It is a small bit aggravating that the two predominant takeaways in the mainstream media from Obama’s speech last night were 1). his statement about ISIL not being true Islam and 2). whether or not it is true that the President does indeed have the executive authority to take unilateral action.
The first issue perpetuates the political narrative that Obama is radically different than Bush in that either he is working for the world’s victims of “intolerance” (if you are a liberal) or he is secretly a Muslim (if you are a neoconservative). But that is not the issue politically. Our theological and philosophical debates should cover such an issue, and end with a proclamation of the gospel. But whether or not ISIL is acting consistently with the Koran should not take away from sheer stupidity of involving ourselves once again in Iraq. And it should not be ignored that Obama expressly announced his adherence to the Bush Doctrine (http://reformedlibertarian.com/favorites/obama-continues-the-bush-doctrine/).
As for the second issue, the Official Debate is flawed. The answer should be a clear “no” (Constitution: Article I, Section 8, Clause 11). But the debate is being centered around whether or not Obama can use the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force which allowed Executive use of forces against groups with nexus to al Qaeda or associated forces of al Qaeda. It is well known that ISIL came from al Qaeda, but the absurdly narrow debate now concerns whether ISIL is close enough to al Qaeda to warrant an attack without Congressional approval. The whole debate is completely missing the point that only the Congress can declare war. In short, the US Government writes new laws every year, and then argues over the applicably of those laws; and they do this in the name of trying to uphold the rule of law.
The most frightening part of the speech was his emphasis that “wherever [ISIL] is found” in the world, there we would go. This is nothing short of a promise to invade the world, to spread the militarism of the United States empire to every single corner of the globe, to play God by pretending to be omnipotent and omniscient. This is Progressive Imperialism at its most sinister.