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Inhofe, Cole respond to Obama's request for force against Islamic State

Sen. Jim Inhofe, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, on Wednesday criticized President Barack Obama’s draft resolution requesting congressional authorization to use military force against the Islamic State, also called ISIL and ISIS.

Inhofe, R-Tulsa, said, “My first concern is that the President's AUMF limits the time frame, which telegraphs the wrong message.

“This is a generational fight. We cannot arbitrarily say we will be done in three years. Let's be honest with the American people. Additionally, the phrase 'enduring offensive ground operations' is ambiguous and could leave us in perpetual debate on what the military is authorized to do. I want commanders to get it done.

“All reasonable military options should be on the table. I believe 'use of all necessary and appropriate force' would have been a better message.

“Finally, our country, its people and Congress, need to know what the strategy is with regards to ISIS/ISIL _ what are our goals and objectives, and what is the end state. On Jan. 23, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey said, 'I think in the crafting of the AUMF, all options should be on the table… Constraints on time, or a 'sunset clause,' I just don’t think it's necessary.'

“The President should listen to his military commanders.

"I look forward to debating these concerns in committee and on the floor in the coming weeks and I call upon Congress to make this a priority in the coming days."

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, whose district includes Tinker Air Force Base and Fort Sill, called the president’s request “long overdue.”

Cole, who sits on the Appropriations subcommittee that approves military spending, said, “I continue to support a sustained military effort to destroy these terrorists, but I am concerned that the Administration will try to 'nickel and dime' this critical mission.

“The president must understand that destroying ISIL calls for unwavering, sustained use of overwhelming force. With such a dangerous enemy at hand, we cannot afford to hesitate or fail to consider all the possible military assets.

"Because the president prematurely and unwisely withdrew troops from Iraq, ISIL's mobilization was encouraged rather than thwarted. In order to secure the area once again, the Administration has now had to reintroduce combat units that arguably shouldn't have left in the first place. In the meantime, the enemy has grown stronger and is much more difficult to defeat.

"While I agree with the president's objective to combat ISIL, I have never accepted that he has the authority to act without congressional authorization. I have argued for many months that he should consult Congress before taking action, rather than relying on previous authorizations under a different Administration for different missions, different enemies and clearly different purposes.”

Chris Casteel

Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. Casteel covered the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City. From 1990 through 2016, he was the... Read more ›