Sen. Rand Paul is ready to declare war—and not in a figurative sense.
In an interview with The New York Times on Saturday, Paul announced his intention to declare war against the Islamic State terrorist group. His joint resolution would authorize military intervention in Iraq and Syria against ISIS, including ground forces in specific circumstances. It would also limit the authorization of force to a year after it goes into effect, after which Congress would have to reauthorize it.
Policy-wise, and politically, the move serves a dual purpose for Paul: checking President Obama on executive actions, and showing that Paul is not the isolationist his father is. By initiating this action in Congress after Obama has already called for an additional 1,500 troops on the ground in Iraq, Paul is also pushing back against the president's unilateral actions.
"Conservatives are mad at him about immigration. And they're mad about him using executive authority on Obamacare," Paul told The Times. "But this is another example where he doesn't have much respect for Congress, and some conservatives don't quite get that."
And by introducing what would be the first declaration of war to come out of Congress since World War II, Paul is backing up the claim he's been trying to prove over the past six months: that he is a "conservative realist" who is skeptical, but not afraid of intervention.