Kerry calls for updated US war powers to fight IS

imgSecretary of State John Kerry urged lawmakers Wednesday to give President Barack Obama updated war powers to go after Islamic jihadists at “a pivotal hour” in the battle against the militants.
“Our nation is strongest when we act together — and we simply cannot allow this collection of murderers and thugs to achieve its ambitions,” Kerry told Congress.
He said the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group which has captured a swath of land in Iraq and Syria wanted to ensure “the death or submission of all who oppose it” as well as “the incitement of terrorist acts across the globe.”
Appearing at the Senate foreign relations committee, Kerry as well as Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and the top US military officer, General Martin Dempsey, called for a united vote in favor of a new authorization for use of military force (AUMF) to take on IS.
Tantamount to a declaration of war, the authority would provide Obama political cover at home and a firmer legal basis on which to prosecute the fight, particularly among allies abroad who have joined a US-led international coalition.
So far, the Obama administration has used the existing authorization for use of military force against Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and their branches approved in the days after the September 11, 2001 attacks as the legal justification for going after ISIL.
“The president already has statutory authority to act against ISIL, but a clear and formal expression of your backing would dispel any doubt anywhere that Americans are united in this effort,” Kerry said, using another acronym for the group.

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