White House: Iraq war resolution that Obama opposed could be basis for attacks on ISIS

During the 2008 Democratic presidential primary, Obama eviscerated then-Sen. Hillary Clinton for her vote in favor of the 2002 Iraq War resolution, and in the general election, drew sharp contrast with Sen. John McCain over how to bring the war to an end.

A senior administration official says the White House still supports repealing the 2002 law, and fully believes it can use the 2001 AUMF, passed after the attacks of September 11, 2001 to allow the U.S. to strike al Qaeda, to justify the strikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. But the 2002 law would provide additional legal underpinning to strikes in Iraq—and even Syria—as scholars question the applicability of the 2001 authorization to ISIS, which publicly broke with al Qaeda in Iraq.

“We believe that the President would have the statutory authority to conduct airstrikes against [ISIS] in Syria under the 2002 AUMF in at least some circumstances,” the official said.