Unsurprising Cowardice (Leadership)

The shadow over Congress, and Mitch McConnell.

In February, Republicans said no to an Authorization for Use of Military Force specifically crafted to address Daa’ish because it wasn’t a big enough war. And while Republican presidential candidates might be lining up to take it out on Syrian refugees and Muslims both at home and around the world, the one thing they won’t do, according to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, is grant an Authorization for Use of Military Force against Daa’ish.

“The president obviously feels he has the authority now to do what he’s doing,” McConnell said. “And the discussions with Democrats on AUMF make it clear that the only kind of AUMF they would support is one that would include such micromanagement of the military exercise as how many troops you could have, how long they could stay, and all of this.

“I would not want to saddle the next president with a prescriptive AUMF. We’re going to have a new president a year from now,” McConnell continued. “He or she may have a different view about the way to deal with ISIS and that part of the world. I don’t think we ought to be passing an AUMF as the president exits the stage when he already thinks he has the authority to do what he’s willing to do now.”


This is a weird back and forth; as near as anyone can tell, the Obama administration is operating in the Levantine Theatre under the auspices of the same post-9/11 AUMF that saw President Bush invade Iraq. We are, essentially, living in the time of perpetual warfare authorized fourteen years ago.

Still, though, despite continued pressure from Sens. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Tim Kaine (D-VA), Republican leadership is seeking any reason to put this off. Last year, Speaker Boehner said we needed to wait until this year, and then, of course, Republicans said no, anyway. And then they complained that President Obama wasn’t doing enough, but as near as anyone can tell, what Republicans want is to give Daa’ish everything it wants by ensuring the part happens when the entire homeland is supposed to actually be terrified by terrorism. Rather than deal with Daa’ish, Republicans want a piece of Muslims in the U.S. And so questions of war, it seems, can wait. Not just until next year, but the year after that.

Or so says Mitch McConnell.

You don’t have to want a ground war; you don’t even have to support the idea. But the President is running half a war, and Republicans seem content to neither stop nor empower him, in large part because they think they can find domestic political advantage in complaining about their own refusal to act.

We need to either bring our troops home or greenlight them to actually perform and finish the job at hand. But neither, according to the senior U.S. Senator from Kentucky, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, will happen until January, 2017, at the earliest.


Image note: Source photo by Evan Vucci/Associated Press; background graphic via YouTube.

Lesniewski, Niels. “Mitch McConnell: New War Authorization Not Happening Anytime Soon”. WGDB. Roll Call. 11 December 2015.

Allon, Janet. “Party in a Panic! 7 GOP Hypocrites Freak Out About Trump”. AlterNet. 9 December 2015.

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