The proposed Authorization for Use of Military Force that President Barack Obama submitted to Congress on Wednesday would allow United States ground troops to engage in battle around the world. No matter what aspirations Obama may declare regarding limiting the use of US ground troops, the proposed AUMF places little to no restraint on their use in the ISIS War.
Obama spoke truthfully in his statement announcing his AUMF proposal when he said, “The resolution we’ve submitted today does not call for the deployment of US ground combat forces to Iraq or Syria.” Though truthful, Obama’s comment is deceptive because it leaves out some important information. Left unsaid is the fact that the proposed AUMF authorizes Obama and the next US president to deploy ground troops worldwide at their discretion.
The proposed AUMF, should it become law, gives the president and his successor the broad power “to use the Armed Forces of the United States as the President determines to be necessary and appropriate against ISIL and associated persons or forces…” anywhere in the world for three years after the AUMF’s enactment. The AUMF also contains one provision purportedly limiting the use of US ground troops. This provision states that the broad power given to the president “does not authorize the use of the United States Armed Forces in enduring offensive ground combat operations.”
A quick, uncritical read of the proposed AUMF may suggest that the “enduring offensive ground combat operations” provision in the AUMF means the AUMF bars US ground troops from engaging in battle. However, further consideration reveals the AUMF may be used to justify unlimited use of US ground troops.
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