By Bernard Healy-Garcia
On February 11, 2015, President Obama announced he was seeking formal authority from Congress to use military force against ISIS. Surprisingly, the reaction was met with wide bipartisan support. But both camps did differ on how the power would be distributed. According to the President, he wants limited use of force, while Republicans want to expand these powers. Some Democrats, on the other hand, go as far as wanting to repeal the 2002 authorization of Congress that gave then-President George W. Bush the military authority to invade Iraq.
Unlike previous military authorizations, this would involve the use of drones; the same way drone warfare was used in Libya against Gaddafi’s regime. Of course this assault comes with a price tag of 1.1 billion dollars. Nevertheless, for 1 billion dollars, it successfully overthrew a dictator.
However, expanding presidential powers and not repealing the 2002 authorization are also a mistake. The government needs accountability and by limiting the authorization of military intervention, Congress can actually debate and decide whether it is in the best interest for the nation to intervene or not. As drone warfare has continued to increase in popularity with military intervention, the U.S. is finally avoiding a pitfall that has plagued the U.S. military for years: sending military “advisors” to troubled areas.
As Kennedy displayed in Vietnam, and how Bush similarly acted in 2001, military personnel were not the answer to combat these specific foes. The advantage of using drones is that the United States will be engaged in military force, but it does not have to fully focus on the conflict. This goes in line with the United States and its role as the “World Police.”
What makes this change different? Well for starters, drones. Drones are unmanned—resulting in a drastically lower casualty rate of U.S. soldiers. Unlike the Vietnam and Iraq wars, where nation building and rebuilding were objectives that became clearer after military forces engaged in conflict, fighting ISIS is quite different. As wars from traditional states and nations are fading out, and wars with rogue combatants increase, such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS, U.S. tactics must change as well. Drones aren’t the definitive answer, but it is a type of tactic that can be used to combat ISIS effectively.
As seen by recent reports of China’s desire to facilitate peace in Afghanistan, China has already pledged to train troops and police forces in the war-torn nation. Although China wants to play bigger role in global security, it will soon learn that it is not easy to be a global superpower. Without having the technology and expertise that the U.S. military does, China will have to learn the hard way: they will finally having a taste of how “world policing” works.
With the U.S. drone policy being introduced, America will be able to focus on other matters, such as easing the embargo with Cuba, and the lukewarm situation in South China Sea. This is why the limitations are key, both on this new policy and the repeal of the 2002 policy, to ensure that the U.S. won’t get too involved or too deep into any specific conflict. These limitations actually give the government more flexibility by giving the military the versatility that it needs to address other conflicts around the world, including the protection of U.S. interests.