The Corner

White House Does Careful Dance Around 2002 Iraq War Authorization

For legal authorization for his bombing campaign against the Islamic State, President Obama relied on Congress’s broad 2002 authorization for the use of military force in Iraq, but he wants to repeal it.

“We still would like to repeal it,” deputy national-security adviser Tony Blinken told Fox News’s Chris Wallace on Sunday. Blinken said the president favors a congressional authorization that is “targeted” and “focused” on the Islamic State, though he emphasized that the administration doesn’t need such an authorization to legitimize the military campaign that is underway.

The White House is under fire for leaning on Bush’s 2002 authorization, particularly because on the campaign trail in 2008, Obama lambasted Bush’s decision to invade Iraq and repeatedly cited his own opposition to the war as a state senator in Illinois.

The 2002 authorization specifically mentioned Saddam Hussein and did not mention the Islamic State, but Blinken argued it applies to both.