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tv   The Cycle  MSNBC  February 11, 2015 12:00pm-1:01pm PST

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hello, i'm ari, melber and abby huntsman and toure. >> it is the founding margins of our country who envisioned a legitimate role for congress to play in national security issues like this. it is time for congress to step up to the plate. >> we'll hear from the commander and chief in this hour and here is what the president wants from congress. a three-year authorization to replace the 2003 iraq authorization. the post 9/11 one would remain in the books. they say enduring offensive ground combat operations but leave the door open for potential boots on the ground.
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we'll report on what that means coming up. and the term isis and associated persons or forces. that is who the white house targets but it does not restrict force to just iraq and syria. the white house has agreed to report back to congress every six months. now on the hill the possibility of ground troops and broad geographic targets are raising concerns but not from this president's usual critics, it's democrats who want more detailed definitions. and meanwhile, they say congress should not manage an unpredictable war from the republicans. the house foreign affairs committee will hold the first hearing on the president's request tomorrow. but many committees want to hold hearings today. one aide said this could be delayed until june for a vote. and we'll hear from evan coleman on how this would impact the fight from isis and from fred ginsburg on the impact and molly
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o'toole and retired navy commander chris harmer. and peter zion on the broader regional implications and nbc news reporters covering this on the hill from the white house and inside of the war zone. that is where we start in jordan, which has ramgped up the -- ramped up the fight against isis suns one of their pilots were killed there. here we are with keir simmons. >> as the authorization gets discussed over in washington here in jordan they have been stepping up the air campaign. there is talk of moving thousands of military to the border to ensure they secure that border. at the same time those with knowledge of the security situation in this region suggest to me that many of the parties that would be involved with the ground defensive against isis
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are not prepared yet. for example, in baghdad, forces there and the kurdish peshmerga, meanwhile the sunni tribes toward this side of iraq it appears are still in the process of being trained or getting trained for that kind of an operation. and you would want to see a kind of three-pronged attack by all of the different sides at the same time, if you are going to try to successfully drive isis at least out of iraq because other analysis is suggesting now that perhaps isis is stronger than has been previously thought. one estimate is that they might number as many as 200,000 fighters and the associated press said that u.s. intelligence now estimates that 20,000 foreign fighters have joined isis. that is a large number. it gives you a picture of how difficult a ground offensive will be when -- and we assume it
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is a when -- when it comes and therefore might be some time away. >> kier simmons in jordan. and now to kristen welker in the white house. and the president has spoken many times about isis but today is different. why? >> reporter: today the president will ask for congress's approval to use force against isis. the administration has argued that the president has the authority to wage this campaign against isis but they want congress to sign on to this to show bipartisan support and lawmakers say that congress should have a say in this. so the president is asking for specifically, that this will sunset after three years and include the authorization to fight isis or associated persons or forces. it repealed the 2002 aumf which authorized force in iraq. and this is a key sticking point, it does not authorize u.s. forces in enduring
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offensive combat ground operations. the white house has to report to congress every six months. i want to focus on the language there, the" enduring defensive ground operations." that is a key sticking point as congress prepares to debate this because a lot of democrats say what does "enduring" mean and josh earnest was asked about that during the press briefing and he said look he's not going to put a time line on that word, that this represents the president's thinking and this is not another war in iraq or afghanistan, an extended military campaign. but having said that earnest made the point that the president needs to have some broad authority in case there are contingencies and in case there are ground troops that are needed in a limited capacity. now on the other side of the argument you have republicans who say the language in this aumf is too limited and it could tie the president's hands and
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tie military commanders' hands. and you have democrats saying this should be limited by geography. the administration said that the president won't sign on to that. republicans say that is a bad idea as well. josh earnest making the argument that the president needs to have the authority to go after isis where ever the terrorist group may go. so those are some of the battle lines that are being drawn. president obama expected to speak from the roosevelt room in about half an hour from now and he's going to make the case that isis poses a grave threat not only to the people in iraq and syria, but also to the national security interests of the united states. and of course all of this has fresh urgency in the wake of the news the tragic news yesterday that kayla mueller did, in fact die while in isis' hands. ari. >> thank you. we'll check back with you in the hour. and our panel is matt ginsburg and evan coleman.
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thank you for joining us in advance of the president's speech. ambassador, let me start with you and i want to talk about kristin welker's reporting. there is one agreement on confronting of isis and on the where and on the when and what does enduring mean and on the how should combat troops be limited, there is broad disagreement. your thoughts? >> well ari, the president's request, i would characterize it the goldilocks version of a war powers resolution. it is not too hot and not too cold and the fact of the matter is as evan will lay out in far better detail than me isis will claim that it has branches in libya and able to operate and we have reasons to believe it is operating in yemen. so put in a geographic limitation on a war powers resolution is a mistake. so the democrats have to be very careful here about doing that.
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with respect to duration it all depends, ari. the three-year duration tosses this right into the first year of whoever comes in as the next president. and the question really is going to be whether there has been any real success in vank wishing isis in both syria and iraq by then because you can be certain that what the president is doing here is tossing one hell of a hot potato into the next administration by taking this on for three years. so the first year for the president, whoever he or she may be, will have to deal with this. and finally with respect to your next request, in so far as the scope of whether or not we should have boots on the ground or no boots on the ground enduring or not, let me just say we already have 3000 american troops who are supporting iraqi forces. we already have advisers in
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jordan, but let's be careful, the worst thing the president can do is go up to congress and hide the fact that we are already providing that logistical and counseling support right now and to pretend we are not putting any boots on the ground. >> evan? >> i think we have to be careful that we put limits down. and we don't want to end up in another iraq but on the other hand i think there were a number of points that were just brought up that are key here. number one, isis is not limited to syria in iraq. they now have branches in egypt and libya and moving into saudi arabia and will we not move over the border. >> if you want to have a ground war in lebanon, you go back to congress and get it authorized. >> this is another problem. the time element here. we've been now dropping bombs on syria and iraq now for close to what, six months.
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we've managed to save kobani maybe. there has been very little to no other progress made in pushing isis from the key areas they are in charge of. if in six months we made close to no progress with the full ump of u.s. air power and we are not going to put u.s. bootsond ground -- bootsond ground and what will change in six months or two years. bottom line here is the amount of force we're using right now, the leverage and the means we are using to try to change this conflict, it is not working. in six months if you see no progress, i think it is fair to say had awhat we're doing right now is not sufficient. so i think we need to look at the means to achieve change in syria and iraq and realize that right now this is a failing strategy. we need just legal authority, we need a new strategy and another approach. >> and that is the problem on the hill you have senator john mccain who said we needs
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bootsond ground. this is what he said last month. the reality is we need more bootsond ground and we need intelligence and special forces an we can't treat iraq and syria as different battlegrounds because it is the same enemy. and i think most people would agree with that. but with booties on the ground not so much. we spoke with senator tim kaine this morning and he said if we have to use boots on the ground it means regional allies -- partners aren't all in. we've sold them a lot of weapons. what do you think? >> a number of foreign fighters that can migrate and continue to expand the isis capacity is deeply concerning. that is number one. and number two, every politician said the same thing, without more bootsond grounds, i'm not
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talking about thousands, to provide more recognition for air attacks and as evan just said we're very limited. the president said our goal is to destroy if not ultimately destroy isis. the fact is that without a jordanian military force, without the peshmerga being able to, in effect do precisely what needs to be done which is have this attack from three sides including the iraqi forces the continued debate here about bootsond on the ground masked what evan just said. we need a better strategy to get the bootsond ground and then we can't get bogged down on too many boots we do have. >> and part of the letter to congress that jumped out at me was this notion there was a real threat to the u.s. homeland posed by isis. the president writes if left unchecked, isil will pose a threat beyond the middle east and including to the united states homeland.
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that is not something we've heard that much in the past. do you know of a real threat to the u.s. homeland? >> there is absolutely no doubt, there are individuals within isis that are americans or other westerners that would like to carry out terrorist attacks. those who are sympathetic to isis would like to carry out attacks and have done so in other western countries aside of the united states and have not been in direct contact with isis leaders. >> so the lone wolf attacks in paris not direct attacks. >> and isis put out a couple of days ago, in which they denunsy ated they were not responsible for what happened in paris, they were happy and thrilled about it and would like to see more attacks like that but they weren't coordinating it. and there is so much activity by the lone wolves and there are individuals receiving training in syria from isis and returning
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home. and how long is it and when will we expect to see someone to carry out that training in a deliberate fashion on the orders of isis. and look to be fair that is what they are saying. they just released a video four days ago, explode france part two. that was the fame of the video. explode france. so that is a clear message and they are saying the exact same thing about the united states. >> ambassador, it is michael kay. i look backwards to shape the way we move forward and i was part of the invasion in iraq in 2003 and there were a fewee ronous rorz and we didn't have an exit strategy or a political road map. and without the two critical components of the aumf are we not in the same situation now. >> in some respects mikey, you are absolutely right. this is my concern.
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it is a shame that in some respects. president is having to go through his respects through authorization at the time when the strategy to defeat isis is not clear and where the peshmerga are under force and the jordanians have asked for additional military support and haven't received it and the military capacity of the iraqis to retake the second largest city of mosul is very much in question until later on in the summer and where this battle for kobani por or less may have defeated isis but they are still very much in control of raqqa. in some respects, i think our viewers are as perplexed at the strategy. where is the strategy. it is the cart before the horse. >> and with the presidents coming shortly. does he outline it. and staying with us for the president's address.
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and we have the big address covered from the white house and capitol hill and ground zero and keep it here on this wednesday, the 11th of february, 2015. nobody told us to expect it... intercourse that's painful due to menopausal changes it's not likely to go away on its own. so let's do something about it. premarin vaginal cream can help it provides estrogens to help rebuild vaginal tissue and make intercourse more comfortable. premarin vaginal cream treats vaginal changes due to menopause and moderate-to-severe painful
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welcome back to live cycle. coverage after a major turn in the terror fight. in a few minutes we are expecting president obama right there in the roosevelt room. today he formally asked congress to authorize the war against isis. the president has sent his proposal up to capitol hill just three pages in length but
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trust me it will be a page-turner. kelly o'donnell is on the hill. kelly, i want to zone in on this quite contentious issue of enduring offensive ground operations. now we know from this aumf we can authorize special forces joint terminal air controllers and advisers and combat rescue and are we saying that the terms for the ground troops on the ground are abounded and are we talking about a specific set of numbers? do we have any more information over what this clause actually means and if that clause can actually be broken if the situation on the ground requires it let's say, next year. >> one of the things that will happen is that particular provision will be the subject of in tense debate here on capitol hill. looking for differences between the parties on how to deal with that -- with just that. and the president's of that part of his request for authorization is saying that the most popular, if i can use that term ways in
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which the u.s. forces are deployed are included there. some americans understand the need for rescue and special operators and the need for persons on the ground who will help to guide aircraft. those are very different than the giant battalions and huge ground force that meant many americans kind of turned away against the war effort over the many years we saw with iraq and afghanistan. so you see lawmakers who will have this debate and who will ultimately make changes to this authorization, looking at it in two ways. you have republicans who want to give a democratic president much wider authority than that to put other boots on the ground perhaps more traditional combat forces if necessary and you have democrats trying to restrict their own democratic president on this because they are more reluctant to see a longer term engagement of u.s. forces. so politically this is an interesting mix and it gets to the heart of what americans are most worried about but gets at the heart of the great
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effectiveness of any use of military force. the flexibility, which is the buzzword on capitol hill today and how do you define that. to give the commander and chief do whatever the conditions of the moment might be. today or next year or three years from now and also how to keep some control over it so that it is not an unending war which has made americans and their representatives uncomfortable. mikey. >> kelly o'donnell on the hill. thank you. let's look at this from a geopolitical format. with the global intelligence firm peter zeihan and the author of accidental suicide war. and today geography and demography is important and is that providing the reverse effect on syria and what we are
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seeing today. >> it was never a country until the post world war effort and in the west where the regime is and the east is a no-man's land and they have taken control of the least economically viable territories on the planet. so it leaves the option -- the question, if there is going to be a military strategy here what does the winner get? >> that is a good question. as kelly o'donnell was saying republicans want him to do more. the democrats are not so convinced and nancy pelosi said there are democrats still with questions. when you look at the proposal what questions should they ask the president and do you still have about this? >> i try to step back and take the longer view. from a political point of view in the united states the idea that the democrats and the republicans are having a constructive conversation about the details of getting the plan done, i think that is awesome. we haven't seen that in three
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years on capitol hill. from a more strategic point of view, however, we're having a debate about how to go in and take out a group that will require ultimately 20-40,000 ground troops but we don't want to be the ones to send in the forces. and if you look at the neighborhood, the syrians are in a civil war. iraq is almost in a civil war and turkey won't send them in because they don't want to get involved in a civil war. this is a land-locked zone that is not viable. so can we go in and disrupt isis? absolutely. but we lack the interest and the forces and the political will to go in and destroy it for good. that requires troops we are not willing to commit. and we need to tart thinking about what happens when there is some echo of this in other places. because it is just because they've killed americans, well there are many who have killed more and iraq has killed more and libya and pakistan that have killed more and eastern and asia
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that has kill more. are we doing to do this everywhere everywhere. >> and the president is saying let's split the decision here and have a target that attacks leadership and dealing with intelligence and planning and accept support the air forces. so if this sort of small group of special forces can this effectively deal with isis if terms of degrading capabilities or is this sort of neither fish nor foul. because we don't want to send in too many folks but we can't just win a war from the air so does this thread the middle ground or not really. >> it will wain isis but not get rid of it. and the past influences in this rare never wanted to commit to it. you can go back the last 3000 areas, this is an area they left to burn. i don't see how it will be different. >> and we're looking live at the
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roosevelt room and we're looking at the president to come out and speak about what is a historic address, no matter how you feel about it. this is the first time in over 12 years where the president has gone back to the congress by an extension of the american people and said we need to authorize new war powers to go conduct foreign operations. he said not a full ground scale awar. any moment in the president coming out, and in your mind what does the president need today to carry the day and what about members of congress wanting more than what he put out today. >> i don't think there will be a lot of debate in congress about this. there is nothing going on in syria or iraq that anybody is comfortable but the idea that military forces is reasonable. >> what should the president say and how precise should he be here? >> i think the three-year window is great to evaluate how well things are working and if we get
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to the end of the three years and if there is a broken isis there will be a replacement and there is nothing in there that can change that except for an arm. >> and as we wait for the president to come out and articulate the aumf and some of the contentious issues we've been talking about, let's go back to kristin welker. >> reporter: we anticipate the president will make a robust defense for why he feels as though he needs congressional authorization or would like it to move forward with his campaign against isis. le argue that isis poses a grave threat to the people of iraq and syria but also to the national security interest of the united states. here is a look at specifically what we anticipate in additionally to the three-year sunset you were talking about. it will authorize fighting against isis or associated people or forces it appeals the
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2002 aumf and it could have enduring offensive ground combat operations and what does the word "enduring" and what does that mean and josh earnest said that is deliberate and democrats want to prohibit using any ground forces and the republicans say it is too stringent and it could tie the military's hands and tie the hands of military commanders and with administration today said the white house and the national security counsel has been in connection hammering out this language. it is meant to represent a compromise and also meant to represent a starting point.
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if you listen to those on capitol hill boehner and mitch mccome, they have all been on the same page in that regard and saying this is a starting point and where we begin the debate about how to go after isis. so this could stretch even longer longer but there will be a rebust debate about how the president can go forward but he said he does have the authorization to wage this fight under a 2001 pledge passed under george w. bush and he is requesting this official authorization from congress and because it is important to show a united front against isis and lawmakers say they want under the congress should have a buy-in in this fight.
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so robust debate and the president will start. >> we're told by the white house that the president could be out within the next 60 seconds. but briefly what is the mood at the white house from the aids you've spoken to today? >> reporter: i think this is something they have worked on for the past few weeks. this is coming a day after we learned the tragic news that american hostage kayla mueller did die while in sis' hands. that information has added fresh urgency to this fight. the other element that added fresh urgency to the fight, the fact that the jordanian pilot was burned alive. that has in some ways really mobilized the united states and its arab allies to work in concert in the fight against isis. so i think that what you are seeing is a renewed sense of urgency and certainly this is a president who ran on a platform
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of wanting to draw down the wars in iraq and afghanistan. this is not something that he had anticipated or hoped for to be ramping up a military campaign but this is the reality in the situation in which he finds himself. so certainly very serious somber tone here at the white house as we anticipate the president's remarks. >> the president should be coming out any moment now. in terms of timing i know he wants to get this through as quickly as possible whach are they expecting -- what are they expecting in terms of time field goal congress does agree on this? >> reporter: and i had those conversations today. i said is this going to be done by spring for example? can you put that type of a time line on this? there is pressure on republicans and democrats to get this done. they want to show a united front again because of the -- several tragedies, not just the two that i just referenced because of all of the lives lost at the hands of isis. because you have thousands of foreign fighters going overseas joining the fight against isis
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and the concern that they will return back to their homeland and wage attacks against places like the united states. of course we've seen this most recently in paris. so there is an urgency to get something done quickly but will it. and the troops and geography a sticking point. the democrats want it defined in terms of geography and some say it should only apply to iraq and syria and republicans say that ties the president's hands. we should go after isis wherever they may be. so there are certainly a number of sticking points and based on one of my conversations with a senior administration official earlier today this could stretch out over several weeks and it could be even longer. so the anticipation the hope is that this will get done quickly. but again, nothing is guaranteed here in washington. and we always say this it is not done until everything is done and that certainly applies
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in this circumstance. guys back to you. >> we are waiting for the president. he should come out any second. that is the guidance from the white house. and one more question for you, and i'm searching from the information from the white house and can't find this information anywhere. how many soldiers potentially are we talking about? that answer would have a huge position on how whether the congress should approve this aumf? do you have any idea of how many soldiers? >> i have asked. and the white house won't put a number on it. whether it calls for an immediate sending out of more troops in other words will more troops be deployed as soon as this aumf is passed and the administration said there is no plan to change the strategy or deploy more troops in the near term but this opens up the
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possibility for that and that is the key issue here. there is just not a whole lot of specificity in terms of the language of this aumf when you look at the terms that prohibits enduring ground offensive ground operations. there is am biguous words in terms of meat on the bones for numbers and time lines for employing more forces. >> stay with us. we have mikey kay as we await and the white house telling us that the president is coming out imminently but michael, as you talk about the running up to the 2002 service for you and leading up to today, what feels different to you about the mood and the need to confront this threat a different one than as
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we said the last time the president asked for this kind of authority? >> it is difficult. if you rewind back to 2003 let's put aside the motives for going into iraq. very prickly and everyone has an opinion on it. but the bottom line in iraq in 2003 there was no post conflict plan. there was no doubt that the coalition forces were far superior to the sudan forces and we were suckered in a little bit by that because as soon as the conflict phase finished we were then into -- we were then into conflict-building and nation-building. and as it transpired we went in and clinically took out the army an the police and took out the ability to rule -- government. and then what filled the vacuum was insurgency. and we have learned our lesson from that because in 2008 we have something like 150,000 coalition forces an the most
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superior air force in iraq and look at where we are today. so i think we can say that military activity alone, irrespective of how powerful and dominant it is isn't the answer. >> let me take that to ambassador ginsburg you hear mikey kay saying even with force you don't have the trust of a long-term victory and how does the president address that today? >> mike he is right, because without a political resolution of the sunni shiite divide in iraq the area under control in iraq is very much up for grabs and of course the fundamental issue that hasn't been addressed and i don't think the president will address it and that is what to do about syria. what they have been able to feed off the oxygen is the battle against the regime of president assad and this is the problem that mikey just pointed out, we may have a military strategy but in absence of social media and political strategy we may defeat isis but then leave
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another vacuum. >> indeed. bast speak to why the president wants an aumf at this moment to continue doing what he's already doing doing. >> it is a really good question. and i don't know why the president felt that this -- at this point in his administration to ask for that other than the tact that he feels that without the organization the sort of vague, opaque nation in our involvement with iraqi forces and the fact that we may be providing more boots on the ground and it is leaking into the media and there may be hostilities on the ground that may have impacted unfortunately, american troops and leave america exposed on its credibility, may be why the president felt compelled. and here comes the president. good afternoon.
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today as part of an international coalition in 60 nalgss including arab countries, our men and women in uniform continue to fight against isil in iraq and in syria. more than 2,000 coalition strikes have pounded these terrorists. we're disrupting their command and control in supply lines and making it hard for them to move. we are destroying their fighting missions, their tanks, their vehicles, their barracks and training camps an the oil and gas facilities and infrastructure that fund their operations. we're taking out their commanders, their fighters and their leaders. in iraq the local forces have largely held the line and in someplace places have pushed isil back. in syria, isil failed in the major push to take the town of kobani, losing countless fighters in the process. fighters who will never again threaten innocent civilians an we've seen reports of morale among isil fighters as they realize the futility of their
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cause. now make no mistake, this is a difficult mission. and it will remain difficult for sometime. it is going to take time to dislodge these terrorists especially from urban areas. but our coalition is on the offensive. isil is on the defensive and isil is going to lose. these barbaric murders of so many people including american hostages, are desperate and revolting attempts to strike fear in the hearts of people that it can never possibly win over by its ideas or ideology because it offers nothing but misery and death and destruction. with vile groups like this there is only one option. and our allies and partners will dress grade and destroy this terrorist group. and when i announced our strategy against isil in september, i said that we are strongest as a nation when the president and congress work together. today my administration
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submitted a draft resolution to congress to authorize the use of force against isil. i want to be clear about what it does and what it does not do. this resolution reflects our core objectives to destroy isil. it supports the comeprehensive strategy that we've been pursuing with our allies and our partners. a systemic campaign against isil in iraq and syria, support and training for local forcesond ground including the moderate syrian opposition, and preventing isil attacks in the region and beyond including by foreign terrorist fighters who try to threaten our countries, regional and international support for an inclusive iraqi government that unites the iraqi people and strengthens the iraqi forces against isil. humanitarian assistance for the civilians who are suffering so terribly under isil's reign of horror. i want to thank vice president
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biden and secretary kerry and hagel and depsy in their leadership in advancing our strategy even as we meet this challenge in iraq and syria, we agree that one of the weapons against terrorists like isil a critical part of the strategy is the values we have here at home. and the best about dotes to the ideology that try to recruit people to violent extremism is as adverse to the society of all people including people of all faiths. the resolution we've submitted today does not call for the deployment of u.s. ground combat forces to iraq or syria. it is not the authorization of another ground war like afghanistan or iraq. the 2600 american troops in iraq today, largely serve on bases. and yes, they face the risks that come with service in any dangerous environment. but they do not have a combat
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mission. they are focused on training iraqi forces including kurdish forces. as i've said before i'm convinced that the united states should not deg dragged back into -- get dragged to another ground war in the middle east. that is not in our national security interest and it is not necessary for us to defeat isil. local forcesond ground who know their countries best are best positioned to take the ground fight to isil and that is what they are doing. at the same time this resolution strikes the necessary balance by giving us the flexibility we need for unforeseen circumstances. for example, if we had actionable intelligence about a gathering of isil leaders, and our partners didn't have the capacity to get them i would be prepared to order our special forces to take action because i will not allow these terrorists to have favor.
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so we need flexibility and we have to be careful and deliberate and there is no heavier decision that asking the men and women in uniform to risk their lives on our behalf. as commander and chief, i will only ask our troops to put their lives in the way when it is for national security. and finally this repeals the 2002 authorization of force for the invasion of iraq and limits this new organization to three years. i do not believe america's interests are served by endless war or by remaining on a perpetual war footing. as a nation we today to ask the difficult and necessary questions about when why and how we use military force. after all, it is our troops who bear the costs of our decisions and we owe them a clear strategy and the support they need to get the job done. so this resolution will give our armed forces an the coalition the continuity we need for the next three years.
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it is not a time table, it is not announcing that the mission is completed at any given period, what it is saying is that congress should revisit the issue at the beginning of the next president's term. it is conceivable that the mission is completed earlier, it is conceivable that after deliberation, debate and evaluation, that there are additional tasks to be carried out in this area. and the people's representatives with a new president should be able to have that discussion. in closing, i want to say in crafting this resolution, we have consulted with and listened to both republicans and democrats in congress. we made a sincere effort to address difficult issues that we've discussed together. and the days -- in the days an week as head we'll continue to work closely with members of
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congress on both sides of the aisle. i believe this resolution can grow stronger with the thoughtful and dignified debate to this advance. i'm optimistic it can win strong bipartisan support and we can show our troops and the world that americans are united in this mission. and today our men and women in uniform continue the fight against isil and we salute them for their courageous service. we pray for their safety we stand with their families who miss them and who are sacrificing here at home. but know this our coalition is strong, our cause is just and our mission will succeed. and long after the terrorists we face today are destroyed and forgotten, america will continue to stand free and tall and strong. may god bless our troops an the united states of america. thank you very much everybody. >> that was president obama in the roosevelt room laying out his proposal for new war powers and saying isil is going to
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lose. the president not calling for more ground troops but more special forces in addition to what we have there. kristin welker is at the white house. what are the big takeaways from what you heard. >> touray the president was defiant in the remarks and say our coalition is on the defensive and that isis will lose and cited the 2,000 plus air-strikes that have already launched but trying to answer that question prior to his remarks, why does he need the authorization. the president saying he wants the authorization because america is stronger when the president and congress stand united. so he attempted to answer that question. and also addressed the thorny issue of ground forces say this is not a prolonged ground war and that local forces will be best positioned to take on the fight at the ground but he also said, look this represents a balance, that it also proserves the right for him to send in
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special forces if that is what is necessary. but again, those are some of the issues that are going to come under robust debate when this does in fact, head to congress. the president made it very clear he was consulting with lawmakers into the run-up of this announcement and sending this formal request to congress. we anticipate that debate will begin immediately. a lot of pressure on both sides to get this passed. however, it could take weeks because there are a number of sticking points not only on the point of ground troops but also should there be geographical limitations to this. but again, a defiant president obama speaking from the roosevelt room flanked by the vice president and secretaries kerry and hagel. >> thank you for that. and jim miklaszewski. how many trooms are -- troops are we talking about here? >> there is no known number of troops for the time being but
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they said we don't need additional u.s. forces on the ground right now because the iraqi military is not ready. u.s. -- senior u.s. military officials say we do not want to rush to failure. and until such time as the iraqi military is in a position to present a viable offense against isis the u.s. military quite frankly, is content on the kind of progress we're making right now there, according to those officials. but the president took a huge step forward in his remarks today. when he said that he would, for the first time that he would actually authorize combat ground troops there in iraq. he said that if in fact there was a gathering of isis leadership and the iraqi military wasn't able to take it out, he would authorize the use of special operations forces the first time ever that he said he would authorize ground combat troops in this battle. officials here though stress
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this has to be a strategy of patience. they say an estimated two to three years at least before the iraqi military is in a position to take up the battle against isis. and for now, as i said the u.s. military is making no direct request to put u.s. troops into ground combat or to increase the number substantially of trainers and advisers. this is going to be a long drawn-out affair toure. >> mic at the presbyterian. and molly o'toole and chris harmer retired navy commander and senior naval analyst at the institute for the study of war. chris, you are an expert on this isis situation. it seems that we are changing to a strategy of attrition. we just talked about a strategy of patience and a situation that will last for years to come if not longer and meanwhile isis is
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having folks join them. as michael kay put it further, the folks in the desert are like you have the watches, we have the team. are we succeeding at appears to me that they're able to recruit new fighters faster than we're all to degrade them. the reality of what we're doing right now is a strategy of containment. it took us 40 years to win the cold war. my assumption is this is a multigenerational approach to warfare warfare. if we are serious about degrading and destroying isis it is going to take a lot more than what we have been doing until now. i think it is important that the american people know this is a long-term fight. what we are doing right now, while effective in the short term is not going to result in the long-term destruction of isis. >> i want to echo another point he made and then go to you,
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molly. the president's remarks are one of the first times the president has spoken explicitly of further types of ground operations, not massive scale, but he would send troops in for targeted operations, if need be. this is a step. he said he's not calling for a ground war, but let's be clear. he is outlining a war authority proposal that doesn't restrict the ground war opportunity as some in congress would like. molly, just give us your general thoughts here on what we just heard from the president. to me it seemed like very brief remarks for what could be a very long war. it seemed prefunctory at times with its lack of detail. >> i don't think anyone should have expected for the administration to come out here
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and give a very detailed speech. i was expecting about what obama just said. it doesn't answer some of the key questions that lawmakers have and thus it is not a really strong sell to the public. to the president's defense -- >> you don't think it was strong, you're saying? >> to the president's defense, maybe in terms of its convincingness urging strategic patience saying that this is going to take years and we're going to be incremental measures of progress that's never been an easy sell in american politics or to the american public. in terms of the absence of detail, i think that was to be expected. where we're going to really get into those details is the debate that's already kicking off in congress and those key questions
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about the limits on enduring offensive operations in terms of the lack of geography, in terms of what happens with the 2001 amuamf. >> chris, this comes on quite a somber day. yesterday was confirmed that one of our own, kayla mueller, was killed being held by isis. another american is being held in the region not by isis, but in the region. hostage rescue is very very risky. it is very small probability of success. moving forward sadly, it is not likely that kayla will be the last one. how do we handle this moving forward? >> this is incredibly difficult. i saw your piece talking about kayla. i respect everything she was trying to do. i respect the fact that journalists go in there. my plea is to anyone who is going into the area. make sure you understand what the reality of the risks are.
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there is no calvary. top end american special operations forces can make an attempt to rescue hostages but it is an extraordinarily difficult situation and a extraordinarily small likelihood of success. once you are captured by isis they're either going to ransom you or execute you. to the rest of the american people out there or westerners who want to go and help understand the risks. >> mention of the iraqi government. no mention of assad. the root cause of why we have this problem, the lack of
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governance. >> even military officials have suggested that air strikes alone won't be sufficient. the state department has emphasized the diplomatic side of this. while iraq may be more clear in some ways those are the big questions in syria. obviously military forces are not necessarily an answer when you have the source of the civil war being the regime of the bashar al assad. senator lindsey graham said yesterday while he thinks the restrictions on ground combat makes sense in iraq he can't support the amuf proposed in the white house because it doesn't address that key question on syria. what will happen in terms of the assad regime? the administration has suggested they want to work towards a political solution. the next soon to be defense secretary ash carter says he believes that assad needs to be
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removed. thus far there hasn't been a strategy presented for how we will success necessarily in syria, what that success would even look like and even the basic question of what happens when the u.s. trained moderate opposition inevitably come into conflict with government forces? >> thank you so much for your time. alex wagner continues our coverage after this break. only one egg with more great nutrition... like 4 times more vitamin d and 10 times more vitamin e. and 25% less saturated fat. only one egg good enough for my family. because why have ordinary when you can have the best. eggland's best. the only egg that gives you so much more: better taste. better nutrition. better eggs.
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the white house finally unveils a war authorization against isis but does the white house really care if it passes? it is wednesday, february 11,
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and this is "now." >> the stakes are very high right now. >> the president said his proposal. >> asking for new more powers in the fight against isis. >> this reflects our core objective to destroy isil. >> this is a real attempt to try to get democrats and republicans on board. >> the debate begins. >> we need democrats and republicans to take seriously their responsibility. >> it is deadly serious. >> using military force to deal with isis is an important step forward. >> you're going to need a large ground force. >> this could turn into a sprawling borderless war. >> there is no strategy. >> it was clear from the outset a successful military campaign to defeat isil will require a multi-year effort. right now, a very very st