When US President Joe Biden ordered an airstrike against a depot in Syria allegedly used by Iraqi militias in February, he claimed the action was ordered in self-defense, not under a War on Terror-era law, as has been used for similar past airstrikes.
The US House of Representatives voted on Thursday to repeal the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against Iraq. The law was used to provide legal sanction for the 2003 invasion that overthrew Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, but critics say it has been used to authorize other military actions in recent years, for which it was not intended.
The 2002 AUMF built on a 2001 AUMF passed in the days after the September 11 terrorist attacks that served as the basis for the War on Terror, authorizing military action even in undeclared warzones if the targets were from the Al-Qaeda terrorist group responsible for the attacks or were connected to the group. However, the 2002 law specifically targeted Iraq and legally justified a pre-emptive strike in order to remove Hussein from power if it was feared he might use weapons of mass destruction against the US or another target, such as Israel.
Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Thursday the AUMF was “vulnerable to being abused,” especially since Hussein is long gone.
One example given by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who leads the Democratic majority in the Senate, which has yet to pass its version of the…