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Obama’s AUMF Guarantees An Endless War With Radical Islam

ISIS Black Flag


In his February 5 "Secure Freedom Minute" our friend Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy quoted Groucho Marx who once said “Those are my principles, and if you don't like them...well, I have others.”  That seems to be Barack Obama’s stance with respect to how to “degrade and defeat” terrorists like the murderous Islamic State.

Gaffney noted that in September 2014 Obama said, “We don’t have a strategy yet.” When Americans didn’t like that, he announced one based on his “successful Yemen model.” 

Now that Yemen has been overrun by Iranian-backed jihadists, he’s had his mendacious National Security Advisor, Susan Rice, trot out another national security strategy.

Americans deserve adult leadership, guided by enduring principles and the truth about the global jihadist nature of our enemy and its ideology, shariah.  We need a commonsensical strategy, rooted in peace through U.S. strength said Gaffney.

Unfortunately, the military force authorization that President Barack Obama sent to Congress yesterday is not commonsensical or rooted in peace through strength, and perhaps more worryingly, it may be more expansive than the administration suggests, laying the groundwork for Obama to deploy American troops around the globe in a "whack-mole" fashion with no clearly articulated national purpose.

Such an AUMF does not authorize new actions to pursue a “strategy” to defeat radical Islam; it merely formalizes the failed small ball tactical approach that limits America to a small ball approach that equates the worldwide battle against radical Islam and sharia to using military limited military force against the Islamic state.

This is a recipe for not just an endless war, but an endless war we could very well lose if we follow Obama’s approach and institutionalize it in a new Authorization of the Use of Military Force.

In the letter accompanying and transmitting the request for a new AUMF Obama uses the word “Islamic” just once, and that is as part of a reference to the name of  the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

What's more, the new Obama AUMF fails to include Jews or Israel in the list of allies and interests the U.S. intends to protect, and it also has a three-year expiration date, all but guaranteeing that the next President will spend his or her first year in office struggling with Congress over whether to extend it or revise it, because it is obvious that following this approach we not defeat the Islamic State or radical Islam in three years.

Such a short-term “whack-a-mole” tactical approach fails utterly to recognize and authorize the action necessary to defeat radical Islam.

More importantly, the requested AUMF must be read in the context of Obama’s newly updated National Security “Strategy.” We put strategy in quotes because we don’t consider waiting and seeing, or “strategic patience” as Obama puts it, to be a strategy.

And it is not for lack of a model that Obama’s National Security Strategy and proposed AUMF fail.

President Ronald Reagan set forth in his second inaugural address: "America must remain freedom's staunchest friend, for freedom is our best ally and it is the world's only hope to conquer poverty and preserve peace. Every blow we inflict against poverty will be a blow against its dark allies of oppression and war. Every victory for human freedom will be a victory for world peace."

Reagan understood that to defeat the communist enemies of freedom we had to engage them on every battlefield of national power: cultural, economic and military. That is why he pumped up Radio Liberty and the Voice of America, supported the Solidarity labor movement in Poland, deployed America's technological and industrial prowess in merciless military competition with the Soviets and made liberating the captive people of the Soviet empire the foundation of his foreign policy.

Critics of the idea of a more expansive and coherent strategy to defeat radical Islam still don't seem to understand that we must apply the lesson of Reagan's success against communism to our present war with radical Islam. They point to every car bomb as proof that we overreach in pursuing such a strategy, and whine about the dangers of "imposing" our values on others. We've heard those voices before, and listening to them frequently paralyzed our efforts against communism.

Political paralysis is discouraging America from making the economic and diplomatic commitments to encourage in vulnerable nations the growth of freedom, democracy and free enterprise that is necessary to defeat radical Islam. And partisan political paralysis in Congress is preventing us from making the technological investments necessary to defend ourselves against the weapons of mass destruction our enemies so boldly seek to deploy against us.

To end this paralysis every American must face some frightening truths:

We have enemies who want to destroy our way of life because they truly believe that the misogynistic hell that is the Islamic State is the model for a pious society; there are government leaders who will starve millions of their countrymen, rather than open their borders and expose those starving people to our cultural influences; and, finally, Americans must understand that our enemies are seeking chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, and the long-range missiles with which to deliver them, not because they aspire to our material wealth and progress, but to end human progress as we know it.

Last Friday passed with little notice that it was Ronald Reagan's birthday and even less recognition that in our war with radical Islam we could benefit from his genius.

Reagan understood that we face enemies with whom there can be no compromise, only the victory or defeat of freedom. The war with the Islamic State is only one of many battles in a war with radical Islam that will be every bit as long and costly as the Cold War. We need a National Security Strategy and an Authorization of the Use of Military Force that, unlike those presently proposed by Barack Obama, commits us to winning that war.

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