6 Months After Strikes On ISIS, Obama Seeks War Authorization

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York The US Congress—the only branch of government that can declare war—will finally have a debate about President Obama’s six-month-old battle with ISIS. How Long Island’s Congressional delegation will vote is still up in the air.The Obama administration’s military offensive against the brutal terrorist organization, which has laid siege to large swaths of Iraq and Syria, and is responsible for the slaying of four Americans and countless religious minorities and so-called “infidels,” has persisted for half a year without any legitimate discussion in Congress about how long the US will be entangled in the war, if ground troops will ever step foot in Iraq or Syria, or whether the current conflict is even legal.At the outset of the war, the Obama administration said the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) provided the president legal authority to battle ISIS.“We do not believe the President needs that new authorization in order to take sustained action against ISIL,” a senior administration official said in a background call with reporters in September. “We believe that he can rely on the 2001 AUMF as statutory authority for the military airstrike operations he is directing against ISIL, for instance.”That version has been criticized as overbroad and outdated because it authorized President George W. Bush to use force against those responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, meaning al Qaeda. ISIS did not exist at the time, and although it was eventually born out of al Qaeda, the group disavowed ISIS last year.Obama prefers a bipartisan authorization to use military force (AUMF), ostensibly to portray a unified front against America’s latest enemy.On Wednesday, the president sent a draft letter to Congress outlining a new AUMF, one that would authorize a three-year offensive against ISIS, also known as ISIL or the Islamic State. Obama’s version also includes any “associated forces” fighting alongside ISIS or any “closely-related successor entity.” It would also sunset the 2002 AUMF, which enabled Bush to “defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq.”Essentially, Obama wants authorization for a war he’s already fighting, using a 14-year-old authorization for military force enacted exactly one week after 9/11 that gives the administration sweeping powers to ether detain or kill militants in undeclared warzones. It’s also been used to justify the drone attack that killed US citizen Anwar Al-Awlaki in Yemen and Samir Khan, editor of the al Qaeda magazine Inspire, who spent his teenage years in Westbury. The government has said Khan was not targeted in the strike.The authorization, if approved by Congress, sets no geographical boundaries, meaning the US can essentially fight ISIS anywhere. It also prohibits ground troops in “enduring offensive” combat operations, but gives the president enough wiggle room to call in Special Forces if the opportunity exists to take out high-level ISIS militants. That ambiguity has some liberals in Congress worried the US could get be mixed up in another open-ended war, with no reasonable end date.Obama’s proposal was also greeted with skepticism from Republicans. Some on the right criticized Obama’s AUMF for allowing it to sunset in three years, which they argued, is as good as giving the enemy America’s playbook. Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) is one of them.“I’m from the school who believes that the president has the inherent power to do this without Congressional authorization,” King told the Press. “Having said that, it’s always better to get it. But if you are going to get it, don’t be putting limits on yourself. Again, he did this with Afghanistan, where he said he was going to, back in ’09, there’s going to be a troop surge but they’re going to be pulled out within 18 months. Well, they’re just giving the enemy the opportunity to plan their defenses against what we do.“We should never tell them how long we’re going to be there, what we’re going to do,” he continued. “You’re not limited at all as far as the enemy is concerned…Again, let them think the very worse, and be uncertain at all times.”LI’s freshmen Representatives were non-committal.Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), unlike King, appears to want more specifics laid out in Obama’s proposal, blasting it as “barren on strategy.”Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) said she looks forward to a bipartisan conversation.“Valid concerns have been raised about the President’s proposal and the language and details certainly need to be clarified,” Rice said in a statement.There’s no question how longtime Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington) will vote:“ISIS is barbaric and must be stopped,” he said in a statement. “I believe this President and future Presidents should have tools necessary to do so. This Authorization for Use of Military Force resolution provides those tools without putting combat troops on the ground in Syria and Iraq.”Obama’s desire for a new AUMF isn’t new.He pressed upon Congress to act in his post-midterm election speech last year, and did so again in last month’s State of the Union.“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,” Obama said in a statement this week.“I can think of no better way for the Congress to join me in supporting our Nation’s security than by enacting this legislation,” he added, “which would show the world we are united in our resolve to counter the threat posed by ISIL.”The president also expressed a long-held desire to “refine, and ultimately repeal” the 2001 AUMF, despite how much it’s influenced his drone wars and conflict with ISIS.This was what Obama had to say on the matter in May 2013, before ISIS was beheading US journalists and burning people alive:“Groups like AQAP [al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula] must be dealt with, but in the years to come, not every collection of thugs that labels themselves al Qaeda will pose a credible threat to the United States,” he said. “I look forward to engaging Congress and the American people in efforts to refine, and ultimately repeal, the AUMF’s mandate.”On Wednesday, Obama said he “remains committed to working with the Congress and the American people to refine, and ultimately repeal, the 2001 AUMF.”Time will tell if Obama ever gets the repeal he’s looking for or if Congress approves his authorization measure. But what we do know, is that the president believes he already has the legal justification for his war on ISIS, and that battle is likely to rage on well into the future.Just ask King.“These are going to be long, hard struggles. They’re not easy,” King told the Press. “The fact is, if he hadn’t pulled all the troops out of Iraq, I think we wouldn’t be in this situation now with ISIS. But al Qaeda has had so many mutations, so many groups. We have to condition the American people: This is going to go on for a long time. It’s terrible to say but that’s the reality. They’re not going to go away easy.”last_img read more

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The Latest: Brazil’s soccer confederation halts competitions

first_imgSoccer players at Brazilian club Gremio have staged a protest of their own by wearing face masks on the field before the start of their game against São José on Sunday. Gremio players and coaching staff arrived at the Rio Grande do Sul state championship game wearing the masks. Authorities in Brazil have not ordered the cancellation or postponement of sporting events because of the corona pandemic but recommended that games are held without fans. Grêmio beat tiny São José 3-2 with no fans present.___ 5:15 p.m.The Italian soccer federation is planning to ask UEFA to postpone the European Championship.Federation president Gabriele Gravina tells Mediaset TV that Italian officials want Serie A to be completed by June 30.The Stadio Olimpico in Rome is slated to host the opening match of Euro 2020 on June 12, plus three other games of the tournament.Gravina says, “The hope is to finish by June 30. … And we’ll need to insert the Champions League and Europa League also. The deadline is June 30, then we’ll eventually see if we need to exceed that.” The New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority says all of the ski areas and venues that it manages will suspend operation at the close of business Sunday. Closures include all Nordic and Alpine ski resorts including Mt. Van Hoevenberg in Lake Placid, Belleayre Mountain Ski Resort in the Catskills, Gore Mountain in North Creek and Whiteface Mountain in Wilmington, near Lake Placid. All Lake Placid Olympic sites will also be closing, including the Olympic Jumping Complex, Olympic Sports Complex, The Olympic Oval and the Olympic Center including its museum and retail shops.___6:45 p.m. Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditThe Latest on the coronavirus outbreak’s effect on sports around the world (all times local):4:45 p.m.Brazil’s soccer confederation has suspended all competitions under its control due to the coronavirus outbreak. On Saturday, fellow Spanish club Alavés said that two members of its coaching staff had the virus. It said they are in good health. The Spanish league has suspended play due to the pandemic. Most people quickly recover from the global virus after experiencing only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.___More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports,Tampa Bay Lightning advance to face Dallas Stars in Stanley Cup finals, beating New York Islanders 2-1 in OT in Game 6 March 15, 2020 The Latest: Brazil’s soccer confederation halts competitions He adds, “We’ll propose to UEFA that they postpone the Euros.”Serie A is currently suspended until April 3, along with all other sports in Italy, the European epicenter of the virus outbreak.UEFA has a meeting planned on Tuesday to discuss the calendar. The virus outbreak has also tested the limits of soccer’s World Cup schedule.___ Associated Press The tournaments affected include the men’s Brazilian Cup, the top two tiers of the women’s Brazilian championship, and junior tournaments.The men’s top-tier Brazilian championship is scheduled to begin in April. The decision does not affect state championships currently being played. Some matches were held without any fans this weekend in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. São Paulo, Rio and other state soccer bodies are set to decide Monday on their course of action.___2:50 p.m. 1:15 p.m.Valencia’s Argentine defender Ezequiel Garay says that he has tested positive for the coronavirus, making him the first Spanish league player to become infected. “I have tested positive for the coronavirus,” Garay wrote on a social media account Sunday. “I feel well and now the only thing to do is to follow the instructions of health officials to remain confined.” Valencia added in a statement that a total of five members of its staff and team have the new virus, without specifying if Garay is the only player. It says that all are in good health and confined at their homes.Garay, who is recovering from surgery after tearing a ligament in February, said in a message posted on Instagram that “it’s clear that 2020 is starting on the wrong foot.”last_img read more

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