More than eight months after U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine and others began agitating for the Obama administration to seek congressional approval for military action against the Islamic State group, senior administration officials will make their case to a Senate panel today.
Secretary of State John Kerry, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the joint chiefs, are set to appear before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this morning.
After their testimony, the senators will likely begin reviewing the president’s request for authorization legislation that would define the depth of U.S. involvement in fighting the Islamic militant organization, Kaine said in a telephone interview.
Since September, the U.S. has conducted the lion’s share of airstrikes against the group, which controls sections of Syria and Iraq. A bigger question: whether American ground forces should go after the militants, also known as ISIL or ISIS.
Kaine argues that any ground combat – with some exceptions – should be handled by countries in the region.
“If we’re flying over 90 percent of the air campaign and we have a significant ground troop presence, then it is not the region policing its own terrorism,” he said. “It is the U.S. against ISIL.”