Kerry, Paul spar over limits on ISIS fight

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - CDC in limbo on J&J vax verdict; Rep. Brady retiring Anti-Asian hate crimes bill overcomes first Senate hurdle Fauci on Tucker Carlson vaccine comments: 'Typical crazy conspiracy theory' MORE (R-Ky.) on Tuesday sharply criticized Secretary of State John KerryJohn KerryMcCarthy hails 'whole-of-government approach' to climate Biden must compel China and Russia to act on climate The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - US vaccine effort takes hit with Johnson & Johnson pause MORE for advocating an authorization of military force (AUMF) against Islamic militants without geographic limits.

Paul, who is expected to seek the presidency in 2016, said that a resolution that allows the Obama administration to go after groups that have “pledged allegiance” to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) would mean the U.S. could bomb Middle East cities such as Medina, Saudi Arabia.


“No one’s talking about bombing everywhere,” Kerry replied during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing.

Paul said that the AUMF would send a “signal to Middle East that no city is off-limits,” noting terror groups affiliated with ISIS are currently set up in Libya, Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

Kerry said Paul’s statement was made with “no input or, frankly, the consideration of the limits and strictures under which the United States is currently operating.”

He said the military is under the “most extraordinary constraints on where, when and how we can use force.”

Paul noted that Kerry did not object to limits, including the explicit ban of ground forces, last year when the committee approved an AUMF to strike the Syrian regime for 10 hours.

The nation’s top diplomat replied that was because it was an “entirely different situation” with limited strikes as opposed to a fight against ISIS that could take a “generation” as the president has suggested.

An authorization by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezBottom line The Memo: Biden's five biggest foreign policy challenges Democrats gear up for major push to lower drug prices MORE (D-N.J.) also lacks any geographic limit.

Paul said he "cannot vote for any resolution that doesn’t have a geographic restraint."

The full committee is expected to mark up an AUMF on Thursday.