Against the backdrop of U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez’s (D-N.J.) squiring Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu into the U.S. Capitol to slap at President Barack Obama and a subsequent leaking of an alleged corruption indictment against Menendez, New Jersey’s senior senator and Obama’s chief diplomat this morning sparred over the President’s request for a Congressional authorization for use of force.
Appearing in his role as ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Menendez told Secretary of State John Kerry that he wants hard answers on the conditions of an Authorization for use of Military Force to combat the ISIS terrorist group.
“I look forward to getting some answers from our witnesses that will allow us to move forward in writing and passing an authorization,” said Menendez. “But, we need to know what combat operations may be undertaken by U.S. troops on the ground in Syria and Iraq. We need to know whether associated forces that come under this agreement could include forces affiliated with ISIL in Libya, Nigeria or elsewhere. We need to know whether a new Administration could revert to relying on 2001 AUMF in three years if this AUMF, if passed, were to expire and we need to know how long we expect to be there and what our exit strategy will be. What metrics will indicate success or tell us it’s time to bring troops home?”
Menendez pointedly noted his opposition in the House of Representatives to the 2001 war resolution that mired the United States in Iraq. Kerry, then a U.S. Senator, backed that war resolution 14 years ago.
“This is not 2001 but 2015,” Kerry said in response. “I hope we believe there is an overwhelming consensus that DAESH needs to be stopped. We simply cannot allow this group of murderers and thugs to achieve their ambition.”