Washington – The US Senate on Wednesday repealed legislation from 1991 and 2002 that granted the president the authorization of Congress to use military force in Iraq and whose validity, according to his opponents, made it easier for that power to be abused.
After more than a week of deliberations, the senators decided to revoke them by 66 votes in favor and 30 against, now leaving the continuation of their parliamentary process in the hands of the federal House of Representatives.
The 1991 authorization empowered the then president, Republican George HW Bush, to use military force to expel Iraqi troops from Kuwait, invaded in August 1990. The two chambers called on him anyway to guarantee that before ordering a attack diplomatic channels had been exhausted.RELATED
That of 2002 opened the door for the invasion of Iraq in 2003, something that George W. Bush, son of the former, decided on the pretext that Saddam Hussein’s regime had weapons of mass destruction, which were never found.
The use of force against possible enemies is a power that constitutionally falls to Congress but which was partially transferred to the Presidency after the attacks of September 11, 2001.
“The powers of the war should be in the hands of Congress (…) The Iraq war officially ended more than ten years ago. The reality on the ground has changed since then, and the laws must change too”, said the leader of the Upper House, Chuck Schumer, when the process to submit the repeal to a vote began.
At this time, according to the Washington Examiner magazine, only 11 of the current 100 senators were in Congress when the 1991 legislation was voted on. That was the “most explicit” authorization of war since the so-called Gulf of Tonkin resolution in 1964. , which got the United States into the Vietnam conflict.
After the midterm elections last November, the Democrats have maintained their control of the Senate, but the House of Representatives is in the hands of the Republicans.
It is not clear that in that second chamber its leader, the conservative Kevin McCarthy, will agree to put it to a vote, because in the previous Congress he opposed similar legislation.
In the past legislative cycle, where the Democrats had a majority in both chambers, the House of Representatives gave its approval to two resolutions along the same lines, but these were never processed in the Senate.
Even if these two laws are repealed, another one approved in 2001 to authorize the invasion in Afghanistan and which, since then, has been used by all US presidents to justify attacks against terrorist groups around the world, would still remain in force. including the Islamic State (IS) group.
The debate surrounding that last law is more complex, since some US lawmakers believe it could encourage terrorist attacks and weaken Washington’s position in the world.
This Wednesday’s vote comes nine days after the 20th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. A US-led coalition invaded the Arab country under the pretext of “liberating” Iraqis from Saddam Hussein’s yoke and getting rid of the weapons of mass destruction that were supposedly there.
The White House has given its go-ahead to repeal the 1991 and 2002 legislation. Its final approval, if successful, is seen as marking the “formal” end of the conflict in Iraq and returning control of the use of military force. EFE