Boehner: 'It's the President's Responsibility to Wage This Battle'

By Susan Jones | May 19, 2015 | 11:35am EDT
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) (AP File Photo)

( - "Hope is not a strategy" for confronting ISIL, House Speaker John Boehner said on Tuesday, as he urged the president to "come up with a real, overarching strategy to defeat the ongoing terrorist threat."

Boehner made it clear that Congress will not produce an Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) for the president:

"We have one commander-in-chief at a time. It's the president's responsibility to wage this battle. And the president, in my view, is not taking this threat as seriously as (he) should," Boehner told a news conference on Capitol Hill.

"When a major city in Iraq, Ramadi, gets overrun by ISIL, and the addministration says, 'Well it's just a temporary setback' -- it's 70 miles from Baghdad. It's time for the president to get serious about this threat to Americans and our allies all around the world."

Boehner urged Obama to withdraw the AUMF he sent to Congress in February and "start over."

"The president's request for an Authorization for Use of Military Force calls for less authority than he has today. I just think, given the fight that we're in, it's irresponsible."

Boehner said for over two years, he's been urging the president to develop an "overarching" strategy to deal with the looming terrorist threat. "We don't have one. And the fact  is, the threat is growing faster than what we and our allies can do to stop it."
President Obama sent a draft Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) to Congress in February, months after he sent U.S. military advisers to Iraq and ordered air strikes on Islamic State terrorists in Iraq and Syria.

Obama's proposed AUMF would give the U.S. military the flexibility to conduct rescue operations involving U.S. or coalition personnel, and it would allow Special Operations Forces to take military action against ISIL leadership. It also covers intelligence collection, operational planning and advice or assistance to coalition partners.

Last June, Obama sent several hundred U.S. troops to Iraq to provide extra security for the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. Three months later, he sent another 350 troops to Baghdad; and then, three days after the midterm election in November, he ordered another 1,500 American troops to Iraq to train and advise Iraqi and Kurdish forces.

Obama has ruled out U.S. "boots on the ground," but last Friday, U.S. Special Operations Forces went into Syria in an attempt to capture an Islamic State leader, who "engaged U.S. forces" and subsequently was killed, the Defense Department said.

Press reports said the U.S. commandos encountered other terrorists in the raid, and they ended up battling in close quarters, "including some hand-to-hand fighting," the Associated Press reported.

Boehner on Tuesday applauded the efforts of the Americans "who conducted a very successful mission over the weekend."

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