Hey, did you know President Obama’s already-debatable authority to unilaterally bomb Iraq and Syria runs out today? Is the War Powers Act still “the settled law of the land,” to borrow a phrase? Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) lays out the case for bringing the Nameless Non-War before Congress for a vote, over at National Review.
Cruz lists seven concerns, the first of which is that the Non-War against the Non-Islamic Islamic State doesn’t even have a name… while President Obama’s dispatch of 3,000 U.S. troops to fight Ebola in West Africa does. (It’s called Operation United Assistance, if you’re curious.) “By deliberately not naming this mission, the President is creating confusion and incoherence,” Cruz alleges. That’s a feature, not a bug.
Cruz also points out that Obama’s reliance on the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force in Iraq is awfully sketchy, not to mention completely inconsistent with years of rhetoric about how the Bush war in Iraq was over, as if any true Obama worshiper cares about such things. He also wants to have a congressional debate about our problematic potential allies, from the “moderate” Syrian rebels we expect to serve as our boots on the ground along the northern front – who aren’t actually very moderate, and are still keenly interested in being Syrian rebels – to some of the dodgier members of the photo-op anti-ISIS coalition Obama cobbled together. Cruz observes that the Nameless Non-War doesn’t seem to be going very well, and the Administration has never laid out anything close to a coherent road map for where it should be going.
One of Cruz’s concerns is a painful question the Administration has show absolutely zero interest in asking, let alone answering, and the Senator is quite right that it deserves a thrashing on Capitol Hill:
President Obama’s strategy may well be emboldening our enemies, notably Iran and Syria. Tehran is exploiting our mutual antipathy for ISIS to extort concessions in the negotiations over its nuclear program. As has so often been the case in the Obama-Clinton-Kerry Iran policy, they are getting it backwards. ISIS is a much more proximate threat to Iran than it is to us; we should be using this opportunity to pressure Iran into significant concessions, not the other way around. In addition, the mullahs’ vassal, Bashar al-Assad, the murderous dictator of Syria, may well wind up being the beneficiaryof our action and use our strikes in Syria to consolidate his power.
Earlier I asked when the Administration and its media courtiers were going to stop under-estimating the Islamic State, and get serious about defeating it. While doing that, we must also be careful to avoid under-estimating our other adversaries as well. Hasn’t the Obama bull charged through enough Middle Eastern china shops already?