A bipartisan vote in the House of Representatives this week signals an end to a military conflict that has spanned nearly two decades.
Lawmakers voted 268-161 on Thursday to end the authorization for the Iraq War, which dates back to 2002.
Attitudes shift on “endless war”
As the Daily Wire reported, the repeal of the Authorization for Use of Military Force marks a departure from the status quo for the “endless war” that began in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The 2002 resolution preceded the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the subsequent overthrow of dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003. The conflict led to a costly and intractable response to an Islamist insurgency.
Public sentiment has increasingly turned against the continued war, including a number of officials who initially supported it — including President Joe Biden, who expressed support for Thursday’s vote.
As for Democrats who led the push to repeal the war authorization, they portrayed the vote as an effort to reclaim congressional war powers after years of usurpations by the executive branch.
Critics of the initial authorization say it has long been used to justify overly broad military action, leading to unending wars in the Middle East that have carried on without a clear objective.
“One step closer”
U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) sponsored the resolution and hailed it as a step toward ending “forever wars” and restoring balance to the separation of powers outlined in the Constitution.
“To this day, our endless war continues, costing trillions of dollars and thousands of lives in a war that goes way beyond any scope that Congress conceived or intended,” the congresswoman said, according to the Daily Wire. “After nearly 20 years of fighting for this, we’re finally one step closer to ending forever wars.”
Although GOP lawmakers have largely supported the Iraq War, that prevailing sentiment shifted noticeably during the Trump administration.
Some of former President Donald Trump’s closest allies on Capitol Hill — including Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) — were among the 49 House Republicans who voted alongside Democrats to repeal the war authorization. Another 160 Republicans vote against the measure.
Speaking for the more interventionist wing of the GOP, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) warned that nixing the authorization would embolden terrorists abroad. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), however, noted that the vote did not represent an intention to abandon Iraq completely, only to rein in “military adventurism.”