The Senate voted to repeal congressional authorizations for the 1991 and 2003 Washington invasions
Decades after the US invasions of Iraq in 1991 and 2003, the US Senate withdrew congressional authorizations for wars to prevent future presidents from using them to spark more military conflict.
Lawmakers on Wednesday voted by a margin of 66 to 30 to repeal the two Authorizations for the Use of Military Force (AUMF). The 2003 Iraq War, which was illegal under the United Nations Charter, was launched by President George W. Bush’s administration on the false claim that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction. that could be used against the United States.
“The United States, Iraq, the whole world have changed dramatically since 2002, and it is time for the laws in force to catch up with these changes”, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, said ahead of Wednesday’s vote. “These AUMFs have survived their use.” He added that keeping the authorizations in place creates the risk that a future administration will misuse them to circumvent Congress’s authority over war powers.
The repeal legislation will then need to pass the House of Representatives before being forwarded to President Joe Biden’s office for signing into law. The White House has said Biden supports ending AUMFs. Sen. Todd Young, a Republican from Indiana, said a broad coalition of House members supported the bill, which he co-sponsored with Virginia Democrat Tim Kaine.
“The 4,500 [US troops] who died, the 3,100 who were injured, the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians – what we have to contemplate is the reality that we have rushed into a war,” said Kaine, who was not a member of Congress when the clearances were approved. “This body rushed into a war.”
However, members of the Senate rejected efforts by Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, to pass a repeal of a separate 2001 AUMF authorizing Bush’s War on Terror. This authorization still provides the legal basis for US counterterrorism operations around the world. Pauld argues that by keeping the AUMF in place, Congress was keeping the door open to “War everywhere, all the time.”
Then-President Donald Trump used the 2001 AUMF to help justify a 2020 airstrike that killed Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s top general, while in Baghdad.
Trump’s predecessor, former President Barack Obama, officially ended the war in Iraq in 2011. Three years later, he returned US troops to Iraq to fight the terrorist group ISIS. US forces then illegally invaded neighboring Syria, where they continue to occupy the country’s oil-rich region to this day.