Senate to hold key vote on repealing Iraq war authorizations

Washington – The Senate will hold a key procedural vote Thursday on a measure that would repeal the legal justifications used to invade Iraq in 1991 and 2003, nearly 20 years to the day the U.S. toppled the dictator. launched his “shock and awe” campaign to topple Saddam Hussein. .

gave Bilateral Legislation The 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force, or AUMF, which Congress passed to authorize the 2003 invasion would similarly revoke the 1991 authorization authorizing the first Gulf War. The bill, which has 12 Republican co-sponsors, is expected to easily get the 60 votes needed to move forward.

“The AUMFs of 1991 and 2002 are no longer necessary, serve no operational purpose, and are prone to potential abuse,” said Sen. Tim Kaine, Democrat of Virginia, who co-sponsored the bill with Sen. Todd Young, Republican of Indiana. what, said When the measure is introduced in February.

Kaine and Young first introduced their legislation in 2019 and it cleared the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2021. In the same year, Evan Voted to repeal 2002 approval, but the Senate never voted on it. Attempts to include the repeal in annual defense authorization bills have also failed.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he supports the bipartisan bill and expects senators to offer “a number of amendments” before Thursday’s vote. The UMF is beyond its purpose and we cannot justify keeping it in practice,” he said on the floor of the Senate.

The White House also said Thursday that President Biden supports rescinding the authorization and that doing so “would not affect current U.S. military operations and would serve the administration’s strong and comprehensive relationship with our Iraqi partners.” will support the determination of Opponents of the repeal say it could limit U.S. counterterrorism efforts in the region and affect the ability to quickly respond to threats to national security.

Thursday’s procedural vote comes nearly two decades after the United States and its allies began airstrikes against Iraqi targets on March 19, 2003. From the next day, the ground forces moved into Iraq. The basis for the war was the Bush administration’s miscalculation that the dictator had weapons of mass destruction. Coalition forces overthrew Hussein’s government within weeks, but a series of missteps created a power vacuum that allowed Iraq’s growing insurgency to flourish. More than 4,400 American soldiers and millions of Iraqi civilians will be killed in this battle.

A fire broke out on the west bank of the Tigris River in Baghdad, Iraq on March 21, 2003.
A fire broke out on the west bank of the Tigris River in Baghdad, Iraq on March 21, 2003.

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President Barack Obama officially The war is over in 2011 and ordered the withdrawal of American troops, “a new phase in the relationship between the United States and Iraq”. Three years after Obama’s declaration of war, U.S. troops returned to fight the terrorist group ISIS, and the Obama administration cited the 2002 authorization as legal justification for military operations against the militants.

The United States now considers Iraq an important partner in the region, especially given its closeness and ties to Iran.

“Sadly, under the laws that are still on the books, Iraq is technically still an enemy of the United States. This inconsistency and error must be corrected,” Young said in February. “Congress must do its job and take a serious decision to commit America not only to war, but to affirmatively say that we are no longer at war.”

Then-President Donald Trump also used the 2002 authorization as legal justification. An airstrike killed Iranian military chief Qassem Soleimani. in Baghdad in 2020. Proponents of the repeal argued that the authorization did not authorize military force against Iran and increased the possibility of conflict between the United States and Iran.

A bill under consideration in the Senate on Thursday would not repeal the 2001 authorization to use force to target those responsible for the September 11 attacks. This authorization still forms the legal basis for many US counterterrorism efforts.

The White House indicated Thursday that the administration is prepared to replace “outdated authorizations” with “a narrower and more specific framework better suited to protecting Americans from modern terrorist threats.”

Also a bipartisan group of Reps. Barbara Lee, Chip Roy, Abigail Spanberger and Tom Cole Bill In early February, the House passed a resolution to repeal the Iraq authorization, but it has yet to make it out of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

The committee’s Republican chairman, Rep. Michael McCaul, told CBS News in a statement that “partial cancellations by Iraqi officials are not a serious contribution to reforming the war powers.”

“Congress needs to own a comprehensive alternative. [counterterrorism] AUMF in consultation with our military commanders and the intelligence community,” he said.

Jack Turman contributed reporting.

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