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Ten months later, Kaine still pressing for Congress to authorize war against ISIL

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) at Virginia News Group’s office in Leesburg. Times-Mirror File Photo/Rick Wasser
Sen. Tim Kaine says he wants Congress to vote on a war authorization against the self-styled Islamic State before the August recess.

Speaking to the Times-Mirror Wednesday, Kaine (D-Va.) repeated his call for Washington to stop skirting its duty and take a vote on authorizing the use of force against ISIL or ISIS.

“It's maddening to me,” Kaine says of Congress’s lack of movement on authorizing war. “It’s inexcusable.”

The sentiment is hardly a new one from Virginia’s junior senator. Since late last summer, Kaine has pressed his colleagues to vote on what he calls one of their most fundamental responsibilities -- voting on war. A draft authorization passed out of Senate Foreign Relations last December, but was essentially scrapped when the new Congress took office.

On Monday -- the 10-month anniversary of the U.S. launching military action against ISIL -- Kaine and his colleague, Republican Jeff Flake of Arizona, introduced a new, bipartisan Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) as an amendment to the State Department reauthorization. The amendment was detached from the reauthorization bill, but Kaine garnered a commitment from committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) to hold a meeting dedicated to trying to find a path forward on an AUMF.

The discussion around a new authorization is likely to focus around how to narrowly define U.S. involvement, potential troop levels and when the authorization will expire. The introduced legislation sunsets after three years.

Kaine contrasts that with the 2001 AUMF against al-Qaida, which the senator feels is inadequate as a justification for the current fight with ISIL.

Wednesday’s conversation with the senator and former Virginia governor came the same day President Obama announced the U.S. would send an additional 450 troops to “train and advise” Iraqi Security Forces. The new round of troops brings the U.S. total to approximately 3,500 in the clash with ISIL.

While Kaine said he views the U.S.’s efforts against ISIL as war, he prefers the verbiage “use of force authorization” because ISIL isn’t a state-sponsored military.

In a traditional sense, Kaine said, there are laws of war, “but ISIL respects none of them.”

“It is my strong view that our allies and ISIL, but especially the 3,500 troops engaged in this war -- who have been since August -- ought to know that Congress is behind them,” said Kaine, who has a son deployed elsewhere overseas.

Kaine hopes to see a committee-level discussion on the proposed AUMF in the next couple weeks, with a debate before the full Senate in late July.


Here is the full text of Kaine and Flake’s proposal:
AUTHORITY FOR THE USE OF MILITARY FORCE AGAINST THE ISLAMIC STATE OF IRAQ AND THE LEVANT

SEC. _1. SHORT TITLE.
This title may be cited as the “Authority for the Use of Military Force Against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Act”.

SEC. _2. FINDINGS.

Congress makes the following findings:
(1) The terrorist organization that has referred to itself as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and various other names (in this resolution referred to as “ISIL”) poses a grave threat to the people and territorial integrity of Iraq and Syria, regional stability, and the national security interests of the United States and its allies and partners.
(2) ISIL holds significant territory in Iraq and Syria and has stated its intention to seize more territory and demonstrated the capability to do so.
(3) ISIL leaders have stated that they intend to conduct terrorist attacks internationally, including against the United States, its citizens, and interests.
(4) ISIL has committed despicable acts of violence and mass executions against Muslims, regardless of sect, who do not subscribe to ISIL’s depraved, violent, and oppressive ideology;
(5) ISIL has threatened genocide and committed vicious acts of violence against religious and ethnic minority groups, including Iraqi Christian, Yezidi, and Turkmen populations.
(6) ISIL has targeted innocent women and girls with horrific acts of violence, including abduction, enslavement, torture, rape, and forced marriage.
(7) ISIL is responsible for the deaths of innocent United States citizens, including James Foley, Steven Sotloff, Abdul-Rahman Peter Kassig, and Kayla Mueller.
(8) The United States is working with regional and global allies and partners to degrade and defeat ISIL, to cut off its funding, to stop the flow of foreign fighters to its ranks, and to support local communities as they reject ISIL.
(9) The announcement of the anti-ISIL Coalition on September 5, 2014, during the NATO Summit in Wales, stated that ISIL poses a serious threat and should be countered by a broad international coalition.
(10) The United States calls on its allies and partners, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, to join the anti-ISIL Coalition and defeat this terrorist threat.
(11) President Barack Obama, United States military leaders, and United States allies in the region have made clear that it is more effective to use the unique capabilities of the United States Government to support regional partners instead of large-scale deployments of United States ground forces in this mission.

SEC. _3. AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES.

(a) Authorization.—The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as the President determines necessary and appropriate against ISIL or associated persons or forces as defined in section _6.
(b) War Powers Resolution Requirements.—
(1) Specific statutory authorization.—Consistent with section 8(a)(1) of the War Powers Resolution (50 U.S.C. 1547(a)(1)), Congress declares that this section is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization within the meaning of section 5(b) of the War Powers Resolution (50 U.S.C. 1544(b)).
(2) Applicability of other requirements.—Nothing in this title supersedes any requirements of the War Powers Resolution (50 U.S.C. 1541 et seq.).
(c) Purpose.—The purpose of this authorization is to protect the lives of United States citizens and to provide military support to regional partners in their battle to defeat ISIL. The use of significant United States ground troops in combat against ISIL, except to protect the lives of United States citizens from imminent threat, is not consistent with such purpose.

SEC. _4. DURATION OF AUTHORIZATION.

The authorization for the use of military force under this title shall terminate three years after the date of the enactment of this Act, unless reauthorized.

SEC. _5. REPORTS.

The President shall report to Congress at least once every six months on specific actions taken pursuant to this authorization.

SEC. _6. ASSOCIATED PERSONS OR FORCES DEFINED.

In this title, the term “associated persons or forces”—
(1) means individuals and organizations fighting for, on behalf of, or alongside ISIL or any closely-related successor entity in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners; and
(2) refers to any individual or organization that presents a direct threat to members of the United States Armed Forces, coalition partner forces, or forces trained by the coalition, in their fight against ISIL.

SEC. _7. REPEAL OF AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF MILITARY FORCE AGAINST IRAQ.

The Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (Public Law 107–243; 116 Stat. 1498; 50 U.S.C. 1541 note) is hereby repealed.

SEC. _8. SOLE STATUTORY AUTHORITY FOR MILITARY ACTION AGAINST ISIL.

This authorization shall constitute the sole statutory authority for United States military action against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and associated persons or forces, and supersedes any prior authorization for the use of military force involving action against ISIL.

Comments


Yet Loudoun Times Mirror silent on the story of the Jihadi right in our backyard.

Ali Amin, of Manassas, Virginia, pleads guilty to helping ISIS.


A Democrat calling for War? Times have changed.

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