Veterans group calls for repeal of decades-old Iraq War authorization as historic anniversary nears
ARLINGTON, Va.—Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) on Wednesday applauded senators for supporting Sens. Tim Kaine and Todd Young’s bill, S. 316, which would repeal the outdated 1991 and 2002 Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMF) in today’s mark-up session of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Russ Duerstine, CVA’s Executive Director, had this to say about the measure:
“As we approach the 20th anniversary of the Iraq War, Congress has an opportunity for an historic course correction in U.S. foreign policy. The outdated Iraq AUMFs targeted a long-deposed regime that no longer exists. By repealing these authorizations, Congress can begin to turn the page on decades of flawed strategy and unnecessary war in the Middle East, while removing the possibility that these AUMFs might be abused in the future to take America to war again without congressional approval.
Repealing the Iraq AUMFs would be the first time Congress has rescinded a war authorization since the end of the Vietnam War. It’s past time for Congress to fulfill its constitutional duty in matters of where, when, and why we send American troops to sacrifice in defense of our country. Supporting Sens. Kaine’s and Young’s bill is a historic step in that direction.”
The obsolete 1991 and 2002 AUMFs were originally intended to target the government of Saddam Hussein and are long disconnected from our current strategic challenges. Congress can safely repeal these authorizations immediately, as they are not the sole legal basis for any ongoing deployments.
Passing S. 316 would be a historic step—the first time in over 50 years that Congress has rescinded an Authorization for Use of Military Force, since it repealed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in 1971 to help end the Vietnam War. Repealing the Iraq authorizations would begin to restore Congress’ role in matters of war and peace, and force more congressional debate over when, if, and most importantly, why we send American troops into harm’s way. As policymakers and the American people take stock of the mistakes of the past twenty years of U.S. foreign policy in Iraq and the Middle East, repealing these outdated authorizations is the first step in turning the page on the legacy of the Global War on Terror era.
CVA has been working to repeal outdated AUMFs for years, making it a priority for its grassroots and advocacy efforts in its annual policy agendas (2019, 2020, 2021, 2022).
Last Congress, CVA led a coalition in sending a letter to members of Congress urging support of a bipartisan resolution introduced by Sens. Kaine and Young to repeal the 1991 & 2002 AUMFs, which S. 316 replicates. The group was joined on the letter by Defense Priorities Initiative, FreedomWorks, and the R Street institute.
CVA has been staunch in its support of lawmakers who have taken a principled stand and worked to repeal these measures in the past. In 2019, CVA welcomed the addition of the bipartisan War Powers Caucus to Congress, applauding lawmakers for prioritizing the issue. CVA also launched a digital ad campaign thanking lawmakers for standing against endless war, praising lawmakers for voting to ensure proper Congressional input before any offensive military force against Iran.
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