September 17, 2014

Corker: Obama Administration “Exercising Worst Judgment Possible” By Not Seeking Authorization from Congress for Use of Force Against ISIS

WASHINGTON – At a hearing with Secretary of State John Kerry on the U.S. strategy to defeat the terrorist group the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), U.S. Senator Bob Corker, R-Tenn., ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the Obama administration was exhibiting the “worst judgment possible” by not seeking explicit authorization from Congress for the use of military force against ISIS.

“[T]o say that you’re going to do this regardless of what we say, you're not going to ask for buy-in by the United States Senate or House of Representatives on behalf of the American people in a conflict that you say is going to be multiyear -- some people say a decade -- taking us into another country with a different enemy is exercising the worst judgment possible,” said Corker in questioning Secretary Kerry. “[S]aying ‘if Congress wants to play a constructive role, we would welcome that, to me is a political game,” added Corker.

Despite U.S. military leaders indicating success against ISIS will require a sufficient ground force in Syria, Secretary Kerry could not name an Arab country willing to contribute ground forces in Syria and denied such an effort was underway.

“At this moment, no country has been asked to put boots on the ground or no country is talking of it. And we don't think it's a good idea right now. So there's no discussion of that at this moment,” said Secretary Kerry.

Senator Corker questioned the effectiveness of the administration’s strategy to eliminate ISIS, urging them to present a plan that can succeed and a responsible way to pay for it.

“I do want us to deal with this in an effective way. You’ve not laid it out in a way that meets that test. I hope when we come back and before you put people in harm’s way unnecessarily…you have a plan that achieves the end that you just laid out…And I hope you'll lay out a way to pay for it…because we know this is going to take many, many years, and it has to do with the safety of our citizens,” Corker said.