U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called on Congress to approve President Barack Obama’s war powers request during testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Wednesday
«Our nation is strongest when we act together — and we simply cannot allow this collection of murderers and thugs to achieve its ambitions,» Kerry said, noting that the Islamic State militant group has captured large portions of land in Iraq and Syria threatening «the death or submission of all who oppose it» and «the incitement of terrorist acts across the globe.»
Key members of Obama’s national security team testified before a Senate committee hearing in Washington on Wednesday, fielding lawmakers’ questions about the presidential request to use force against Islamic State militants.
Obama last month proposed an authorization of force that would last three years with limits on the use of ground troops, barring them from sustained, long-term offensive ground combat.
In addition to Kerry, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, addressed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
The meeting is part of a long process toward any authorization, which would need to clear both the full Senate and House of Representatives.
There has been pushback against the president’s plan from Republicans who disagree with limiting the use of ground troops, as well as from Democrats who do not want to see the use of any forces on the ground.
The U.S. military has been carrying out airstrikes since August in Iraq and since September in Syria as the lead in an international coalition against the militant group that seized large areas in both countries last year.
So far, according to Pentagon data, the coalition has conducted more than 2,700 airstrikes against targets such as artillery and fighting positions, vehicles and storage facilities used by the militants.
The president has said those operations do not need any new authorization and are instead covered by a measure passed following the September 11, 2011 terror attacks.
Some material for this report came from AFP