Obama sending Special Ops to fight ISIL; Congress wants input

Philippine Marines from the Naval Special Operations Group (NAVSOG) storm the beach to simulate an "extraction" of a kidnapped victim as they kick off a five-day amphibious military exercise at the Philippine Marines training center in Ternate, Cavite province, about 50 miles (80kms) south of Manila, Philippines Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015. The naval exercise dubbed PAGSISIKAP 2015 is aimed at enhancing capability of their fleet and forces as well as to strengthen interoperability of the Marines. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

 WASHINGTON (MEDIA GENERAL) – U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter made a big announcement Tuesday on Capitol Hill.

“We’re sending, on President Obama’s orders, and the chairman’s and my advice, special operations forces to Syria to support the fight against ISIL,” Carter said.

These special operations soldiers will add to the less than 50 already on the ground. Carter did not specify how many soldiers would be sent.

“We need to start with the overall strategy,” Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH) said.

Stivers, who fought in Iraq 10 years ago, wants action against ISIL, but not without a new strategy that includes help from nations bordering Syria.

“When the faces of soldiers on the ground don’t look like the faces of the civilians on the battlefield, it does make it harder to build trust,” Stivers said. “It does need to include a local contingent whether it’s Kurdish forces and other regional nations.”

An authorization of military force (AUMF) means Congress would vote to give President Obama the power to fight ISIS. In order to get their permission, the President must explain his strategy and listen to Congressional input.

The Obama administration claims the AUMF passed under Pres. George W. Bush in 2001 to fight terrorists in Iraq after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attack also encompass the fight against ISIL, which means President Obama does not need Congress’ permission to send military forces. However, many in Congress feel a new AUMF should be brought forth.

Some Democrats, like Rep.David Cicilline (D-RI), want the President to explain his strategy, too.

“I have been urging the administration for some time now to lay out its strategic objectives, its goals, how it intends to achieve those objectives in this fight, and come to Congress and receive the authorization for the use of force,” he said.

“I don’t think we should continue to engage more deeply in a conflict without authorization that’s required by the constitution,” Cicilline said.

There are several proposals from different representatives and senators, but none have come up for a vote in Congress.

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