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Senator lambasts U.S. Congress on Islamic State: call a war a war

By

Reuters


Published:
13:17 EST, 7 May 2015

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Updated:
13:17 EST, 7 May 2015

WASHINGTON, May 7 (Reuters) – Congress’ failure to even
debate U.S. military action against Islamic State nine months
after air strikes began is cowardly and shameful as Americans
fight an undeclared war, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine said on
Thursday.

Kaine, a Democratic member of the Foreign Relations
Committee, has been a steady critic of Congress’ failure to
authorize military force against Islamic State militants in
Syria and Iraq despite a U.S.-led bombing campaign that began
Aug. 8.

In a U.S. Senate speech to mark the beginning of the 10th
month of the military campaign, Kaine lambasted Congress for its
inaction.

“The silence of Congress in the midst of this war is
cowardly and shameful,” Kaine said.

The United States has lost American service members, spent
more than $2 billion, and conducted more than 3,000 bombing runs
without Congress even talking about authorizing military action,
he said.

“How can we explain to our troops, our public or ourselves
this complete unwillingness of Congress to take up this
important responsibility?” Kaine said in the speech.

President Barack Obama asked Congress in February to
authorize the use of military force (AUMF) against Islamic State
after agitation from lawmakers who were worried that the
military campaign overstepped his constitutional authority.

But the request has made little progress.

Obama’s fellow Democrats worry about getting involved in
another Middle East war, while the Republicans who control
Congress want stronger measures than those Obama has proposed.

House of Representatives Republican leader Kevin McCarthy
said last month Obama’s proposal did not have enough support to
pass.

Kaine questioned why Congress “allows an executive war to go
on undeclared, unapproved, undefined and unchecked” and said
lawmakers are either indifferent or “lack the backbone” to do
their job.

(Reporting by Doina Chiacu; editing by Andrew Hay)

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