US politicians look to formally end Gulf and Iraq wars

Bipartisan group looks to repeal authorisation for using military force in Gulf War in 1991 and Iraq invasion in 2002

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A bipartisan group of US Congress members on Thursday introduced a bill that would "formally end the Gulf and Iraq wars", and enhance Washington's relationship with Baghdad.

The action would reintroduce legislation repealing the authorisation for using military force (AUMF) passed by Congress in 1991 and 2002.

“The 1991 and 2002 AUMFs are no longer necessary, serve no operational purpose, and run the risk of potential misuse," said Senator Tim Kaine, a Democrat.

"Congress owes it to our service members, veterans and families to pass our bill repealing these outdated AUMFs and formally ending the Gulf and Iraq wars."

The wars contributed to hundreds of thousands of deaths, mass displacement, civil war and upheaval in local government.

The US withdrew its forces from Iraq in 2011, and continues to have diplomatic and military relations with the country today. It also has similar relations throughout the Gulf.

"Congress must do its job and take seriously the decision to not just commit America to war, but to affirmatively say that we are no longer at war," said Senator Todd Young, a Republican.

The House of Representatives in 2021 passed a repeal of the 2002 AUMF, but a vote has not been held on the Senate floor. Twenty other senators in both parties are co-sponsors of the bill.

The White House in March last year said it supported the move.

"We are committed to working with Congress to ensure that the authorisations for the use of military force currently on the books are replaced with a narrow and specific framework that will ensure we can protect Americans from terrorist threats while ending the forever wars," press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.

Beyond these two authorisations, there have also been ongoing conversations about reforming AUMF resolutions because of the lengthy extensions of wars and presidential powers under them.

Updated: February 09, 2023, 10:02 PM