In light of the threat posed by ISIS in Syria and Iraq, President Obama wants Congress to authorize military force against the Islamist group in the Middle East. Although the president believes a 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) gives him the legal grounds to go to war on his own, he has sent Congress a draft authorization for their approval.
Mr. President, be careful what you wish for. As Colin Powell once said about the consequences of the U.S. war in Iraq, “if you break it, you own it.” Congress should not give the green light to a new, potentially endless war, nor should Obama pursue it. This would be Obama’s war, and he would own it, with a very distinct chance of jeopardizing his legacy. And these wars never turn out well for America, so why would a war against ISIS be any different?
President Obama should remember that he came into office based on widespread public opposition to the Iraq War, including his own determination to end that war. Following the 9-11 terrorist attacks, Bush dragged the nation into Iraq for no other reason than avenging his daddy — not to mention oil money and war profiteering. It mattered little to Bush or Congress that Iraq had nothing to do with the airplane bombings of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Rather, 9-11 had Saudi Arabia’s name all over it — given that most of the hijackers came from Saudi Arabia and apparently were aided by that country — yet we were to believe Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction? What resulted was a mass distraction costing $4 to 6 trillion in Iraq and Afghanistan, thousands of soldiers’ lives and hundreds of thousands of civilian lives lost. Moreover, the mess Bush created in Iraq paved the way for the mess we are witnessing today with ISIS.
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