WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, responded to President Barack Obama’s request for a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) with the following statement:
“There is no question that ISIL is a barbaric and terrorist organization. These extremists are a threat to the United States, our interests, and our allies in the region. I support President Obama’s goal of degrading and destroying ISIL, but this can be done by supporting Iraqi and Kurdish forces, as well as our partners in the Arab world. We should also be providing direct support to their efforts to degrade ISIL’s political backing. I support expanded training in Syria, along with targeted air strikes in both countries.
“Authorizing the use of military force is not a decision I take lightly. I believe President Obama when he says that he does not intend to commit ground troops in this fight against ISIL, but Congress needs to do our part to uphold this promise to the American people. We must make it clear that there is no authorization for the use of combat ground troops.
“While the AUMF outlined by the President is limited to three years that sunset means little if the 9/11 AUMF, approved in 2001, is still in effect as a potentially boundless, all–encompassing authorization. By leaving in place the 2001 AUMF, Congress could be authorizing a state of perpetual war, and giving this President and future presidents a blank check to keep America at war. That is why I authored a provision in the AUMF resolution approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last December to sunset the 2001 AUMF in three years. A three-year sunset of the 2001 AUMF would guarantee that Congress has an opportunity to review what is being accomplished, and it allows the new president to review the situation, consult with Congress and decide on a forward course of action. After more than 13 years, it is time we close this chapter of unending war and modernize our approach to these threats in a thoughtful and concise way.”