Why is it so difficult for Congress to end the war?

It will be March mark 20 years after the US launched the invasion of Iraq, and with it a wave of disastrous choices that continue to plague American foreign policy. President George W. Bush took over a month to declare victory over Saddam Hussein’s forces and announce the continuation of the reconstruction mission.

But the end of the war was not really the end of the war. This is true in the context of Iraq, where the US occupation helped to increase Almost nine years of post-Saddam violence and instability. This was also procedurally true; To date, Congress has not repealed it approval It was passed in 2003 to allow the president to invade Iraq.

Lawmakers in the House and Senate on Thursday introduced A bill to roll back that measure, the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), as well as the 1991 AUMF, which authorized US participation in the Gulf War. “The 1991 and 2002 AUMFs are no longer necessary, serve no operational purpose, and run the risk of potential abuse.” said Sen. Tim Kaine (D–Va.), one of the bill’s sponsors. Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.), the other sponsor, has been added that “Congress must do its job and take seriously the decision not only to commit America to war, but to affirmatively say that we are no longer at war.”

This isn’t the first time lawmakers have tried to roll back AUMFs But efforts to repeal the 1991 and 2002 AUMFs—as well as the never-used 1957 AUMF, which authorized actions against the communist threat in the Middle East, and constantly used The 2001 AUMF, which authorized actions against any party involved in the 9/11 attacks—was never completed. It proved easy for Congress to relinquish the war power; It is very difficult to recover them.

AUMFs allow the president to take military action without first asking Congress, which is the only agency allowed Declaring war according to the constitution. Congress did not formally declare war Over 80 years. WOr still, it is Pass the law Gives the president more discretion in military conduct, with less emphasis on proper oversight. AUMFs have served as blank checks that shield the president from liability for military misadventures.

The threats that motivated those emergency powers in the first place are largely gone. The Gulf War is long over, Saddam Hussein is long dead, and the Soviet Union is no longer there to wreak communist havoc in the Middle East. Yet, withdrawal efforts always stalled.

For lawmakers, repealing the 1991 and 2002 AUMFs should be a political slam dunk. The AUMF does not the only Statutory basis for current US military action (and the 1991 AUMF has not been used since the Gulf War). Even if lawmakers are reluctant to engage in a broader debate over congressional war powers and the president’s overreach in conflict, repealing the toothless AUMF does. look at As they are dealing with these issues.

The measures remain on the books, though, ripe for potential abuse. Presidents have used the broad phrasing of the 2001 AUMF justification Military operations in at least 19 countries. Given the ongoing use of this AUMF, lawmakers are far less willing to deal with it than others. The 2002 AUMF was much shorter footprintAnd it wasn’t the only endorsement behind any military action since the end of the Iraq war in 2011.

AUMFs dilute Congress’s own say in American foreign policy by redistributing so much war-making power to the president. But some lawmakers are still trying to give up more. Last May, former Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) introduced AUMF legislation that would allow the president to send US troops to Ukraine. And in January, Reps. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) and Mike Waltz (R-Fla.) introduced An AUMF would be that allowed President to use military force against Mexican drug cartels.

Even as some lawmakers seek to officially end the war, their colleagues are pushing for the president’s power to enter new ones. It is ultimately the American people who are to lose When it is no longer necessary for the president to make the case for military force and face the subsequent political costs.