Senate passes repeal of Iraq war authorizations
US senators advanced bipartisan legislation Wednesday to revoke authorizations for the wars in Iraq — 20 years after American forces invaded the country to oust Saddam Hussein.
Both parties supported the repeal of the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) that gave George W Bush the power to launch the invasion, as well as the 1991 version that authorized his father, George HW Bush, to attack on Iraq after Saddam’s forces invaded Kuwait.
“The United States, Iraq – the whole world – have changed a lot since 2002, and it’s time for the laws on the books to catch up with those changes,” said Chuck Schumer, the Democratic majority leader of the Senate.
“These AUMFs have outlived their usefulness. These repeals will not harm our service members overseas, nor will it hinder our ability to keep Americans safe.”
The repeals passed by 66 votes to 30, with 18 Republicans crossing the aisle to support the Democratic-led initiative.
President Joe Biden has vowed to sign the legislation if it reaches his desk, but his prospects in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives look less certain.
Kevin McCarthy, the top Republican in the House, was recently asked by NBC News if he would bring the repeals to the floor in the lower chamber but he would not commit, saying: “I would have to look at what their bill does on start. .”
The repeal of the 2002 AUMF is more controversial than its earlier one, as the latest one was used to justify some military operations in Iraq after the end of the war, such as retaliation against Iranian militias.
Crucially, it was mentioned in the January 2020 US assassination in Baghdad of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, ordered by Donald Trump.
The legislation does not repeal the 2001 war authorization in Afghanistan that gave presidents broad powers to order military force against Al-Qaeda and its offshoots in Syria, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere in Africa.
Nearly 4,500 US service members had died in Iraq by the time the last combat troops left in 2011, and the war claimed more than 100,000 Iraqi civilian lives, according to the Iraq Body Count group.
More than 32,000 Americans were wounded and thousands struggle to this day from the effects of toxic burn pit exposure, post-traumatic stress disorder and other chronic conditions.