American Leadership Against ISIL Starts in Congress

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Media Outlet: War on the Rocks

It is hard to know whether the United States is serious about defeating the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Forward air controllers, no-fly zones, and safe zones aside, the U.S. Congress remains uninterested in passing a dedicated Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) against ISIL. This is a travesty of American leadership obscured by the banality of congressional inaction. The growing consensus in Washington holds that President Obama’s current path is unlikely to defeat ISIL any time soon. This view is warranted, but as pressure mounts to “do more” against the group, we should be very wary of a course of action that asks American men and women to take risks with their lives while members of Congress refuse even to risk a debate and vote about using force against the group.


Brian Fishman is a counterterrorism research fellow at New America, a Fellow with the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, and Philanthropic Engineer with Palantir Technologies.