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Rep. Perry bill authorizes new guidelines to attack terrorists

Greg Gross
505-5433/@ggrossyd
  • Authorization for Use of Military Force's allows for military action
  • The United States has been using a AUMF from more than a decade ago to attack ISIS

U.S. Rep. Scott Perry has introduced a bill that would give the United State legal footing to attack ever-changing terrorist groups.

Perry's bill would provide a new Authorization for Use of Military Force, AUMF, to go after known terrorist groups, such as the Islamic State; al Qaeda; al-Shabab; Boko Haram; the Taliban and Hezbollah, anywhere in the world. It also has a provision allowing for action against substantial supporters, associated forces and "closely-related successor entities" of the groups.

In a phone interview, Perry, a brigadier general in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, said it's important to have clear guidelines considering the nation's sons and daughters will be the ones sent to combat.

"Quite honestly I think it's the right thing to do," Perry, R-York County, said. "Let's just be clear, especially when people's lives are on the line."

The bill also repeals AUMFs from 2001 and 2002 that authorized military action against al Qaeda and Iraq, respectively.

AUMFs: The United States has been using the two AUMFs to launch strikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, but President Barack Obama and Democratic lawmakers have been pushing for Congress to draft a new AUMF that specifically addresses ISIS for more than a year.

In February 2015, Obama submitted to Congress his draft version of an AUMF that allowed for strikes against ISIS, but it prevents offensive ground combat operations and expires three years after it's enacted.

"If this Congress is serious about winning this war, and wants to send a message to our troops and the world, you should finally authorize the use of military force against ISIL. Take a vote," the president said in his last State of the Union address in January.

GOP leadership condemned the president's AUMF, saying it greatly hindered his and future presidents' ability to fight terrorist organizations.

In December, Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham, a vocal critic of the president's handling of ISIS, introduced his version of an AUMF that does not include a time limit, nor does it keep ground forces from taking part.

"It will show our enemies and friends alike that we will destroy (ISIS) wherever they reside, fight them as long as they pose a threat and that we are ‘All-In’ when it comes to their destruction," Graham said in a news release when his bill was introduced.

— Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.