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James I.
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  • Authorization on Use of Military Force

    by Senator James M. Inhofe

    Posted on 2015-02-09

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    INHOFE. Madam President, along with Senator Hatch, we have a concern we want to share with this body. One of the reasons I do is because I had planned to go ahead and introduce the bill having to do with the AUMF. In fact, I actually had introduced it a year ago, but I understand now we are coming into an agreement and Senator Hatch and I stand together to speak about the need for the new AUMF, authorization for use of military force, against the terrorist organization known as ISIS or ISIL, or whatever you want to call it, in order to answer any legal question as to the authority the President has to defend the American people and demonstrate our commitment to the global coalition in defeating this radical Islamic organization.

    I have always contended the President had this authority anyway. In fact, I can remember a year ago he said he did. I now understand the President will be sending to Congress his own version of the AUMF this week. I will read it with interest.

    Over the past 6 months, ISIS, or ISIL, has expanded its control in Iraq and Syria. They continue to recruit followers worldwide. We saw just the other day what happened when we had the King of Jordan here and we had the opportunity to be with him when he got the very sad news of what happened to his F-16 pilot being burned alive. I happened to be with him in Syria just a month before that. I am talking about with the King of Jordan.

    We know firsthand what is going on. It is my hope the President's proposed AUMF will include all the authorities needed to execute his strategy to stop ISIS and the President provides Congress with that strategy as part of any approval for an AUMF.

    The President's proposed AUMF should not contain restrictions on U.S. forces or time or geographic limitations. An AUMF should authorize the use of all necessary and appropriate force anywhere where ISIS or any successor organization is operating until we accomplish our strategy.

    [[Page S851]] At the State of the Union speech last month, President Obama specifically said--and I am quoting now: I call on this Congress to show the world that we are united in this mission by passing a resolution to authorize the use of force against ISIL. We need that authority.

    That was a quote from his State of the Union Message. Quite frankly, he had already stated before he had that authority. I am not going to argue about that. Let's just make sure to eliminate all doubts.

    Subsequent official White House statements have called for a ``right- sized, modernized AUMF...it would send a powerful signal to the citizens of this country, the citizens of our allies, and to our enemies.'' It was on January 23 that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Dempsey said--and I am going to quote General Dempsey's entire quote because I think he is the No. 1 guy. He is the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the one who should be the best qualified to make these decisions.

    He said: I think in the crafting of the AUMF, all options should be on the table, and then we can debate whether we want to use them. But the authorization should be there...In particular, it shouldn't constrain activities geographically, because ISIL knows no boundaries, [and] doesn't recognize any boundaries--in fact it's their intention to erase all boundaries to their benefit. Constraints on time, or a ``sunset clause,'' I just don't think it's necessary. I think the nation should speak of its intent to confront this radical ideological barbaric group and leave the option until we can deal with it.

    That is all a quote from General Martin Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. I think we need to listen to it. I don't think the immediate need for an AUMF could be put more clearly or succinctly than General Dempsey's words, and it is my hope he was intimately involved in the drafting of the administration's AUMF.

    It is my understanding we will see this tomorrow. Again, I, along with many colleagues--including my good friend from Utah--look forward to reading President Obama's AUMF. We have to get rid of this monster.

    With that, I yield to my good friend from Utah.


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