I agree with the Sept. 26 editorial “The law of the war,” calling on Congress to pass an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against the Islamic State.
Such legislation must not be an authorization to use some military force. Artificial limitations provide Washington politicians with political cover rather than providing our military commanders with the legal authority they need. Robust oversight is the guard against aimless conflicts, not congressional constraints on tactics, geography or time at the outset.
Any authorization should stand on its own merits, after lengthy and open debate, and not be a rider to an omnibus appropriation or a defense bill.
Lame ducks, with little accountability, should not make an AUMF the final vote of their term. Incoming representatives will oversee this conflict, and they should bear the responsibility for authorizing it — even if that means a vote can’t take place until January. The commander in chief could devote the intervening period to filling the gaps in his strategy, being candid with the American people and building a political consensus and commitment to see this through.
Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, Washington
The writer, a Republican, represents California’s 25th Congressional District in the House, where he chairs the Armed Services Committee.