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Rep. Zeldin on President’s Request for Congressional Authorization on Military Force to Defeat ISIS

February 11, 2015
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, C – NY-1) released the following statement in response to the President’s request today for Congressional authorization for the use of military force against ISIS.

"The President is now coming to Congress for authorization of force against ISIS. The big question in deciding my vote is whether the strategy will be to actually get the job done with an overwhelming use of force or if the plan is to just give it half an effort. 

The wording of the Joint Resolution is almost completely barren on strategy. I will absolutely support an authorization for the use of force as long as we are operating on a strategy that will be effectively executed with overwhelming precision. The President still has not detailed a willingness to accept that the current strategy will not be enough to defeat ISIS. I will not endorse anything less that would set up our troops to fail. How many American troops does the President want to use? What kinds of troops? Who is in charge and are they being given the flexibility and resources they need? What does "necessary and appropriate" mean to the President? What limitations does the President plan on implementing on his own? Which nations are our partners and what specifically are their roles? 

Congress has a duty on behalf of our constituents and our military to ask these important questions and other questions and the President has a duty to respond with brutal honesty.

There is no need at all for any type of occupation or sustained presence. There is no need to approach this as if it’s a conventional battlefield requiring lots of troops. 

I believe in American exceptionalism and our ability to be strong, resolute and confident in the execution of a precise, overwhelming, and devastating blow. Yes, our military has been overstretched. The conflicts from over the past decade have been costly with American lives, limbs and money, most importantly lives. Birthdays have been missed, holidays and anniversaries. The sacrifice has been great. Mark my words, if we do not partner with our allies now and step up quickly and aggressively, it will be 100 times more challenging if we wait 5 more years. You cannot simply wish this conflict away. Sometimes you look for conflict, but other times, like now, conflict finds you. 

With all this being said, the strategy must be to win quickly with overwhelming precision. I will not ever support sending the world's finest soldiers into battle to fail. That is the litmus test."