Comment of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), On the Administration’s Proposed Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)

There can be no question that the barbaric crimes perpetrated by ISIL must be met with the full force of action by the international community.  American lives have been lost and are at risk, and our nation, too, has a role to play in this international coalition.

“I commend the administration for seeking congressional approval for our involvement in this coalition, rather than resting exclusively on the authority of two outdated Authorizations for the Use of Military Force.  However, I have serious concerns about the breadth and ambiguity of this proposal.  The executive branch’s reliance on the 2001 AUMF to justify such things as indefinite detentions and drone strikes far from Afghanistan has taught that Congress must carefully limit any authority it grants a president to engage in war.

“We have a responsibility to take action against ISIL terrorists who are responsible for the murders of thousands of innocent men, women, and children, including American citizens.  But we must do so in a way that avoids repeating the missteps of the past, and that does not result in an open-ended authorization that becomes legal justification for future actions against unknown enemies, in unknown places, at unknown times.”

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