama launched an attack on Libya to help rebels overthrow Col. Moammar Khadafy, he did so without authorization of Congress. He called the decision an effort to intervene to prevent an imminent humanitarian crisis, but targeted Khadafy’s troops, air fields and other government defenses. We were skeptical of the justification of the attack and called on Obama to get Congressional approval.
The decision to support regime change in Libya, although brief, contributed to instability in the entire region, and has proven to be a poor one. Such an action deserved a public debate on the floor of the House and Senate as our representatives weighed the decision to involve ourselves in a foreign conflict with little foreseeable end.
A narrower and time-limited authorization of force would be a step toward Congress reclaiming its …read more
Source:: The Denver Post