ISIS

Sen. Lindsey Graham Proposes Forever War with ISIS, Wherever It May Lead

'No geographical limits. … No expiration date.'

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"DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMM!"
Credit: Gage Skidmore / photo on flickr

Those who watched the Democratic debate last Saturday (Okay, I know you didn't. Peter Suderman summarized here) may have noted that Hillary Clinton stated that our current Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), intended to fight al Qaeda, also applied to fighting the Islamic State. Nevertheless, she said a new AUMF should be passed anyway.

She's not alone in this "All our military actions right now are totally legal, but we should pass another AUMF just because" mentality. President Barack Obama himself has called for a new one.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), candidate for president and human ISIS warning alarm, is also calling for a new AUMF. Given that Graham's entire campaign is predicated on him insisting that ISIS is coming to kill us all in our beds, and only the firm, strong hand of the commander in chief can save us, we can expect his AUMF proposal to be far-reaching. Graham does not disappoint in that respect. David Weigel summarizes over at the Washington Post:

The resolution, which Graham plans to officially introduce after the Thanksgiving recess, is being shaped and shopped around to senators on Wednesday. "No geographic limits are placed on American military or intelligence services in the fight against ISIL," reads the outline of the in-process legislation. "No expiration date. No prohibition on sending American forces on the ground to combat ISIL. No prohibitions on the ability of the United States to disrupt online terrorist recruitment activities, online terrorist propaganda, or terrorist communications."

All of that makes Graham's AUMF further-reaching than any comparable ones — none of which have gotten traction in Congress. The Obama administration has favored an authorization of force with a three-year limit, a non-starter among Republican hawks. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has drafted a war authorization that would also place limits on ground troops, and end the 2001 and 2002 authorizations of force against (respectively) al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussain's Iraq. Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), two freshmen who have campaigned for a new AUMF, wrote in Time magazine Wednesday that their own details need to be worked out. "Questions about whether to 'sunset' an ISIS-specific AUMF and what to do about the 14-year-old statute which currently serves as the administration's legal underpinning for action against ISIS, remain," they acknowledged.

It's an AUMF that screams "For God's Sake, Do Something!" Unfortunately for Graham (and fortunately for those of us not prone to panic), the American public does not want ground forces to fight ISIS. While 60 percent of Americans say they want the U.S. to be doing more to fight ISIS, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, a full 76 percent of Americans oppose sending in conventional ground troops. A significant 65 percent don't even want special forces troops sent in.

That Americans haven't turned hawkish out of fear could help explain why Graham's presidential pretensions are leading him absolutely nowhere. It's not clear he even cares. He seems to have cast himself as some sort of Cassandra among the candidates, trying to find anybody (besides Sen. John McCain) to listen to him.  

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101 responses to “Sen. Lindsey Graham Proposes Forever War with ISIS, Wherever It May Lead

  1. We will wage war until we become them and then give the few remaining heterosexuals their own planet.

    1. The Forever War reference? It’s been decades since I read that.

      1. Finally. I was beginning to despair.

  2. The fact that South Carolina has continued to be elected is a blight on the state of South Carolina only matched by the existence of Steve Spurrier.

    1. Um, yeah, you know what I meant here. I dumb.

  3. I won’t be impressed by anything Lindsey Graham says unless he says it while John McCain is drinking a glass of water.

    1. Just because McCain is up him to the elbow doesn’t mean he’s a puppet, Hugh.

      1. McCain needs a puppet when he wants to grab something above eye level. His Lindsey doll can also make all those grand sweeping gestures he’s no longer capable of.

      2. He’s McCain’s mini me.

  4. I could be wrong, but I suspect Lindsey Graham will not only never be president, but will never again influence the person who is.

    1. Alright, “Santorum” has been converted into a euphemism.

      What could “Lindsey” or “Graham” be a euphemism for? That crusty spunk on your pubes the morning after, maybe?

      1. The lazy susan upon which harems are built.

        1. Did you just call your dick “lazy susan”?

        2. Sen Graham is the absolute last person I think of in conjunction with harems. Take that as you will.

          1. Even as the eunuch in charge?

            1. Oh, Nikki…

          2. I assume “bachelor” is a Southern euphemism for gay?

            1. Not unless otherwise qualified.

              “confirmed bachelor”
              “middle-aged bachelor”

          3. This is the last time I explain my jokes to you people.

      2. Lindsey Graham manages to be something loathsome all on his own.

        1. He seems like the kind of loathsome thing that, if you punched him, he’d feel moist, but when you pulled back your fist it’d be all powdery. He’d also probably enjoy it.

    2. Oh, I could see someone like Trump or Carson bringing him on as Nat’l Security Advisor, SoS or SecDef. Or as VP.

      1. Oh fucking Jesus! You just made me think about what Trumps advisors would look like.

        Threw up a little. In my pants. Out of my ass.

          1. Too late, you pluralized it. Now you have to consider the possibility of multiple Trumps. Clones, perhaps.

            1. Ooh, his daughter? We could be looking at Le Pen situation here, where big loudmouthed jerk of a nativist father starts a movement, then daughter sidelines him and takes it mainstream.

              1. See Francisco, now when Ivanka(?) chooses not to go into politics, you can feel so much better. Remember, it can always be worse – if you can’t think of how, ask the nearest Russian or Finn and they’ll give you a plausible scenario on the spot.

        1. Sorry, Cisco.

  5. The proposed AUMF may be the distillation of everything that is wrong with our current approach to, well, the world.

    If they wanted to do this right, they would accept ISIS as a state, give it a seat in the UN, and then fight a real, state-on-state war with ISIS to the point of unconditional surrender.

    You know, war-war, not these half-assed open-ended kinetic military containment clusterhumps. Get a real declaration of war, if you want to kill people, and then go fight the war like you mean it.

    1. Low intensity conflicts are a guaranteed recipe for long-drawn out hostilities and a loss for the foreign power. We labor under the illusion that we can dip our pinky in and make it all better.

      The Sunnis and Shias are going to have it out. I say let them do it without our involvement.

      1. Are going to have it out?

        Are going to…?

        The Sunnis and Shias have been having it out for, oh, almost 1400 years now. They’re going to continue to have it out for… only Allah knows… regardless of whether we let them or not.

        1. I get your point, however my intention was to say that the hostilities are escalating beyond those of recent memory. Regardless, I don’t see our role in helping them kill each other.

      2. Amen Lee

        And it’s been proven with every war since Korea, with the exception of Gulf War I which had clear achievable objectives.

        If it’s not worth doing all the way (and this isn’t in this situation), stay the fuck out of it. The exception being direct retaliation to aggressors.

      3. I really do believe that the only reason the US government is participating in this fiasco is to avoid the appearance of losing influence in the region.

        The real-life best thing to do (for us little people) is for the US to back out of the situation and let Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey deal with it on a regional level.

        But that would be acknowledging “defeat” in the sense that US influence in the region would only wane faster.

        The US needs to pretend to be “Taking the Lead” in “the Struggle,” just like it was pretending to take the lead in the nuclear talks with Iran.

        In reality, over the long term, Turkey and Iran are going to become (again) the dominant powers in the region. Foreign powers are trying to navigate and control that transition by “participating” here and there, but the long term trend can’t be stopped.

  6. and only a the firm, strong hand of the commander in chief can save us

    Extra “a” or “the”. I’d lose the “a”. Hey, don’t go all ENB on me! [holds ice cube to swollen lip]

    Good quote otherwise, Shackford.

  7. “he American public does not want ground forces to fight ISIS”

    that is fine. and i support that. but that means we’re not really going to do anything effective.

    1. Why does it have to be us? The French haven’t had a good ground war in a while.

      1. oh, i’m assuming we’re going continue some sort of air campaign. that’s all.

        1. Which would be fine if we limited our involvement to that. Air ops are expensive, so doing that would take some of the burden off of our European allies. Let them put boots on the ground if they wish.

  8. Someone please explain how, with our current political paradigm– regardless of who’s in the whitehouse– how this impulse can be limited.

    1. DC being nuked?

    2. Insist on congressional approval for war powers/action?

      HAHAHAHAHA. jk.

    3. In a fashion similar to and about as well as we limit anything government does.

    4. Figure out a way to keep people like ISIS from declaring war on us I guess. ISIS has killed multiple US citizens and openly states they are at war with us. ISIS may not have a seat at the UN, but it is a government and it does control a pretty large chunk of territory. So explain to me how we are not at war with ISIS. Can we just wish it away?

      1. Funnily enough – ISIS didn’t become a state until *after* (and while) the US started bombing them.

  9. I am not too concerned about Graham proposing a forever war with ISIS. I am however concerned about ISIS proposing a forever war with us. We are at war with ISIS. We don’t get a choice in that. They made that choice for us. And we will continue to be at war with ISIS until ISIS decides we won’t be.

    1. What if ISIS throws a war and America doesn’t turn up?

      1. We don’t have to. They will come to us. Again, we don’t get a vote about that. Only they get to decide that.

        1. Yep, any minute now the North Koreans will be coming to us also.

          1. Oh yeah. I mean it is totally unthinkable they will attack us. Next I am going to tell you they will attack Paris or something. Its just fucking crazy. There has never even been a terrorist attack in this country. Right?

            Seriously, what the hell is wrong with you guys sometimes?

      2. And for what it is worth, they just committed an act of war against France. We are obligated to help France in their defense under the terms of the NATO treaty.

        1. Awesome. Yet another reason to dissolve NATO.

    2. I have as much concern over ISIS’ ‘forever war’ with the US as I do with North Korea’s. You know, that state we’ve been at war with since 1950, fought us to a standstill in 1954 and has for the last 60 years had increasingly less and less ability to harm us.

      1. that state we’ve been at war with since 1950, fought us to a standstill in 1954

        The Norks qua Norks got their asses thoroughly whipped. The Red Chinese fought us to a standstill.

        Just sayin’.

  10. While 60 percent of Americans say they want the U.S. to be doing more to fight ISIS, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, a full 76 percent of Americans oppose sending in conventional ground troops. A significant 65 percent don’t even want special forces troops sent in.

    How many want to nuke the Middle East?

    1. Count me in. Why have ’em if we ain’t gonna use ’em?

    2. Maybe just a little one?

      1. wafer thin?

  11. “firm, strong hand of the commander ”

    Pretty much sums up Lindsey.

    1. Wouldn’t there be a lot of propaganda value in having a gay President prosecute a war against radical Muslims? I mean getting sent to Allah is one thing, but being sent there by some power bottom? That is a pretty tough fate for your typical ISIS guy.

      1. Ha! Made me laugh.

  12. a new AUMF

    Um…how about a declaration of war that the Constitution requires?

    Slimey, ass-covering, pathetic fucks. If it’s worth killing people over, you scumbags can at least put your fucking names on a declaration of war.

    1. Okay. All they have to do is change the title at the top of the document. I have never understood the obsession with calling it a declaration of war. Moreover, the only difference calling it a declaration of war would make, is that it would give the President some powers I really don’t think you would like very much. The reason they don’t call them declarations of war anymore is because Congress doesn’t like the President having those powers either.

      1. I have never understood the obsession with calling it a declaration of war.

        Maybe…it’s because the Constitution grants no power to Congress to provide the Executive with an AUMF?

        the only difference calling it a declaration of war would make, is that it would give the President some powers I really don’t think you would like very much.

        Then if Congress doesn’t want the President to have said powers, such a conflict doesn’t rise to the level of allowing him to kill people.

        It’s a ploy to shed responsibility.

        1. Congress does lots to shed responsibility. This however is not one of those things. I fail to see how calling it a declaration of war would make people more likely to hold Congress responsible. And the Constitution says Congress has the power “declare war”. It doesn’t specify in what form that declaration should take. I don’t see why Congress can’t call it anything it wants or limit the parameters of it in any way it wants.

          1. That’s fine, but the AUMF is a weasel-document. Everyone knows it. That they didn’t want to use the phrase “declaration of war” is memorialized in the very title of the document.

        2. “It’s a ploy to shed responsibility.”

          ^ This.

          That’s why I respect Rand introducing and actual declaration of war resolution.

          If they want a war, they should have the balls to call it what it is and actually do it.

          Changing the name at the top of the AUMF is basically just saying that the AUMF is a perpetual authorization of war against whomever, leaving Congress free to bitch without actually empowering themselves to do something.

          War needs to be an active resolution, not silently re-upping a kinda-sorta declaration of limited hostile intent from several terms ago.

      2. I have never understood the obsession with calling it a declaration of war.

        War is conflict between sovereigns. It has defined scope and duration. AUMFs really don’t. We could have had a declaration of war against Afghanistan and Iraq, but we didn’t because we didn’t really want to defeat enemy governments. We wanted a license to roam the Mid-East and kill targets of opportunity.

        If we didn’t turn our military loose without a declaration of war, there would be many fewer deployments and engagements.

    2. I think you meant to answer me above.

    3. One of the problems with people thinking that the President needs a new authorization and that the AUMF doesn’t cover whatever the President wants to do anywhere in the world forever–so long as it’s done to some person, state, or organization that can be associated with Al Qaeda in any way he determines is legitimate–is that it makes people think that we don’t need to get rid of the AUMF.

  13. “firm, strong hand”?

    In your dreams, Lindsey.

    1. He wants a man who will spend some time…

  14. The only commander I’d submit to feel the firm, strong hand of is Adama.

    That came out wrong.

  15. “Hillary Clinton stated that our current Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), intended to fight al Qaeda, also applied to fighting the Islamic State.”

    Because the AUMF was written so badly, that is factually correct.

    The AUMF gives the Commander-in-Chief the authorization to wage war against anyone–anywhere in the world–that he or she determines was in any associated with the attacks on 9/11.

    If the President determines that ISIS in any way associated with Al Qaeda, at any time or in any way, then the President is authorized to wage war against ISIS–wherever they are in the world by any means he considers appropriate.

    And the fact is that elements of what became ISIS have associated with Al Qaeda and in various guises have called themselves Al Qaeda.

    Just because the AUMF is unbelievably stupid and we hate it, doesn’t mean it says something else.

    The best lawyerly argument against the AUMF might be that because the AUMF uses the male pronoun “he”, that it only authorized George W. Bush to act–and not Hillary Clinton or any of Bush’s successors–but that’s a lawyerly stretch.

    1. Just for the record:

      “(a) IN GENERAL- That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.”

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Authorization_for_Use_of_ Military_Force_Against_Terrorists #Text_of_the_AUMF

      1. “Just for the record:”

        Therefore, the AUMF ony applies to the organizations and persons in existence prior to 9/11/2001.

    2. You are probably correct about that. Even if the AUMF had been written properly, there ought to be a new one for the single reason that no AUMF should be open ended. Congress ought to have to revisit and redebate the issue every few years.

      Is ISIS the same thing as Al Quada? Do Congress think their acts of war and declaration of war against us warrants a reciprocal declaration or should we wait until they actually attack American soil? Those are all things Congress should be debating and deciding and should not be decided unilaterally by the President.

      1. They can close it anytime they want!

        The problem is that if they close it, then they’ll have to stop doing everything they’ve based on it–and they’ve based everything they’re doing on the AUMF.

        The Obama Administration even based its legal justification for NSA surveillance on the AUMF.

        When the AUMF is gone, they won’t have a leg to stand on.

        Guantanamo is based on the AUMF.

        1. You just close it and replace it with something else. You make a new AUMF or you pass separate legislation authorizing the things you want. You know, do your fucking job.

          The problem is Congress doesn’t want any responsibility. They would rather do nothing and let the President run wild and totally destroy the separation of powers because that way the President not them is responsible is something goes wrong.

          1. I don’t think they can do that and keep their surveillance programs and Guantanamo.

            The courts are especially loathe to mess with the President’s war powers. The case law we have on the NSA program and Guantanamo is all about that AUMF argument.

            And those arguments stand on the vagueness of the law and the President’s ability in the AUMF to make the determination himself about what is appropriate and who is being targeted.

            This is why we may have to close Guantanamo first (or at the same time) and shut down the NSA programs–before we can get rid of the AUMF.

            I

            1. I don’t think they can do that and keep their surveillance programs and Guantanamo.

              Yes they can. They can just pass a new AUMF that authorizes those things. The new AUMF could continue the war against AL Quada and also authorize one against ISIS. Replacing the AUMF does not end the war against Al Quada such that they clowns at GUITMO can no longer be held. And the surveillance program, whatever you think of it, can most certainly be reauthorized.

              And those arguments stand on the vagueness of the law and the President’s ability in the AUMF to make the determination himself about what is appropriate and who is being targeted.

              Congress ends that vagueness by clearly stating what it wants. Congress makes the law. It is not bound by its previous laws if it wants to make new ones.

              Yes, Congress won’t do that because it would require them stepping up and actually taking responsibility for those things. But that doesn’t mean they can’t and shouldn’t do it.

              1. John is correct.

                It’s like renewing your marriage vows. You don’t have to get divorced first.

          2. In other words, the things we don’t like about the AUMF are the very things that give the President the cover he needs to do the things we don’t like. He determines what is appropriate action by his own criteria, and he determines who the enemy is by his own criteria. If you give him the same discretion in a new authorization, then he he still has the same latitude.

            You’re right that it will be a positive step if we added a sunset clause to a new AUMF and left all the bad stuff in there so they could keep violating our Fourth Amendment rights and everything they’re doing at Guantanamo for the foreseeable future.

            Even then, though, the people who are interested in seeing those programs continue are going to see the handwriting on the wall while the legislation is being debated.

            Don’t the Republicans in Congress like the NSA? The don’t want to get rid of it. They like Guantanamo. They don’t want to get rid of the legal justifications for that stuff because we’re going after ISIS. They don’t want to close it down for Al Qaeda so they can go after ISIS either.

      2. “Is ISIS the same thing as Al Quada?”

        According the AUMF, you don’t have to be Al Qaeda. You have to be an organization that aided those who attacked us on 9/11–as determined by the President.

        Zarqawi claimed affiliation with Al Qaeda when he was the head of ISIS.

        “In October 2004, al-Zarqawi swore loyalty to Osama bin Laden and changed the group’s name to Tan??m Q??idat al-Jih?d f? Bil?d al-R?fidayn, “The Organisation of Jihad’s Base in Mesopotamia”, commonly known as al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI).[46][47]”

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Islamic_State_of_Iraq_and_the_Levant #Nomenclature

        The subsequently changed the name to what it is today.

        You don’t even have to be a lawyer to work out that connection. Yes, the AUMF authorizes the President to do whatever he wants to ISIS anywhere in the world–from now until forever.

        And who’s going to vote for another authorization–or against another authorization–in an election year?

        1. It is a question of semantics. yes, you can say that it is. And indeed maybe you should. The point is Congress should be debating that issue and deciding it not the President.

        2. Just as an aside, I’ve been reading about Zarqawi lately?

          Apparently, Osama bin Laden never trusted Zarqawi, and they had a big falling out.

          The falling out was apparently over Zarqawi targeting Shiite Muslims, which ObL thought was a strategic blunder, but the other reason ObL never trusted Zarqawi was because Zarqawi was a rebellious kid–and he had tattoos, which isn’t considered halal.

          There was also like a sophisticate/redneck divide. bin Laden was sophisticated in both manners and speech. Came from wealth and privilege, etc. Zarqawi was more of a hick in bin Laden’s view–more of a man of action rather than rhetoric or theology. When bin Laden made videos, they were full of beautifully delivered speeches enunciated like something out of Shakespeare. When Zarqawi made videos, he just wanted to show them chopping off people’s heads.

        3. The analogy I’d make is like what happened to the Black Panthers. The Crips used to be called “the Cribs”. It was a high school/junior high street organization for young kids who wanted to be in the Black Panthers but didn’t have any formal training or political philosophy. When the FBI came in either killed, exiled, or incarcerated the Black Panthers’ leadership, the Cribs lost their leadership and direction–and became just about violence and crime.

          The same sort of thing happened with ISIS. As their more intellectual leadership, especially in Al Qaeda, was either wiped out or marginalized, the jihadis were left without intellectual leadership and became a group of people who were mostly just about killing.

          1. It should be noted that if ISIS were to rule a country for more than a few years, it would almost certainly implode.

            I imagine it would be like what happened with the Khmer Rouge. They eventually retreated into the jungles and fought for their survival.

            But society can’t function under their rules. In evolutionary terms, it’s a maladaptation. They would cause a tremendous amount of needless suffering, but they cannot flourish. The world just doesn’t work that way.

            1. I imagine it would be like what happened with the Khmer Rouge. They eventually retreated into the jungles and fought for their survival.

              But that was because Vietnam had enough and invaded. Cytotoxic’s beloved Albania managed to cut itself from Europe and run as a Stalinist country after first breaking with USSR (when Stalin died) and then China (when Mao died), before it managed to transition into gangster-run semi-state it is now.

              1. I’m not saying they’re exactly alike–only that they’re alike in that their utopian ideals are not in harmony with the way the world really works and that they cannot flourish because of that.

                That being said, one of the reasons that Khmer Rouge couldn’t defend itself against Vietnam was because of the self-destructive things it did because of their utopian ideals.

                And even after being removed from power, Pol Pot was still in the jungle with the rebels when he died in 1998–what, 20 years after the Vietnamese had deposed the Khmer Rouge?

                That’s the way I see ISIS. The Russian, Chinese, and Vietnamese communist were to Pol Pot the way Hamas, Hezbollah, and Al Qaeda were to ISIS. It’s like the way the Black Panthers were to the Cribs, and the way the Chinese Communists were to Red Guard and the Cultural Revolution, as well. The utopians get out of control when they’re let off the leash of their intellectual leadership–for whatever reason. And I guess intellectual leadership isn’t just about theory. We should also think of it in terms of being grounded in the real world, too.

                In Russia, the communists let people keep small gardens of their own–because they were smart enough to realize that although collectivization was the utopian ideal, not letting people keep their own small gardens results in mass starvation.

            2. “It should be noted that if ISIS were to rule a country for more than a few years, it would almost certainly implode.”

              I reckon it would more likely morph into something like the Taliban, which could keep on truckin’ indefinitely.

      3. Well

        1. We know already that not only is ISIS not the same as Al Qaeda but that they are even mutually hostile.

        2. ISIS did not *exist* until several years after the second invasion of Iraq. There is no possible way for this organization to be considered in any way tangentially responsible for 9/11.

        1. “We know already that not only is ISIS not the same as Al Qaeda but that they are even mutually hostile.”

          According to the AUMF, it doesn’t matter whether they are Al Qaeda. It matters whether the President considers them to have aided Al Qaeda in any way.

          “ISIS did not *exist* until several years after the second invasion of Iraq. There is no possible way for this organization to be considered in any way tangentially responsible for 9/11.”

          Zarqawi formed the organization that eventually changed its name to ISIS in 1999–years before 9/11 much less the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Islamic_State_of_Iraq_ and_the_Levant #Nomenclature

          Piece the link together yourself–I’m sick of going to tiny url ever two minutes.

          ISIS became a formidable force as a result of the invasion of Iraq, and filled their ranks with dead enders, I’ll grant you that.

  16. Derp, Derp never changes.

  17. I don’t think we have to worry about Ms. Graham. He’s polling somewhere south of one percent.

    1. That’s Mx Graham, you cis-bigoted hatelord.

  18. Lindsey is one of several GOP big-shots calling for a no-fly-zone over Syria. As Pat Buchanan has pointed out, “Why declare a no-fly zone when ISIS has no air force?” So the US would be shooting down Russian aircraft that are fighting ISIS to enforce this.

    Pat is not usually snarky, but in this case…

    http://buchanan.org/blog/is-pu…..ria-124284

  19. i dont know it right but I think its right.

    http://www.CompleteAnon.tk

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