Contributor Post Created with Sketch. We Will Never Destroy ISIS without a Full-Blown Declaration of War

 

Militant Islamist fighter waving a flag, cheers as he takes part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa provinceThe speed of the news cycle and the media obsession with the presidential horseraces have crowded out a crucial development in the war on ISIS and related Islamic jihadist groups.

House Speaker Paul Ryan has been sounding out colleagues for a new Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). The current AUMF, which was written in 2001 and targeted groups connected to 9/11, has not been renewed. Believe it or not.

Bravo for Paul Ryan’s statesmanship. But a new AUMF must be accompanied by a clear US declaration of war against ISIS. We will never destroy them without a full-blown war declaration.

Now, there are important details regarding the AUMF. Ryan is correctly opposed to the Obama White House ISIS strategy, which would bar widespread use of US combat troops in Syria and Iraq and would place limits on the length of military options. Sound familiar? It’s Iraq and Afghanistan all over again. The new speaker won’t stand for it. Good for him.

The White House wants to forbid “boots on the ground” and wishes to prohibit “enduring offensive ground combat operations.” The use of Special Forces would be allowed, but that would expire after three years. In other words, Team Obama would tie the hands of the U.S. military and send all the wrong signals to our enemies.

But if the Republicans in the House and Senate show some backbone, they can get an AUMF without all the Obama prohibitions. Heaven forbid the Joint Chiefs be able to run a war.

This brings me back to the key point. In his pursuit of a new AUMF, Speaker Ryan must seek a formal U.S. declaration of war against ISIS. It is extraordinary that this has yet to be done. It should have happened 15 months ago, or surely after the horrific terrorist events in Paris.

I cannot understand why the president has yet to call an emergency NATO meeting to declare war on the Islamic State — which, by the way, has declared war on us.

But our president wants no part of that. Remember the Obama reelection-campaign narrative? Terrorism has been defeated and is no longer a problem. So how can you declare war on something that is not a problem?

Retired four-star general Michael Flynn, a recent head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said, “I don’t think enough people in our country see ISIS for what it is, and I think part of that is because our leadership has really denied the fact of who this is that we are facing . . . I think they failed to tell the truth.”

The fact is, this is the greatest national security problem of our time. ISIS attacks from Europe to California have tragically proved that again and again.

So, how can it be that the Washington leadership has not produced a war declaration which would surely rally the American people? A war declaration adds urgency, energy, and immediacy to the war.

What’s more, a war declaration would be a forcing device, outlining the American strategy with respect to the Islamic State and terrorism in general. What is it we want? How will we know when we get it? How does the war end? How long do we stay? What are our postwar intentions?

These are a few of the questions that must be asked and answered so that the American people will know what the American government intends to do. In this way, a war resolution will not only underscore the importance of this conflict, it also will help rally Americans to the cause.

It’s a question of leadership, really. It’s a question of commander-in-chief.

It’s a question of congressional responsibility.

And it’s a question for the presidential candidates in both parties. Answer it, please.

The White House and Congress must be truthful with the American people. No more pulling punches. A war will be a war, with the availability of all of our resources on land and in the air, and with the unfortunate reality of collateral damage in Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere. The great American military understands that costs must be suffered if American freedom is to be protected.

As retired four-star general and former Army vice chief Jack Keane recently told Congress, “There is no substitute for an effective ground force supported by air power. Air power is an enabler, not a defeat mechanism.”

So we must do whatever it takes to destroy ISIS. Right now, it’s not clear that the US is winning.

This is both national security and homeland security. But we will not win this war unless we take the battle — in full force and without limits — to ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The best way to protect the homeland is to utterly destroy our enemies where they live.

There are 15 comments.

  1. RushBabe49 Thatcher

    President Obama is a Muslim sympathizer. He does not want victory for America, he wants America taken down a few pegs, and he is getting exactly what he wants.

    • #1
    • January 22, 2016, at 9:12 PM PST
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  2. Arahant Member

    Larry Kudlow: The best way to protect the homeland is to utterly destroy our enemies where they live.

    Never going to disagree with this.

    • #2
    • January 23, 2016, at 12:42 AM PST
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  3. Henry Castaigne Member

    It would be sensible thing for Obama to begin destroying ISIS as a way to say “do not attack America”. But that is not what will happen. He won’t do anything. Because that is his deal.

    • #3
    • January 23, 2016, at 1:36 AM PST
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  4. Henry Castaigne Member

    On a more interesting subject, Mr. Kudlow, could you please explain this sudden Hawkishness; I’m very interested in it. I’ve been reading your articles for about a decade and never before have you so dramatically opinionated upon foreign policy. I would really like to know the internal machinations behind such a shift.

    • #4
    • January 23, 2016, at 1:42 AM PST
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  5. Pony Convertible Member

    Isis groups (different names, same cause) have been plaguing the middle East for 1400 years. We will never destory them. The only question is what is the best way to protect ourselves?

    • #5
    • January 23, 2016, at 5:19 AM PST
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  6. BrentB67 Inactive

    Please correct me if I am wrong, but have we formally declared war on anyone since WWII or possibly Korea?

    It seems like everything since then is a campaign, police action, operation, etc.

    I share Mr. Kudlow’s comments about commitment. No more halfass approach to our enemies either go all in or stay out. I don’t think ISIS is the correct target, but that doesn’t change the Constitutional necessity of a declaration of war.

    • #6
    • January 23, 2016, at 5:32 AM PST
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  7. Kozak Member
    Kozak Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    George Bush’s greatest error was not demanding a Declaration of War on 9/12. That would have put the Democrats on record and given him the moral authority of a true War President. Instead we got almost immediate back stabbing and undermining by the Left.

    • #7
    • January 23, 2016, at 5:46 AM PST
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  8. Kozak Member
    Kozak Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    BrentB67:Please correct me if I am wrong, but have we formally declared war on anyone since WWII or possibly Korea?

    It seems like everything since then is a campaign, police action, operation, etc.

    I share Mr. Kudlow’s comments about commitment. No more halfass approach to our enemies either go all in or stay out. I don’t think ISIS is the correct target, but that doesn’t change the Constitutional necessity of a declaration of war.

    We haven’t declared war since WW2 which not coincidentally is the last time we won a clear cut victory.

    • #8
    • January 23, 2016, at 5:46 AM PST
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  9. Manny Member

    I’m not sure what a formal declaration of war does. ISIS is not exactly a nation state, and neither was Al-Quaida. We do need Congressional approval, as President George W. Bush asked for and got. It was as close to a Declaration of War as one can get against a nebulous enemy. This is in line with the Jeffersonian war against the Barbary Pirates. From Wikipedia:

    Although Congress never voted on a formal declaration of war, they did authorize the President to instruct the commanders of armed American vessels to seize all vessels and goods of the Pasha of Tripoli “and also to cause to be done all such other acts of precaution or hostility as the state of war will justify.”

    • #9
    • January 23, 2016, at 8:14 AM PST
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  10. Carey J. Inactive

    BrentB67:Please correct me if I am wrong, but have we formally declared war on anyone since WWII or possibly Korea?

    It seems like everything since then is a campaign, police action, operation, etc.

    I share Mr. Kudlow’s comments about commitment. No more halfass approach to our enemies either go all in or stay out. I don’t think ISIS is the correct target, but that doesn’t change the Constitutional necessity of a declaration of war.

    We have not declared war since WWII.

    We need a declaration of war against ISIS, al-Qaeda, and any other violent Islamist organization anywhere in the world; with authorization to use the full military, economic, and diplomatic power of the United States against these groups and against any government which supports them.

    • #10
    • January 23, 2016, at 8:34 AM PST
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  11. Arahant Member

    Henry Castaigne:On a more interesting subject, Mr. Kudlow, could you please explain this sudden Hawkishness; I’m very interested in it. I’ve been reading your articles for about a decade and never before have you so dramatically opinionated upon foreign policy. I would really like to know the internal machinations behind such a shift.

    A run for the Senate, perhaps?

    • #11
    • January 23, 2016, at 8:53 AM PST
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  12. Manfred Arcane Inactive

    ISIS is useful. Why would you want to get rid of it?

    • #12
    • January 24, 2016, at 7:08 AM PST
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  13. Carey J. Inactive

    Manfred Arcane:ISIS is useful. Why would you want to get rid of it?

    ISIS is useful – for target practice. Not too many groups that you can shoot without incurring general social opprobrium.

    • #13
    • January 24, 2016, at 7:46 AM PST
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  14. Manfred Arcane Inactive

    Carey J.:

    Manfred Arcane:ISIS is useful. Why would you want to get rid of it?

    ISIS is useful … Not too many groups that you can shoot without incurring general social opprobrium.

    you noticed that too then?

    • #14
    • January 24, 2016, at 9:49 AM PST
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  15. Raw Prawn Inactive

    Kozak:We haven’t declared war since WW2 which not coincidentally is the last time we won a clear cut victory.

    The clear victor in WW2 was Stalin, thanks to Democrat treason.

    • #15
    • January 24, 2016, at 1:39 PM PST
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