Republicans complain that Obama's hawkish war plan is not extreme enough

February 11, 2015
In The News

Whether President Obama wants to admit it or not, the United States never really pulled out of Iraq. The president has sent his request for war powers against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to Congress, but it's getting push back from both sides of the aisle.

Obama has decided to seek congressional authorization to continue the United States' targeting of ISIS in the Middle East. The plan would extend U.S. involvement for another three years, and provide ground action by the troops, though there would be some restrictions. The biggest hold up comes over how much restriction, if any, there should be with the troops on the ground, as The Hill pointed out on Feb. 12.

Detailed in the plan was what the ground troops could and could not do, if the Congress decided to authorized it. Under Obama's request, the ground troops would be allowed to target specific ISIS leaders, supply intelligence and assist in other combat operations. While troops would be allowed on the ground, they would be banned from "enduring offensive ground combat operations."

Republican say that the language will put the troops in harms way for putting such restrictions on them in a time of battle. "I will not give consent to a measure that ties the hands of our military commanders or takes options off the table," said Rep. Michael McCaul, a Republican from Texas. House Speaker Rep. John Boehner also doesn't support the president's plan, saying that it doesn't "give our military commanders the flexibility and authorities they need to succeed and protect our people."

On the other side of the political debate, Democrats aren't too pleased with the President's plan of attack which appears as another engagement that the country shouldn't be getting involved in. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), himself a former member of the Air Force, said he won't support Obama's plan because he doesn't believe that ISIS is as big of a threat as the administration has made it out to be. Agreeing that ISIS' actions are repugnant, Lieu also said that, "I do not believe the Administration has made the case that ISIL (ISIS) represents a direct, grave threat to our nation."

The U.S. has launched attacks against ISIS in both Iraq and Syria since the Summer, which include air strikes and limited ground involvement. Since August, the U.S. attacks against ISIS have cost nearly $1.5 billion in taxpayer money, a price tag that will only increase over time.