Obama faces backlash over war on Islamic State group

February 26th, 2015




The Obama administration began its attempt to counter the actions of the Islamic State group five months ago. Now, with no end in sight, the president is requesting formal authorization from Congress to continue their fight.


According to CNN, this authorization would limit U.S. ground troops to be deployed in the Middle East. The most significant portion of this would allow troops to participate in search and rescue missions for both U.S. soldiers and intelligence officers.


While bipartisan backlash against the president is evident according to U.S. News and World Report,  “the White House previously argued Obama doesn’t need specific congressional authorization to wage war” against the Islamic State group.


Congressional Republicans do not like the limits in place pertaining to the United States’ ability to fight the Islamic State group. The number of ground troops that will be sent and the amount of time spent there are not enough for many lawmakers.


Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), said he does not support limits on the new authorization proposed by the president, according to NBC.


The current state of the divided government does not bode well for swift action. Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) discussed the decision process that Congress will go through in an attempt to reach a compromise.

Barack Obama

“Members of Congress are always torn,” Durbin told The Huffington Post. “On the one hand, we want to beat our chests and say this is our right to make this decision. On the other hand, we say we don’t want any fingerprints if it goes wrong.”


While the president is seeking authorization to fight the Islamic State group, he  must also  clarify exactly who the U.S. is targeting.


At the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism, Obama attempted to make clear the difference between groups like al-Qaida and the Islamic State as opposed to the Islamic faith as a whole.


While the president is now seeking formal authorization against the Islamic State, he has attempted to differentiate the practices of the group from those of Muslims internationally.


“The notion that the West is at war with Islam is an ugly lie,” Obama said, according to ABC. “And all of us – regardless of our faith – have a responsibility to reject it.”


According to ABC, Obama also discussed how terrorists are able to recruit so easily, and “called on countries to address the conditions, or ‘political grievances,’ that terrorists exploit such as human rights violations, lack of free speech and tension between social groups.”


Additionally, Obama expressed his concerns about extremist groups recruiting children.


“Young people are not tapped for hate, it doesn’t come naturally to them. We adults teach them,” he said.


U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry agreed with President Obama, saying it is necessary to promote tolerance while improving humanitarian issues in order to scale back recruitment.


“You have to do everything. You have to take the people off the battlefield, who are there today,” Kerry said, according to Reuters. “But you’re kind of stupid if all you do is do that, and you don’t prevent more people from going to the battlefield,” he added.


Editor’s Note: Information from U.S. News and World Report ABC, CNN, The Huffington Post and Reuters was used in this report.