While President Obama dithers, Congress needs to act against ISIS. House and Senate leaders should reconvene Congress this week, and take the unprecedented step of authorizing military action against ISIS and then requesting Obama’s signature. Customarily, a president takes the first step, presenting a draft Authorization for the Use of Military Force (similar to a declaration of war), then negotiating with Congress on the goals and scope. But Obama’s intentions are unknown, so Congress should seize the initiative.
The world is waiting for an American response to the beheading of James Foley and ISIS’s explicit threats to attack this country and raise its flag over the White House. Delay and ambivalence — hallmarks of Obama’s foreign policy — will discourage allies and embolden the enemy. Congress can step in, while sparing a reluctant president from having to expend political capital on war. After all, the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the responsibility for declaring war.