Congress Should Clarify Goals, Means for Strikes Against ISIS

Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First urges members of Congress to use this week’s series of hearings on the campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to explore how the threat posed by ISIS is distinct from threats posed to the United States by extremist groups elsewhere, and to determine the need for congressional authorities to conduct this campaign.

“It is striking that the administration believes it needs Congressional authorization to arm and train rebel forces, but not to conduct a sustained military campaign against ISIS,” said Human Rights First’s Heather Hurlburt.

Human Rights First has urged the president to respond to ISIS’s lawlessness and horrific violations of human rights with a strategy that reinforces that the foundations of stability are human rights and the rule of law. Those foundations begin at home: currently, administration and congressional leaders have offered multiple and conflicting legal rationales for strikes. The president should work with Congress to ensure that any authorization for use of force against ISIS is narrowly tailored and consistent with international law. A new, all-encompassing authorization for use of military force that does not distinguish ISIS from other terrorist groups or threats around the world is both legally problematic and bad strategy.

“The global public, which has reacted to U.S. military strikes with some skepticism, ought to hear from the administration whether there is an imminent threat, and whether and how the administration believes ISIS is connected to al Qaeda,” said Hurlburt.

For more information see Human Rights First’s fact sheet, The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Authorities for the Use of Military Force.


Published on September 16, 2014


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