John Kerry Admits It: "We Are at War" with ISIS (But No Congressional Authorization Needed)


Here's Secretary of State John Kerry just last week, explaining to CBS News that war isn't what we're doing vis a vis the Islamic State:

"We're engaged in a major counterterrorism operation, and it's going to be a long-term counterterrorism operation. I think war is the wrong terminology and analogy but the fact is that we are engaged in a very significant global effort to curb terrorist activity."

But that statement is, to borrow a term of art from the Age of Nixon, "inoperative." Now Kerry cops:

"In terms of al Qaeda, which we have used the word 'war' with, yeah…we are at war with al Qaeda and it's affiliates. And in the same context if you want to use it, yes, we are at war with ISIL in that sense," Kerry said. "But I think it's waste of time to focus on that. Frankly, lets consider what we have to do to degrade and defeat ISIL."

More here (emphases added)

Did you see what he did there? By claiming ISIS is an al Qaeda affiliate, Kerry and the Obama administration is weasel-wording its way around not going to Congress for a new authorization to use military force (AUMF) or outright declaration of war. The White House is claiming that any action against ISIS is justified under the 2001 AUMF that sanctioned any actions against those responsbile for the 9/11 attacks (meaning al Qaeda). But ISIS and al Qaeda are at war with each other, so that's a tough sell out of the box. It's like claiming that, I don't know, despite being marketplace rivals, Puma and Adidas are affiliates because the Dassler brothers started the competing firms.

Just to be safe, of course, the Obama admin is also arguing that the 2002 AUMF, which sanctioned military force to oust Saddam Hussein, also provides grounds for bombing Iraq and Syria, because, come on, it's still the Middle East or something….

If shakey constitutional authorization to re-enter a battleground in which we just spent a decade or so to inconclusive results (at best) isn't enough to give pause, there's this too: It appears that "moderate" Syrian rebels and ISIS, who had been warring, have signed a truce until the Assad regime is defeated.

The New York Times is right to chide Congress for its "cowardice" in not asserting its constitutional role in this. Congress needs to find a spine quickly and do its fricking job, regardless of midterms. Stand up or down for war on the record. And of course Barack Obama—that whipsmart, thoughtful adjunct lecturer in constitutional law—is also at fault here. Regardless of where you stand on the specifics of actions against ISIS, this latest display of contempt for constitutional practices is surely one of the reasons why approval ratings for all involved are in the toilet.

Watch "3 Reasons to NOT Fight ISIS":

NEXT: Propaganda Watch: Lindsey Graham Says ISIS Coming to U.S. to Kill Everyone

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  1. Why can’t, say Amash in the House and Paul in the Senate introduce legislation that says AUMF does not apply to ISIS? Those voting “no”
    (in committee or on the floor) would be defacto supporters of the AUMF applying virtually forever to any situation under any president.

    1. It won’t make it to a floor vote.

  2. The President proposes and Congress disposes?

    Is the Lightworker going to ask for a AUMF/DoW/”Degrade and Destroy the Cpapabilites of _____” announcement?

    1. Er… “Capabilities”

      Would a Cpapability be a cure for sleep apnea?

      1. *narrows gaze*

  3. this latest display of contempt for constitutional practices is surely one of the reasons why approval ratings for all involved are in the toilet.

    Would someone *kindly* explain why no one who swore to “uphold and defend”, um, flushes?

  4. We both are and aren’t at war with Schr?dinger’s cat, which both is and isn’t an affiliate of Schr?dinger’s dog.

  5. Since when did kings need to ask permission to go to war?

  6. And of course Barack Obama?that whipsmart, thoughtful adjunct lecturer in constitutional law?is also at fault here.

    Awwww, Reason is so mean to Obama! You guys just mindlessly oppose everything he does! If this were President McCain, you’d be calling for military action louder than anyone!

  7. That dude jsut looks corrupt as the day is long.

  8. Obama announces air strikes against Germany and Japan without congressional authorization. Cites 1941 declaration of war.

    Impeach this idiot.

    1. Impeach this idiot.


      (Seriously, if he is ever impeached, this will be the narrative and he will become a martyr.)

      1. It’s already the narrative. So, I don’t see the downside. We’re going to cede the Constitution to political correctness?

        Sad. Congress needs to grow a sack!

  9. Obama is super skilled at selecting feckless, dangerously inept Secretaries. Especially of War State.

  10. If there’s anything missing from this article, its noting that Democrats, and Kerry in particular, have a longstanding track record of arguing in support of reinforcing ‘International Law’ and its institutions (The UN, The Hague, World Bank, etc)

    It is worth noting that the legitimacy of “international law” relies heavily on the respect it is given by the Largest Countries.

    This is because IL is mostly a cooperative agreement by small states to protect themselves from the potential predations by larger states (or their neighbors); they all sacrifice a small degree of sovereignty in exchange for the promises that no one will act ‘unilaterally’.

    The very measure of international law is in how the largest nations respect its constraints.

    The irony here is that GWB and his colleagues – who despised the very idea of a constrained American Foreign Policy, and resented having to justify itself to a committee of European bureaucrats – made great efforts to preserve the very institutions they were spurning, insisting at least on going through the pantomimes required in order to eventually have some kind of nominal claim to legitimacy.

    Obama does not even nod in their direction. It appears to be that the Obama administration thinks it can do one better than Bush by *not even pretending to seek authorization*, knowing no one will say “boo”. “Ignorance of the law” – or rather, contempt for it – in this sense IS indeed an excuse.

  11. What’s the big deal. Congress never declared that conflict overseas (Viet Nam) a war either. And yet we all call it the Viet Nam War.

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