The Libertarian Party today accused President Obama of violating the Constitution in his strikes against ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq, while a liberal lobby also called on the need to have “unequivocally constitutional” approval from Congress.
“Whatever differences they may claim, Democratic and Republican politicians are aligned when it comes to foreign meddling,” Nicholas Sarwark, chairman of the Libertarian National Committee, said in a statement. “President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush both resort to war in the end.”
The party maintained that since the Islamic State (IS) did not exist in 2001, the authorization for military force approved after 9/11 to go after terrorists connected to the attack doesn’t apply.
“This is wildly reckless and irresponsible,” Sarwark said. “The old parties in Congress just spent $20 billion arming and training Iraqi soldiers, only to see U.S. military weapons land in the hands of the Islamic State. This new measure could end up arming future enemies in Syria as well.”
“The bigger threat is endless war and a heightened risk of terrorist attacks on U.S. citizens as a result of military intervention,” he added.
The Progressive Policy Institute noted in a statement that both former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta have suggested “early and effective U.S. support for indigenous Syrian rebels might have prevented these foreign jihadis from setting up shop in Syria.”
“Non-intervention is not a painless or risk-free option for Americans, no matter how weary we may be of war,” said PPI president Will Marshall.
“President Obama needs to level with the American people about the nature and duration of this conflict. What we are really up against, the enduring source of instability and danger, is not any particular group of Sunni terrorists, but the Islamist ideology that motives them. This fight will be more like the Cold War than World War II. It won’t be settled on any battlefield,” Marshall said. “Only when the jihadist ideology loses its power to inspire young Muslims to kill for a warped vision of a puritanical, all-conquering Islam will the danger pass. That could take a generation. It will require that America and the international community wage—and above all Muslim political and religious leaders—wage a more effective campaign to discredit and marginalize the Islamist death cult.”
The PPI called for a “resolute, long-term strategy to contain and eventually defuse the threat posed by Islamist fanatics,” which “must enjoy broad public and political support at home.”
“Rather than invoking post-9/11 legislation, the White House should heed calls from Congressional leaders, such as Sen. Tim Kaine, to seek new authority for this next phase of U.S. counterterrorism operations,” Marshall continued. “It’s important that our confrontation with Islamist extremists have explicit Congressional backing and be unequivocally Constitutional. At the same time, however, Congress must refrain from tying the executive’s hands, for example, by imposing arbitrary deadlines or geographical limits on its ability to confront threats to our people or our interests.”