President who vowed to end war now seeks sweeping power to expand it

President who vowed to end war now seeks sweeping power to expand it

Secretary of State John F. Kerry told Congress Tuesday that President Obama wants expansive war powers to pursue the Islamic State terrorists wherever and however he deems necessary, stunning lawmakers by requesting a war authorization that would even allow the Pentagon to commit American combat troops to the fight.

Though Mr. Obama doesn’t want combat troops, he won’t have Congress tie his hands against unforeseen directions the war could take should the Islamic State evolve, expand its fight to other countries or prove more difficult to rout, Mr. Kerry said.

“I don’t think anybody wants to get into a long-term ground operation here. But we also don’t want to hamstring the generals and the commanders in the field and the president, who’s commander in chief, from their ability to be able to make some decision they need to make,” Mr. Kerry told the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

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