- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 17, 2014

As the House of Representatives weighs voting to fund the arming and training of Syrian rebels in the fight against the Islamic State, Sen. Tim Kaine, Virginia Democrat, says he’s introducing “specific and narrow” authorization for military action against the terrorist group.

The senator’s resolution would sunset the authorization after one year, bar U.S. ground troops except for rescue missions or limited operations against high-value targets, and repeal the 2002 Iraq War authorization.

Mr. Kaine says President Obama has laid out a strong case to degrade and destroy the terrorist group, but has also consistently called for Congress to weigh in on the issue as well.

“If Congress isn’t willing to do the hard work — to debate and vote on an authorization — we should not be asking our service members to go into harm’s way,” Mr. Kaine said.

Sen. Robert Menendez, New Jersey Democrat and chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, has said his committee will work on its own AUMF for a long-term mission against ISIS, and a few members of the House have introduced their own resolutions.

Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the Pentagon’s top general, left open the possibility Tuesday of asking Mr. Obama for combat troops in Iraq if he thought it would help the U.S. reverse Islamic State gains. The White House said Mr. Obama’s position on keeping ground troops out of a combat role in Iraq or Syria has not wavered and Mr. Dempsey’s spokesman said the general was envisioning ways to help call in air strikes, not for military advisers to accompany Iraqi forces into combat.

Mr. Kaine, speaking Wednesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” said the testimony didn’t strike him as all that unusual because Gen. Dempsey was simply taking about possible recommendations. But he also pointed out that his draft authorization would preclude boots on the ground and narrowly define “associated forces” fighting alongside the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

“If we’re going after ISIL, we shouldn’t then say, well, we can go after everybody that ever talked to ISIL,” he said. “So I’m putting in this today to make clear, no boots on the ground and the mission should be limited.”

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