Why the GOP Should Proceed with Extreme Caution on Obama’s AUMF
First a couple of disclaimers.
I am not a non-interventionist. I think non-interventionism sounds great while you’re safe and sound on Facebook, or trolling the comments sections of various blogs with your fellow Utopians. I would love to live in a world where moat building and non-interventionism were still possible.
A world where the fact we’re sandwiched between two of the world’s largest bodies of water still makes it very problematic for an enemy to reach us. A world where there aren’t mobile methods of mass destruction poised to take advantage of our open borders, let alone the technology to harm us even if our borders were actually secure.
But that is not the real world we are living in.
If there’s a clear American interest (or self-defense) at stake, then let’s kick the tires, light the fires, and fire up the Lee Greenwood. Let the best-trained and equipped fighting force in world history do its job, and wreak holy havoc upon our enemy until they are either erased altogether or unconditionally surrender. I believe in the George Patton School of Warfare: you don’t win a war by dying for your cause, but by making the other son of a gun die for his.
Therefore, I am neither in favor of sticking our heads in the sand regarding the realities of the world, nor am I opposed to doing what it takes to confront those realities. With those disclaimers out of the way, now let me say this:
The Republican-controlled Congress should proceed with extreme caution on President Obama’s three-year request for authorization to use military force against Islamic State.
There are two reasons why. One is moral, the other political. Let’s begin with the former.
Many among our intelligentsia were surprised this week when a new poll came out saying a majority of the American people were willing to do what it takes to eliminate the threat of Islamic State. They were surprised because they had conflated our wariness of Obama’s foreign policy blunders with a wariness to defeat our enemies.
And the American people have a multitude of reasons to be wary of Obama:
- One of Obama’s first major foreign policy speeches routinely elevated the “holy Q’uran” but also said “we are no longer a Christian nation.”
- Obama’s consistent backing of the Muslim Brotherhood, which had disastrous results in Egypt.
- The ham-fisted retreat from Iraq, which allowed the rise of Islamic State to take root there in the first place.
- The “if you like your current nuclear program you can keep it” deal with Iran.
- Handing Hamas a $47 million check from the American taxpayer right as they were lobbying missiles at Israel last year.
- In 2013, Obama drew a red-line against Syria’s Assad using chemical weapons on his people. And then once he did Obama tried to claim no such red-line existed.
- Later in 2013, Obama advocated Americans fighting alongside Al-Qaeda-led insurgents in Syria to remove Assad, but now he advocates helping Assad to fight back against Islamic State.
- Less than six months ago Obama cited Yemen as one of his foreign policy success stories. Now we’re evacuating our embassy there because the country is in shambles.
- The infamous Bergdahl swap, where we traded an alleged deserter for the Taliban’s dream team.
- After a Rose Garden announcement that Americans would have no combat role in Afghanistan, Obama has decided to expand our fighting mission there.
- Categorizing the Ft. Hood shootings as “workplace violence.”
- Refusing to call Islamic terrorism what it is, but using euphemisms like “random acts of terror” instead.
- Claiming global warming is more of a threat to the American people than Islamic Jihad.
- Arguably the most strained relationship with Israel we’ve ever had.
- Being practically the only leader of consequence in the free world not to show up and show support in France after the Charlie Hebdo massacre.
- Russia’s incursion into Ukraine.
- We still don’t know the full truth of the Benghazi terror attacks, which resulted in the deaths of four Americans (including our ambassador).
- Ignoring the initial threat evaluations of Islamic State, and describing them as “the junior varsity” instead.
- A 30-point drop in military morale.
Whew—need I say more?
Given that heinous record, it’s tough to make the case Obama’s AUMF will be prosecuted by a “competent authority”, or have a “probability of success” as Just War Theory demands. The American people have learned the past six years that just getting a lot of people killed – including innocents caught in the cross-fire – isn’t a just war, let alone victory.
That’s why Republicans should hold transparent hearings and debates before the American people, demanding the Obama Administration make its case this will be more than “the community organizer goes off to war” once more. That our commander-in-chief has a real roadmap to ultimate victory here. Not just setting the stage for whatever this current manifestation of Islamic Jihad will eventually morph into next.
Unfortunately, all too often those running today’s GOP have shown they’re not persuaded by the moral argument, which brings us to my other point.
Obama will never face the scrutiny of the voters again, but many of these Republicans will (including the GOP presidential nominee in 2016). If you hand this master of moral confusion a blank check to wage war without first demanding moral clarity, you’re linking your political fortunes with his.
We know many of these Republicans could give a rip about doing the right thing for the right reasons, but we also know they care about self-preservation. Putting your future in Obama’s hands is a fool’s game.
Just ask all the Obama Democrats the voters fired in the last election.
(Steve Deace is a nationally-syndicated talk show host and also the author of the new book “Rules for Patriots: How Conservatives Can Win Again.” You can “like” him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @SteveDeaceShow.)