Orrin Hatch: Obama’s ISIS War Measure Is ‘Utterly Stupid’

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) blasted President Obama’s request for Congress to authorize military force against the Islamic State (ISIS), calling the measure “utterly stupid.”

He indicated that the measure sends a message of weakness.

In an interview on KSL News Radio on Wednesday, Sen. Hatch highlighted the deaths of American hostages held by ISIS — namely Kayla Mueller, James Foley, Steven Sotloff, and Abdul-Rahman Kassig.

“Those acts are just a glimpse of the savagery unleashed by this terrorist organization in really large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria that it controls,” he continued. “And here we have the president coming up with this, I think it’s utterly stupid, proposal, the Authorized Use of Military Force [AUMF]…but, my gosh, and he’s binding the next president also, with really stupid language. I’ll never understand what they’re doing down there at the White House.”

Obama should go after ISIS with “all the force he can get,” said the senator from Utah, later adding, “But, gee whiz, to come to the Congress and to ask for a tepid thing like he’s asking, it makes you wonder just who’s running the White House.”

President Obama’s war measure prohibits any “enduring offensive ground combat operations” and limits the authorization for use of force against the jihadist group to three years.

Other Republican lawmakers, such as Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK), have also blasted the limits imposed by the measure.

Even members the president’s own party are skeptical of the plan.

“What he’s doing is tying his own hands, and stupidly tying his own hands,” said Sen. Hatch. “I mean my goodness, talk about telegraphing weakness. That’s what he’s doing.”

“The AUMF should not be a public relations tool, and that’s what he’s using it for,” he said. “I can’t believe it. I can’t understand what this man does.”

He listed three things that the authorization of force should include:

  • It should clearly articulate that the executive branch is authorized to use military force against ISIS;
  • Be flexible enough to be used against ISIS affiliates and offshoots in the future and;
  • Be free of limitations that could interfere with the objective of defeating the group.

“Most importantly, the president should be asking for the authorization that would not impose any artificial and unnecessary limitations such as those based on time, geography, and type of force that could interfere with our strategic objective of defeating the Islamic State,” said Hatch.

The senator raised his voice several times during the interview, but apologized for it, saying “I’m really up in arms about it.”

Sen. Hatch argued:

Why would we not only unilaterally impose limitations as to which types of tools and tactics our service members can use then also broadcast these limitations to the enemy?

If we’re telling the Islamic State upfront that we will not using ground forces, will they not tailor their strategy around that fact? Tell me! If we advertise when the authorization expires with the arbitrary date and time, won’t they just hunker down and wait for that date?


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