White House still wants 2002 military authorization repealed

President Obama still supports repealing Congress’s 2002 authorization to use military force in Iraq, despite relying on it for efforts to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

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But Obama wants it replaced instead with an authorization specific to ISIS to support the current fighting, said Tony Blinken, deputy White House adviser for national security.

“We still would like to repeal it. We think what would be very helpful is if … Congress worked to give us a targeted, focused authorization,” Blinken said on “Fox News Sunday.”

“But while we welcome that, we don’t need it,” he said.

Blinken’s comments came as the White House faces criticism for using the 2002 authorization, along with a 2001 resolution that directed President Bush to fight the terrorists responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, as justification for the military’s efforts to against ISIS.

ISIS was not named in either authorization.

Blinken argued that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who is believed to have planned the Sept. 11 attacks, founded ISIS, so the link is justified.

“We have the 2001 authorization, and we have a basis in the 2002 authorization,” he said.

While the 2002 resolution specifically mentioned Saddam Hussein, “it also said that if there are terrorist forces in Iraq that the Iraqi government is unable or unwilling to deal with, that gives us authorization to act as well.”