The Hill: Bipartisan bills would repeal authorization of Gulf, Iraq wars

THE HILL, BRAD DRESS

Two bipartisan bills introduced on Thursday would repeal the war authorizations for the Gulf War in Kuwait in the early ’90s and for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, both of which remain on the books years after the U.S. military withdrew troops from the Middle Eastern nations.

The pieces of legislation would formally repeal the 1991 authorization for the Gulf War and the 2002 authorization for the Iraq War to prevent a future president from exploiting them, while also reasserting the role of Congress in deciding when to send troops to battle, both senators and House members said in a press release.

The bill was introduced by Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Todd Young (R-Ind.) in the Senate. In the House, Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Chip Roy (R-Texas), Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) and Tom Cole (R-Okla.) introduced paired legislation.

Kaine said the war authorizations are “no longer necessary, serve no operational purpose, and run the risk of potential misuse.”

“Congress is responsible for both declaring wars and ending them because decisions as important as whether or not to send our troops into harm’s way warrant careful deliberation and consensus,” the senator said in a statement.

Previous legislation to repeal the war authorizations were introduced by Kaine and Young in 2019 and 2021. Also in 2021, the House voted to repeal the war authorizations, but the measure got snagged up that year in the Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he supports the new legislation from Kaine and Young.

“The Iraq war has been over for more than a decade. Saddam Hussein is no longer around; his regime has long been removed,” Schumer said in a statement. “Every year we keep this authorization to use military force on the books is another chance for a future President to abuse or misuse it.

“War powers belong squarely in the hands of Congress,” Schumer continued, “and that implies that we have a responsibility to prevent future presidents from hijacking this [authorization] to bumble us into a new war.”

The U.S. launched Operation Desert Storm in 1991 after Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein invaded neighboring Kuwait, an oil-rich nation. American troops liberated Kuwait within 100 hours of the ground offensive.

In 2003, the U.S. invaded Iraq and quickly toppled Hussein from power, but kept troops in the country to fight extremists until former President Obama announced a withdrawal in 2011.

Despite Obama announcing an end to the Iraq War, and with the Gulf War decades in the past, both war authorizations remain on the books.

Young noted that Iraq is now “a strategic partner of the United States in advancing the security and stability of the Middle East.”

“Sadly, according to these laws that are still on the books, Iraq is still technically an enemy of the United States,” Young said in a statement. “This inconsistency and inaccuracy should be corrected.”

“Congress must do its job and take seriously the decision to not just commit America to war, but to affirmatively say that we are no longer at war,” the senator added.

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