The 1991 and 2002 AUMFs—which passed 32 and 21 years ago, respectively—authorized the use of force for the Gulf and Iraq wars, but Congress has failed to repeal these AUMFs to prevent potential misuse by future presidents. Repeal would also enhance the relationship the United States now has with a sovereign, democratic Iraq, now a key partner in the Middle East.
The vast majority of military actions overseas rely on the 2001 AUMF for approval. In the rare occasions that presidents have cited the 2002 AUMF—like the 2014 airstrikes in Syria or 2020 killing of Qassem Soleimani—it was in combination with other legal authorities. Thus, the Iraq War AUMF is legally irrelevant for any modern operations and allowing it to stay on the books allows for future abuse. Too often, the Executive Branch interprets congressional authorizations in a way that maximizes executive power while minimizing congressional responsibility. This is contrary to Congress’s constitutional role of deciding when the country goes to war.
Urge your Representative to repeal the Iraq War AUMFs.