March 19, 2023

Congresswoman Lee Statement on 20th Anniversary of Iraq War

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-12), Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, issued the following statement marking the 20th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War, which was launched March 2003.

“Twenty years ago today, the United States invaded Iraq. This reckless and unsubstantiated war cost hundreds of thousands of lives and trillions of dollars — $2.9 trillion to be exact.

“Today, we remember all those lost as a consequence of this horrific forever war, and recommit to ensuring such an abuse of power and loss of the public trust never happen again.

“Ten years after Saddam Hussein’s death, Iraq is now a strategic ally in the Middle East. While we cannot reverse the damage already done, we can take action to prevent such grave, costly mistakes in the future. Let’s be clear: the American people do not want endless war. 

“For two decades, I have been fighting to get Congress to reassert its war powers that have been abused far too often by administrations in both parties. With the diverse, bipartisan coalition we’ve built, we are finally making progress. Soon, the Senate will approve the repeal of the 1991 and 2002 AUMFs. I am working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get it passed in the House and to President Biden’s desk.

“It's far past time we put decisions of military action back in the hands of the people and Congress, as the constitution intended. I call upon my colleagues in the Senate and House, Republicans and Democrats, to come together to take back our constitutional obligation to debate matters of war and peace.”

In the 117th Congress, the House of Representatives adopted H.R. 256, Congresswoman Lee’s legislation to repeal the 2002 AUMF, by a bipartisan vote of 268-161.  The Biden Administration issued a Statement of Administrative Policy in support of H.R. 256.