U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) issued the following statement as the Senate debates repealing the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force:
“I am opposed to Congress sunsetting any military force authorizations in the Middle East. Our terrorist enemies aren’t sunsetting their war against us. And when we deploy our servicemembers in harm’s way, we need to supply them with all the support and legal authorities that we can.
“Last week, the Senate began debating the potential repeal of the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force. It’s no surprise that Leader Schumer and the Biden Administration would rather debate the history of the Iraq War than grapple with their own recent foreign policy failures. But the 2002 AUMF bears directly on the threats we face today in Iraq and Syria from Iran-backed terrorists.
“Iraq has come under extremely heavy influence and manipulation from Iran. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has spent years standing up political parties, militias, and terrorist proxies in Iraq whose chief loyalty is to Tehran. Our enemies in Iran who have spent two decades targeting and killing Americans in the Middle East would be delighted to see America dial down our military presence, authorities, and activities in Iraq.
“Tehran wants to push us out of Iraq and Syria. Why should Congress make that easier?
“While the Senate’s been engaged in this abstract, theoretical debate about rolling back American power, Iran has continued its deadly attacks on us. Just last week a suspected Iranian attack killed one American and wounded six more in Syria. Some in America may think our war against terrorism is sunsetting, but clearly the terrorists do not agree.
“After a small initial response from the Biden Administration, Iran launched yet more attacks over the weekend, aimed at killing even more Americans. Our President’s response to this escalation seems to have been to pull his punches and let Tehran have the last word.
“These threats are not just a regional matter. An Administration that cannot even deter Iran from openly attacking U.S. servicemembers is not going to be able to deter the People’s Republic of China.
“It appears the Administration kept Senators in the dark about last Thursday’s attack until Senators had finished voting on amendments to the AUMF repeal. That included Senator Rubio’s amendment that would have conditioned the AUMF repeal on a proven reduction in Iran’s backing of terrorism.
“Fortunately, the Senate has more chances to work its will. And this week’s debate needs to be just the beginning of a much broader and deeper look at the Biden Administration’s failed Middle East policies.
“This Administration must change its strategy, rebuild deterrence, end Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability, and protect Americans and American interests from Iranian terrorism.”