Defense

McCain: Obama war powers request ‘convoluted’

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz) said Sunday that President Obama’s request for a war powers authorization against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is “convoluted.”

{mosads}“It’s probably appropriate to have the debate. But the president hasn’t come forward with a plan or a strategy for us to have success,” McCain, who is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on NBC’s “Meet The Press.”

“In his proposal, [Obama] left out [Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad, which is really amazing in that we are training young Syrians to go in and fight against Bashar al-Assad,” McCain said. “It’s really kind of convoluted and I’d say call it an uncertain trumpet.”

Obama sent Congress draft legislation last week authorizing the use of military force against ISIS, asking lawmakers to vote specifically to approve a new war for the first time since the controversial 2002 Iraq War vote.

The proposed legislation limits Obama from the use of “enduring offensive ground combat operations.” The request is widely seen as being deliberately vague language in an attempt to win over critics on the left wary of mission creep and those on the right who don’t want to restrict possible military action against ISIS.

McCain said that it would weaken the presidency to approve such a narrow request.

“I think we should not constrain the president of the United States,” he said. “Congress has the power of the purse and if we don’t like what the commander in chief is doing, we can cut off the funding.”

The top ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.)., defended Obama’s war request, saying it was focused “on the immediate threat of ISIL against the United States.

“They’re holding territory in Iraq, against our regional [interest],” he said. “We have to concentrate, I think, on the most immediate threat. That threat is ISIL in both Syria and in Iraq, and that’s what the authority is requested for.”

Tags ISIS Jack Reed John McCain Sunday shows
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