Thursday, February 12, 2015

He wants to be a man -- at least for now







Let's start with some basics the White House advanced today:

1. What is an AUMF?
An AUMF, or authorization of use of military force, is a law passed by Congress that authorizes the President to use U.S. military force.  
2. What is the President’s proposal for an AUMF against ISIL? 
The President is submitting a draft of an AUMF to Congress to authorize the continued limited use of military force to degrade and defeat ISIL. Key elements of the President’s proposal include:

  • A three-year limit on the AUMF so that the next President, Congress, and the American people can assess the progress we have made against ISIL and review these authorities again
  • A repeal of the 2002 Iraq AUMF which authorized the 2003 Iraq invasion under President George W. Bush
It’s important to note that the AUMF the President is proposing would not authorize long-term, large-scale ground combat operations like those our nation conducted in Iraq and Afghanistan. His proposal does seek the flexibility to conduct ground operations in other, more limited circumstances, including:

  • Rescue operations involving U.S. or coalition personnel
  • Special Operations missions against ISIL leadership
  • Intelligence collection and assistance to partner forces

A three year limit?  That would be February 2018.  Barack wouldn't be in the White House.

Probably more importantly, when does a so-called 'limit' mean forces leave a country?

The Status of Forces Agreement that Bully Boy Bush's administration negotiated with then-Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki had a limit.  At the end of three years, the contract expired unless something new came along to replace it.

Nothing new came along.

So US forces all left Iraq and are out of the country now.

Oh, wait, that's not what happened.  Special-Ops were among the troops who remained in Iraq after the December 2011 drawdown and over 15,000 troops in Iraq were instead sent into Kuwait in case they needed to go back in.

And there's been no authorization for the special-ops brigade Barack sent in during the fall of 2012 or all the US troops he's sent in since June.

So let's just all be honest, the 'three year limit' is meaningless.  In three years, those wanting the US forces to remain in will insist that deaths were in vain otherwise and possibly that those calling for troops out of Iraq are actually unAmerican, unpatriotic and shouldn't voice opinions while troops are in harms way.

The three year limit is not to protect Iraq.

It is not to protect US forces.

It exists for one reason only: So Barack can push the blame off on someone else since the decision three years from now will be pushed off on others.

And for those dwindling few who remain members of The Cult of St. Barack, it's not just me saying this, it's also your sainted leader who declared today, "It is not a timetable.  It is not announcing that the mission is completed at any given period.  What it is saying is that Congress should revisit the issue at the beginning of the next President’s term."

Get it?

He should be ashamed of himself and someone should go back and count how many times he publicly used the term "kick the can" in 2007 and 2008 as he insulted those who refused to confront a problem but instead "kicked the can" down the road and left it for someone to solve later on.

He spoke on the topic this afternoon.  Here are his remarks in full:

  THE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon.  Today, as part of an international coalition of some 60 nations -- including Arab countries -- our men and women in uniform continue the fight against ISIL in Iraq and in Syria.  
More than 2,000 coalition airstrikes have pounded these terrorists.  We’re disrupting their command and control and supply lines, making it harder for them to move.  We’re destroying their fighting positions, their tanks, their vehicles, their barracks, their training camps, and the oil and gas facilities and infrastructure that fund their operations.  We’re taking out their commanders, their fighters, and their leaders.  
In Iraq, local forces have largely held the line and in some places have pushed ISIL back.  In Syria, ISIL failed in its major push to take the town of Kobani, losing countless fighters in the process -- fighters who will never again threaten innocent civilians.  And we’ve seen reports of sinking morale among ISIL fighters as they realize the futility of their cause.    
Now, make no mistake -- this is a difficult mission, and it will remain difficult for some time.  It’s going to take time to dislodge these terrorists, especially from urban areas.  But our coalition is on the offensive, ISIL is on the defensive, and ISIL is going to lose.  Its barbaric murders of so many people, including American hostages, are a desperate and revolting attempt to strike fear in the hearts of people it can never possibly win over by its ideas or its ideology -- because it offers nothing but misery and death and destruction.  And with vile groups like this, there is only one option:  With our allies and partners, we are going to degrade and ultimately destroy this terrorist group. 
And when I announced our strategy against ISIL in September, I said that we are strongest as a nation when the President and Congress work together.  Today, my administration submitted a draft resolution to Congress to authorize the use of force against ISIL.  I want to be very clear about what it does and what it does not do.
This resolution reflects our core objective to destroy ISIL.  It supports the comprehensive strategy that we have been pursuing with our allies and partners:  A systemic and sustained campaign of airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq and Syria.  Support and training for local forces on the ground, including the moderate Syrian opposition.  Preventing ISIL attacks, in the region and beyond, including by foreign terrorist fighters who try to threaten our countries.  Regional and international support for an inclusive Iraqi government that unites the Iraqi people and strengthens Iraqi forces against ISIL.  Humanitarian assistance for the innocent civilians of Iraq and Syria, who are suffering so terribly under ISIL’s reign of horror.  
I want to thank Vice President Biden, Secretaries Kerry and Hagel, and General Marty Dempsey for their leadership in advancing our strategy.  Even as we meet this challenge in Iraq and Syria, we all agree that one of our weapons against terrorists like ISIL -- a critical part of our strategy -- is the values we live here at home.  One of the best antidotes to the hateful ideologies that try to recruit and radicalize people to violent extremism is our own example as diverse and tolerant societies that welcome the contributions of all people, including people of all faiths.
The resolution we’ve submitted today does not call for the deployment of U.S. ground combat forces to Iraq or Syria.  It is not the authorization of another ground war, like Afghanistan or Iraq.  The 2,600 American troops in Iraq today largely serve on bases -- and, yes, they face the risks that come with service in any dangerous environment.  But they do not have a combat mission.  They are focused on training Iraqi forces, including Kurdish forces.  
As I’ve said before, I’m convinced that the United States should not get dragged back into another prolonged ground war in the Middle East.  That’s not in our national security interest and it’s not necessary for us to defeat ISIL.  Local forces on the ground who know their countries best are best positioned to take the ground fight to ISIL -- and that’s what they’re doing.    
At the same time, this resolution strikes the necessary balance by giving us the flexibility we need for unforeseen circumstances.  For example, if we had actionable intelligence about a gathering of ISIL leaders, and our partners didn’t have the capacity to get them, I would be prepared to order our Special Forces to take action, because I will not allow these terrorists to have a safe haven.  So we need flexibility, but we also have to be careful and deliberate.  And there is no heavier decision than asking our men and women in uniform to risk their lives on our behalf.  As Commander in Chief, I will only send our troops into harm’s way when it is absolutely necessary for our national security.  
Finally, this resolution repeals the 2002 authorization of force for the invasion of Iraq and limits this new authorization to three years.  I do not believe America’s interests are served by endless war, or by remaining on a perpetual war footing.  As a nation, we need to ask the difficult and necessary questions about when, why and how we use military force.  After all, it is our troops who bear the costs of our decisions, and we owe them a clear strategy and the support they need to get the job done.  So this resolution will give our armed forces and our coalition the continuity we need for the next three years.  
It is not a timetable.  It is not announcing that the mission is completed at any given period.  What it is saying is that Congress should revisit the issue at the beginning of the next President’s term.  It’s conceivable that the mission is completed earlier.  It’s conceivable that after deliberation, debate and evaluation, that there are additional tasks to be carried out in this area.  And the people’s representatives, with a new President, should be able to have that discussion.
In closing, I want to say that in crafting this resolution we have consulted with, and listened to, both Republicans and Democrats in Congress.  We have made a sincere effort to address difficult issues that we’ve discussed together.  In the days and weeks ahead, we’ll continue to work closely with leaders and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle.  I believe this resolution can grow even stronger with the thoughtful and dignified debate that this moment demands.  I’m optimistic that it can win strong bipartisan support, and that we can show our troops and the world that Americans are united in this mission.   
Today, our men and women in uniform continue the fight against ISIL, and we salute them for their courageous service.  We pray for their safety.  We stand with their families who miss them and who are sacrificing here at home.  But know this:  Our coalition is strong, our cause is just, and our mission will succeed.  And long after the terrorists we face today are destroyed and forgotten, America will continue to stand free and tall and strong.  
May God bless our troops, and may God bless the United States of America.  Thank you very much, everybody.

That's what he's saying today.  As he prepares to send US forces into combat.

And what did he say in June?

June 13, 2014, he stated:

We will not be sending U.S. troops back into combat in Iraq, but I have asked my national security team to prepare a range of other options that could help support Iraqi security forces, and I’ll be reviewing those options in the days ahead.

Today?  He stated:

The resolution we’ve submitted today does not call for the deployment of U.S. ground combat forces to Iraq or Syria.  It is not the authorization of another ground war, like Afghanistan or Iraq.  The 2,600 American troops in Iraq today largely serve on bases -- and, yes, they face the risks that come with service in any dangerous environment.  But they do not have a combat mission.  They are focused on training Iraqi forces, including Kurdish forces.  

It doesn't call for it because Democrats in Congress threatened to stage a mutiny.

Barack had already sent US Secretary of State John Kerry to Congress, specifically the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (which Kerry used to Chair) December 9th to argue that Congress must include granting Barack the right to put US troops in on the ground combat in Iraq or Congress would "bind the hands of the commander in chief [and] our commanders in the field."

Reality, it's not needed.

It's never been needed.

If Congress gives Barack -- or any president -- an authorization for war, that's it.

As commander-in-chief of the US military, he then executes the war.

If he wants troops in combat, he gets them with no need of Congressional approval.

Barack knows that.

John Kerry knows that.

What was the December 9th plea about?

Trying to spread the blame around.

Trying to say Congress wanted it.

Barack takes neither responsibility nor accountability.

If you haven't noticed that by now, you're either in a coma or in The Cult of St. Barack.

Someone who is paying attention is Peter Certo (Foreign Policy In Focus) whose breakdown of the request includes:

As an ardent supporter of “hamstringing the commander in chief” in this particular case, let me count the ways that my concerns have not been eased by this resolution.
1. Its vague wording will almost certainly be abused.
For one thing, the administration has couched its limitations on the use of ground forces in some curiously porous language.
How long is an “enduring” engagement, for example? A week? A year? The full three years of the authorization and beyond?
And what’s an “offensive” operation if not one that involves invading another country? The resolution’s introduction claims outright that U.S. strikes against ISIS are justified by America’s “inherent right of individual and collective self-defense.” If Obama considers the whole war “inherently defensive,” does the proscription against “offensive” operations even apply?
And what counts as “combat”? In his last State of the Union address, Obama proclaimed that “our combat mission in Afghanistan is over.” But only two months earlier, he’d quietly extended the mission of nearly 10,000 U.S. troops in the country for at least another year. So the word seems meaningless.
In short, the limitation on ground troops is no limitation at all. “What they have in mind,” said California Democrat Adam Schiff, “is still fairly broad and subject to such wide interpretation that it could be used in almost any context.”
Any context? Yep. Because it’s not just the ISIS heartland we’re talking about.
2. It would authorize war anywhere on the planet.
For the past six months, we’ve been dropping bombs on Iraq and Syria. But the draft resolution doesn’t limit the authorization to those two countries. Indeed, the text makes no mention of any geographic limitations at all.
That could set the United States up for war in a huge swath of the Middle East. Immediate targets would likely include Jordan or Lebanon, where ISIS forces have hovered on the periphery and occasionally launched cross-border incursions. But it could also rope in countries like Libya or Yemen, where ISIS knockoff groups that don’t necessarily have any connection to the fighters in Iraq and Syria have set up shop.
This is no theoretical concern. The Obama administration has used Congress’ post-9/11 war authorization — which specifically targeted only the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks and their patrons and supporters — to target a broad array of nominally “associated forces” in a stretch of the globe reaching from Somalia to the Philippines.
In fact, the administration has used the very same 2001 resolution to justify its current intervention in Iraq and Syria — the very war this new resolution is supposed to be authorizing.
How does the new resolution handle that? 

Will others note the problems or are we on the left going to yet again fall into a collective silence to protect Sainted Barack?

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