His Third War

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By David Taintor,

from MSNBC,

Presidency begins with peace prize, ends with war.

President Obama asked Congress on Wednesday for new war powers to go after the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the brutal terror group that has beheaded American journalists and aid workers and has menaced the Middle East. The president’s request would replace the 2002 legislation that authorized the Iraq War but leaves in place a very broadly worded resolution passed in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

“This is a difficult mission, and it will remain difficult for some time,” Obama said at the White House, flanked by Vice President Joe Biden, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Secretary of State John Kerry. But “ISIL is on the defensive, and ISIL is going to lose,” Obama added, using an alternative acronym for the terror group.

Earlier Wednesday, Obama, who won the Nobel Peace Prize early in his presidency, submitted a draft resolution seeking from Congress a three-year Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against ISIS. The resolution notably restricts the use of American ground troops and seeks to avoid a prolonged conflict in the fight against ISIS, which has taken control of large swathes of Syria and northern Iraq in its quest to establish a religious state in the Middle East.

Obama won the presidency in 2008 in part as a staunch opponent of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003; under his leadership, American troops were withdrawn from that country in 2011. But the recent rise of ISIS – which began as an offshoot of al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and has thrived in the vacuum created by the relentless and deadly civil war in Syria – forced his administration to take military action. Still, the president went to great lengths to differentiate his strategy in the region from the actions of his predecessor.

“I’m convinced the U.S. should not get dragged back into another ground war in the Middle East. That’s not in our national security interest, and it’s not necessary for us to defeat ISIL,” Obama said, adding he would only send American troops into harm’s way when “absolutely necessary.”

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