Obama seeks human rights waiver on war funds

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is asking Congress to exempt its military effort against the Islamic State from a longstanding ban on U.S. assistance to torturers and war criminals. The move highlights doubts about finding “clean” American allies in a region wracked by ethnic animosity and religious extremism.

The proposal is included in a recent request to Congress for $1.6 billion to train Iraqi and Kurdish forces to fight IS as part of a $5.6 billion request to expand the U.S. mission in Iraq. Key Senate Democrats are expected to oppose it.

It would exempt the funding from the 1997 Leahy Law, named after Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont. That law bars the U.S. from funding military units suspected of “gross human rights violations,” which include murder, torture and extrajudicial imprisonment.

Obama seeks human rights waiver on war funds