The US Senate voted Wednesday in favor of a legislative text repealing legislation that gave permission to launch two wars in Iraq, 20 years after US forces invaded to remove Saddam Hussein.
The text, which gain the support of both the Republican and Democrat parties, abolishes the Authorization to Use Military Force issued in 2002, a legislation that enabled then-President George W. Bush to invade Iraq.
The text also cancels the 1991 version of this legislation, which enabled then-president George H.W. Bush to launch the first Iraq war in response to Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait.
“The United States, Iraq and the entire world have changed since 2002, and the time has come for legal texts to keep pace with those changes,” Senate Democrat Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said.
Schumer stressed that these two authorizations to use military force are longer than the period specified for them.
Revocation of these authorizations won’t harm our servicemen abroad and won’t impede our ability to keep Americans safe.
66 members of the House voted in favor of repealing the legislation against 30, and 18 Republican members supported the initiative, which was led by Democrats.
US President Joe Biden pledged to sign the legislation if it was referred to him, but passing the text in the House of Representatives, where the majority is Republican, seems more complicated.
In response to a question posed to him recently by the NBC News, Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy didn’t want to commit to a vote to revoke the two permissions, and said, “I’ll have to look first at what the bill they are putting forward leads to”.
The revocation of the authorization issued in 2002 is more controversial than the 1991 version, given that the most recent authorization was used to justify several military operations in Iraq after the end of the war, such as in response to militias allied to Iran.
The reliance on this permission was indicated in an operation carried out by the United States in Baghdad in January 2020 to assassinate the commander of the Quds Force in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Qassem Soleimani, on the orders of the President at the time, Donald Trump.
The legislation doesn’t revoke the authorization given in 2001 to invade Afghanistan, which granted successive presidents wide-ranging powers to use military force against al Qaeda and affiliated groups in Syria, Yemen, Somalia and other parts of Africa.
Until the last American combat forces left Iraq in 2011, about 4,500 American soldiers were killed in Mesopotamia, noting that the war resulted in the death of more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians, according to the “Body Count in Iraq” group.
More than 32,000 Americans were wounded, and tens of thousands continue to suffer to this very day, from toxic burns, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other chronic conditions.