President Obama's draft authorization for the use of military force to combat the Islamic State has been on Capitol Hill for less than a day, and already it's in trouble.
Rampant skepticism from both sides of the aisle threatens to scuttle the bill in the House before debate even begins. The problem, as described by several members, including a high-ranking Republican involved in the AUMF negotiations, is that there may be no legislative text that can thread the needle between hawks who want a full-scale military campaign against ISIS; libertarian and progressive anti-war members who want no intervention at all; and members who would approve the use of force, but only if it is specifically restricted in geography, length and scope.
The result could be a failure to pass any kind of authorization, which would simply mean the status quo—and the Obama administration proceeding with its operations against ISIS.
Speaking at the White House on Wednesday, Obama seemed to go out of his way to address Democratic worries about a possible quagmire more than GOP concerns that the language is too limiting.
"The resolution we've submitted today does not call for the deployment of U.S. ground combat forces to Iraq or Syria," Obama said. "It is not the authorization of another ground war, like Afghanistan or Iraq. "¦ As I've said before, I'm convinced that the United States should not get dragged back into another prolonged ground war in the Middle East. That's not in our national security interest and it's not necessary for us to defeat ISIL."