Hawaiʻi Senators Respond to Military Force Authorization Against ISIL

February 11, 2015, 3:46 PM HST · Updated February 11, 3:48 PM
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US Senator Brian Schatz delivering today's floor speech, 6/11/13. Courtesy photo, Office of US Sen. Brian Schatz.

US Senator Brian Schatz , file photo Courtesy Office of US Sen. Brian Schatz.

By Wendy Osher

US Senators Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono of Hawaiʻi today issued statements in response to the Administration’s proposed authorization for use of military force against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or ISIL.  Both expressed support for the authorization of force, but want the President to refrain from activating ground troops.

Senator Schatz called the authorization “a critical step” towards ensuring a “robust debate” about the US strategy for defeating ISIL.  He called ISIL “a group of barbaric terrorists,” saying, “their extreme tactics display a shocking brutality that must be stopped.”

Schatz said the US, with the support of coalition partners, “needs a clear strategy for defeating this threat, and Congress must exercise its constitutional role in authorizing any use of force.”

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While he said he was pleased with the proposal of a time-limited authorization, Schatz stated that he had reservations about other provisions in the request.

“I am troubled by the ambiguity regarding our commitment of ground troops as well as the lack of specificity about what individuals and groups will be considered associated with ISIL. Without that specificity, Congress risks authorizing a war against an ever expanding list of persons and organizations in an ever growing number of countries.”

Schatz went on to say that while the proposed authorization would repeal the 2002 AUMF for Iraq, he said, “it is silent on the issue of the 2001 AUMF that has given the Executive Branch broad powers in conducting open-ended military operations abroad. Congress must also repeal the 2001 AUMF.”

Fellow US Senator Mazie Hirono also commented on the authorization proposal expressing similar sentiment.

Hirono, who serves as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said, “I expect a thoughtful and thorough debate on a limited and narrowly tailored military authorization. I will continue to hold the President to his promise of no boots on the ground. This will not be another Iraq War.”

In a press release statement Senator Hirono said, “Congress has a key role to play in the U.S. response to the horrific and fast-moving threat ISIL poses, and I would be troubled if the President did not seek authorization for the use of military force.”

She continued saying, “As seen with the death of Kayla Mueller and barbaric murders of countless others, ISIL continues to inflict terror and escalate instability in the Middle East. The US and our partners in the Middle East and around the world must be clear and decisive in our actions against this ruthless, well-funded, and organized group that is attracting recruits from all corners of the world.”

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