The Senate is on track to repeal the authorizations for the use of military force against Iraq. The bipartisan measure led by Sens. Todd Young, R-Ind., and Tim Kaine, D-Va., will undo AUMFs approved in 1991 and 2002 for the Gulf War and invasion of Iraq.
The sponsors said repealing the AUMFs will not impact any current military action.
“However, leaving these authorities on the books creates an opportunity for abuse by the executive branch and bypasses Congress on the most important issue we consider as a body, which is how and when we send our men and women in uniform into harm’s way,” Sen. Young said.
The White House supports the repeal, and the House of Representatives is also working on a bipartisan basis to complete the repeal process.
Senators said Iraq is no longer an enemy, but rather, it has become a strategic partner. They said this repeal is a message to Iraq about America’s support, especially as it deals with threats from ISIS and Iran.
“Iraq is no longer a force for chaos. Iraq is now a force for regional stability and the U.S. is their partner of choice,” Sen. Kaine said.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin visited Iraq two weeks ago and pledged America’s continued support for the fight against ISIS. About 2,500 U.S. troops are stationed in Iraq at the invitation of the Iraqi government. Austin said American troops will remain there in a non-combat, advise, assist and enable role. The Defense Secretary thanked Iraq’s Prime Minister and Defense Minister for their pledge to protect the troops who are stationed there.
“We’re focused on the mission of defeating Daesh (ISIS), and we are here for no other purpose, and threats or attacks on our forces only undermine that mission,” Austin said during a Mar. 7 speech in Baghdad.