Sen. Cruz: Obama Administrations Strategy Against ISIS Defined by Confusion
We should be entirely focused on destroying ISIS and protecting Americans
WASHINGTON, DC -- U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, released the following statement regarding exchanges he had with Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey during a Senate Armed Services hearing earlier today:
“The Obama Administration’s plan to combat ISIS is defined by its confusion,” said Sen. Cruz. “We have been told the mission is to destroy ISIS, but the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff today testified they plan to conduct an extended campaign of nation-building that will address underlying ‘grievances’ that have destabilized the region. We should have a mission to achieve what is immediately essential: striking ISIS to protect Americans. The lack of focus and determination to achieve that goal is extremely concerning.”
Sen. Cruz continued, “Whatever military action is undertaken in Iraq and Syria, President Obama should seek proper congressional war authorization; it is required by the Constitution. While he has the power to conduct operations as Commander-in-Chief against urgent threats, he does not have the power to unilaterally plan, fund, and execute a mission that could consume many years. President Obama should not rely on old authorizations of military force requested by President Bush to combat al Qaida and Saddam Hussein as license to conduct nebulous operations with the unattainable goal of achieving political reconciliation in the region.”
At the hearing, Sen. Cruz specifically asked Secretary Hagel and General Dempsey what would be required to conduct a 90-day military strategy to destroy ISIS. General Dempsey stated that the military could be used to “confront them, destroy equipment and drive them underground.” But he went on to say, “Truly there is no military solution to ISIS…it’s got to be part of a broader, whole of government, regional campaign.”
Sen. Cruz disagrees with the assertion there is no military solution to ISIS. In the hearing, Chairman Dempsey said that the military could be used to confront ISIS, destroy their equipment, and drive them underground in the next 90 days. Sen. Cruz believes that is plan that should be vigorously pursued.
Sen. Cruz also asked Secretary Hagel what legal authority President Obama has to conduct an extended campaign without congressional authorization. The secretary replied that the Obama Administration intended to rely on previous war authorizations from President George W. Bush to conduct extended military operations. He said, “The statutory authority is the AUMF of 2001 and if you wanted to add something to that the AUMF of 2003 [sic].”*
*Secretary Hagel was likely referring to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.