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Dem says Obama's three-year time limit for Islamic State war is 'not appropriate


A key Senate Democrat said Sunday that he doesn't support President Barack Obama's request for authorization to use force against the Islamic State that expires after just three years.

"I think the resolution for three years a time limit is not appropriate," Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) said on Meet the Press. "We don't want to send a signal to the world that we're there for just so many years. Unfortunately, this battle is going to take a long time."

Reed is the top Democrat on the House Armed Services committee.

Obama last week defended his request, and said it shouldn't be seen as a time limit on U.S. military action against the Islamic State.

"It is not a timetable," Obama said. "It is not announcing that the mission is completed at any given period. What it is saying is that Congress should revisit the issue at the beginning of the next president's term."

Still, Reed said U.S. military action against the Islamic State will depend on a range of factors, including what kind of political and military opposition can be created in Syria. Most agree that building up Syria's capacity to fight the terrorist group will take several years.

"So, this is not months," Reed said. "I think we would be better off having a resolution that did not have a specific time limit."

Obama's request to use military forced against the Islamic State came under criticism last week, most importantly for its language that would prevent any "enduring" use of ground forces. Several Republicans have said that language would only put limits on the military, when they should instead be free to fight the group in any way it deems to be most effective.

Last week, a retired Army lieutenant general strongly urged a Senate committee not to approve Obama's request for this reason.

But Reed said he supports this part of Obama's plan.

"I do think, though, it does make sense to indicate very strongly that our engagement would be limited in terms of American military personnel," he said. "And that, I think, is included within the resolution."

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