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Editorial: Authorization of force against ISIS more urgent than ever

BY DI EDITORIAL BOARD | FEBRUARY 11, 2015 5:00 AM

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ISIS has killed yet another American hostage: Kayla Mueller, who had been held captive by Islamic militants for more than 18 months and has died under unclear circumstances.

Like the previously slain Peter Kassig, Mueller worked in Syria, assisting with humanitarian work.

In November 2014, the Daily Iowan Editorial Board stated the opinion that ISIS is representative of a national-security threat against the lives of Americans both at home and abroad, and because of this threat, greater force should be deployed to combat the terrorist organization.

This belief has not changed.

It is clear from the repeated killings of Americans by ISIS militants that further action must be taken to prevent further bloodshed from occurring. It is time for Congress to bring this issue to the floor for President Obama to issue a formal Authorization to Use Military Force.

If action is not taken by Congress to deploy new authority against the terrorist regime, more Americans could suffer unnecessary deaths; White House spokesman Josh Earnest has stated that there are more American hostages being held in the region.

An important step in doing issuing such an authorization will be for Republicans and Democrats to work together to reach a conclusive plan of attack that is cohesive with what the administration is seeking. What that all will entail will be ultimately left to be determined through discussions on the floor. The final text of such an agreement is still being drafted, and as of now, lawmakers expect a vote to take place in March.

The process in writing these sorts of agreements is not known for its expediency. It’s important, however, that Congress move uncharacteristically fast to pass this measure, because the chance of death for American hostages grows each day.

In addition to those being held captive, justice must be served for the previous killings, which consisted of American journalists and humanitarians.

U.S. policy is to never make ransom payments for American hostages, nor is it the policy to negotiate with terrorists. Because of this, it is imperative that controlling the reach of ISIS’ continued violence be done with an effective military strategy.

A reason for hesitation is the potential opening up of a Pandora’s box that could escalate to another long, major war. This is a concern, especially given that Obama has made it a point to reduce U.S. involvement in the Middle East during his term.

Specific restrictions and parameters must be outlined in the bill in Congress to curtail the prolonged effects of military action abroad. It is clear that ISIS presents a threat to U.S. hostages, but that would also be the case for U.S. military forces if and when they are deployed.


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