WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama has sent a draft resolution to Congress to authorize the use of force against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
The president spoke about the draft authorization during a White House announcement this afternoon. Vice President Joe Biden, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Secretary of State John Kerry stood with the president.
The draft resolution would give the United States the authority to fulfill the objective of destroying the terror group in Iraq and Syria, the president said. U.S. forces and coalition allies are already striking at the group in the region. American forces are operating under authorizations passed after the 9-11 attacks.
“The resolution we’ve submitted today does not call for the deployment of U.S. ground combat forces to Iraq or Syria,” the president said. “It is not the authorization of another ground war like Afghanistan or Iraq. The 2,600 American troops in Iraq today largely serve on bases. And yes, they face the risks that come with service in any dangerous environment, but they do not have a combat mission.”
U.S. forces in Iraq are training Iraqi forces including the Kurdish peshmerga. “I’m convinced that the United States should not get dragged back into another prolonged ground war in the Middle East,” Obama said. “That’s not in our national security interest and it’s not necessary for us to defeat ISIL. Local forces on the ground who know their countries best are best positioned to take the ground fight to ISIL and that’s what they are doing.”