In an official letter, President Obama asked Congress to authorize war against the terrorist group that calls itself the Islamic State.
A crucial part of the letter states:
My Administration’s draft AUMF would not authorize long‑term, large-scale ground combat operations like those our Nation conducted in Iraq and Afghanistan. Local forces, rather than U.S. military forces, should be deployed to conduct such operations. The authorization I propose would provide the flexibility to conduct ground combat operations in other, more limited circumstances, such as rescue operations involving U.S. or coalition personnel or the use of special operations forces to take military action against ISIL leadership. It would also authorize the use of U.S. forces in situations where ground combat operations are not expected or intended, such as intelligence collection and sharing, missions to enable kinetic strikes, or the provision of operational planning and other forms of advice and assistance to partner forces.
This request comes after the deaths of U.S. citizens James Foley, Steven Sotloff, Abdul-Rahman, Peter Kassig and, most recently, Kayla Mueller.
This letter serves as the President’s official request to declare full-out war against the Islamic State, also known as ISIL or ISIS. The Washington Post reports that the number of fighters currently combating the Islamic State has risen to 200,000. Nearly a fifth of those, the Post says, are from Western Europe.
If Congress authorizes war, however, the number of American troops present in Syria and neighboring areas would rise. The Department of Defense has yet to say what that number would be.
Neither the DoD nor the White House have released an actionable time table for possible troop deployment should Congress authorize war against the Islamic State.
THIS IS A DEVELOPING STORY. CHECK BACK SOON FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE WAR AGAINST THE ISLAMIC STATE.