Obama Sends Letter to Congress Seeking Authorization of ISIS Fight

 | PETER BAKER 02/11/2015 9:11 AM MST
Iraq
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WASHINGTON — President Obama on Wednesday formally asked Congress to authorize a three-year military campaign against the terrorist group the Islamic State that would avoid a large-scale invasion and occupation but in addition to air power could include limited ground operations by American forces to hunt down enemy leaders or rescue American personnel.

A proposal sent by the White House to Capitol Hill on Wednesday would formally give the president the power to continue the airstrikes he has been conducting since last fall against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, as well as “associated persons or forces.” The measure would set limits that were never imposed during the wars of the last decade in Afghanistan and Iraq by expiring in three years and withholding permission for “enduring offensive ground combat operations.”

But in a letter to Congress accompanying the proposal, Mr. Obama, who has said there would be no boots on the ground in Iraq and Syria, envisioned limited ground combat operations “such as rescue operations” or the use of “Special Operations forces to take military action against ISIL leadership.” He also said the legislation would allow the use of ground forces for intelligence gathering, target spotting and planning assistance to ground troops of allies like Iraq’s military.

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