Biden’s Strikes Fuel New Debate on Iraq War Powers

Move to Repeal 2002 AUMF followed by US attacks

Earlier this month, the House passed a measure to repeal the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), part of the authorization surrounding the 2003 US invasion of Iraq. The repeal had bipartisan support, and President Biden also supported the idea.

Decades after the invasion and occupation of Iraq, many in Congress argued it was time to get rid of the blank check to prevent future abuses. Ironically, President Biden followed up this vote by attacking targets Iraq and Syria.

Despite trying to justify the narrative of the attack as “self-defense,” it is almost certain that when it comes down to it, the Biden Administration will fall back on the same vague AUMFs that everyone else uses to justify acts of war.

This is fueling more debate over the AUMF, and what the US is meant to be authorized to do around the Middle East. Many in Congress believe that the answer is something short of “whatever the president wants.”

This has been part of why the AUMFs never get properly repealed, as presidents are generally supportive of changes, in light of the near-constant abuses of power they encourage, but once they take office they prefer to hold off on anything that threatens their own flexibility to abuse those same powers.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of