From the desk of Justin Amash: When our government orders our young men and women into harm's way, our leaders have a duty to define the mission, set a plausible strategy, and explain why the risk of our children's lives and our citizens' resources is justified. President Obama has failed to fulfill those obligations.
The president boldly claimed, contrary to the Constitution, that he alone can order our Armed Forces into a protracted war. And he left unanswered the basic questions responsible Americans and their representatives must ask before going to war.
Whom, specifically, will the mission target and what, specifically, is the threat to our homeland?
For how long do we expect to put our young people's lives at risk? The administration leaked to newspapers Wednesday morning that Americans must prepare for at least a three-year war, long after the president has left office. In his address, the president did not limit his proposed war to even that time frame.
Who are our partners and what resources will they commit? Will the president stop our military involvement at air strikes regardless of how our allies are faring?
Which rebel groups does the president intend to arm in Syria and Iraq? How do we know that those weapons won’t be turned against us and our allies?
When will we have accomplished our objectives? After we've successfully occupied northern Iraq and installed a more functional government? After the United States has done the same in Syria? Does this disregard the lessons we should have learned from the president’s war in Libya or the previous war in Iraq?
Before risking our young people's lives, the president must analyze the serious actions he proposes our country take. He must engage the public in a frank assessment of the objectives and grave risks. The Constitution and the American people demand it.