Just days before the 20th anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq, a bipartisan group of senators is working to repeal the 1991 and 2002 authorizations for the use of military force (AUMF) against the country. Congress had initially unanimously passed the authorizations for the wars led by George HW Bush, then George W. Bushthe latter having caused an estimated one million deaths.
In recent years, the 2003 invasion has been increasingly shunned by Republican leaders, especially after donald trump prompted his populist America First to take control of the party. Many Trump allies in Congress have cited the war in their denunciations of old-guard Republicans. But the party apparently has yet to shed its neoconservative roots, with the majority of GOP senators voting against a measure Thursday to debate revoking the AUMFs.
The measure still passed with the help of 19 Republicans, including Sens. Josh Haley And JD Vance, self-proclaimed “America First” legislators; Sense. Susan Collins And Lisa Murkowski, two of the most moderate Republicans in the House; and Senator Rand Paul, a quasi-libertarian. All Democratic members voted in favor of the measure.
Paul, perhaps the most outspoken anti-interventionist senator in the GOP, has made his dissatisfaction with the votes of his colleagues known. “It should be easy to remove,” he said, according to Insider. “But some Republicans will vote to continue a war that’s been over for 20 years.”
Among the Republicans who opposed opening debate on the bill was the senator. Mitt Romney, a prominent Trump critic who has been known to join b; Tom Cotton, a conservative who aligned himself with Trump’s nationalist brand; and Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham, who both serve as a bridge between the warmongering establishment and Trump.
In comments to Insider, Romney defended his downvote by arguing that AUMFs are still needed today. “The world continues to be a troubled place, and I don’t want to remove any authority that has been or might be invoked to further our interests,” he said. This sentiment was shared by Senator Rick Scott, a Republican from Florida. “I don’t want to do anything that reduces the president’s ability to kill someone like Soleimani,” Scott told Insider. “That’s probably what matters most to me.” And Sen. Jim Risch, a Republican from Idaho who also voted against, told the outlet he would only support revoking AUMFs “when conditions are different in the Middle East than they are now.” , a sentiment often repeated in Washington to justify the constant presence of the American army in the region.
The White House, however, supports the bill and said Thursday that its passage “would have no impact on ongoing U.S. military operations” and would serve as a symbolic gesture of “the administration’s commitment to a strong relationship.” and comprehensive with our Iraqi partners”.
“President Biden remains committed to working with Congress to ensure that outdated authorizations for the use of military force are replaced with a more appropriate narrow and specific framework to protect Americans from modern terrorist threats,” the statement continued. “To that end, the administration will ensure that Congress has a clear and thorough understanding of the effect of such action and the threats facing U.S. forces, personnel, and interests around the world.”