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Obama to Ask Congress for Use of Force Authorization Against ISIS

In a move that will be both legal and controversial, President Obama announced that he will be formally asking Congress to grant him an authorization to use force against the terrorist group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). Thus far, the president has been conducting air sorties against ISIS targets, but lacks the congressional authorization to do so. The president has been using the legislation Congress granted to President George W. Bush after the September 11, 2001 attacks. However, that legislation dealt with Al Qaida and the nations granting it safe haven. Legal experts believe that the president is distorting legal authorization by using the 2001 authorization to conduct an air war against ISIS in Syria.

According to Brian Torchin and, this move will prove highly controversial for President Obama. For starters, Democrats are loath to conduct another war. The president also prefers to conduct operations in a noncommittal manner to minimize scrutiny over his actions. By requesting congressional authorization, he will finally have to present congress with a strategy for fighting ISIS. House Speaker John Boehner affirmed that he will support the president in the authorization bill. Boehner acknowledged that it is not appropriate to bind the president to a limited set of actions. This means that the possibility of placing troops on the ground will be part of the bill. This will place the president in the uncomfortable position of having to plead out his case to the American people.

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