On Wednesday, February 11th, 2015, President Barack Obama made a formal request for congressional approval to start a military campaign against ISIS, or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. The timing is telling: the move came almost 24 hours after it was confirmed that American humanitarian worker Kayla Mueller had been killed while in ISIS captivity.
President Obama’s proposal would enable him to not only continue airstrikes against the terrorist insurgent group but also begin certain ground operations – most likely consisting of hostage rescue or targeted assassinations. The president stressed that he did not want to put “boots on the ground” or wage a full-scale invasion of the quasi-state that ISIS has carved out of Syria and Iraq.
A letter sent by President Obama accompanying the request read as follows: “The so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) poses a threat to the people and stability of Iraq, Syria, and the broader Middle East, and to US national security.
“It threatens American personnel and facilities located in the region and is responsible for the deaths of US citizens James Foley, Steven Sotloff, Abdul-Rahman Peter Kassig, and Kayla Mueller. If left unchecked, ISIL will pose a threat beyond the Middle East, including to the United States homeland.”
This marks the first time in 13 years that a President has submitted a request for an “Authorization for Use of Military Force” (AUMF), and would replace the 2002 war powers act pertaining to Iraq.