Congress Reclaiming Their Constitutional Authority, Ending U.S. Support For Saudi War In Yemen
Dear Friends & Neighbors,
(Please click on red links & note magenta)
Seven Republicans broke rank with Trump, on Wednesday, March 13, 2019, to back the resolution to end U.S. support for the Saudi Arabian-led coalition’s war in Yemen. The resolution passed by a vote of 54 to 46. Lawmakers have never before invoked the decades-old War Powers Resolution to stop a foreign conflict, but they are poised to do just that in the bid to cut off U.S. support for a war that has triggered a humanitarian catastrophe. The vote puts Congress on a collision course with president Trump, who has already threatened to veto the resolution, which the White House says raises “serious constitutional concerns.” in the video “Senate rebukes Trump in seeking to end Yemen war involvement“, below:
Senator Bernie Sanders delivered remarks on the Senate floor Wednesday afternoon, March 13, 2019, to begin debate on the resolution to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. He emphasized the importance of the Congress reclaiming its constitutional authority by ending U.S. involvement in a war that had not been authorized by Congress and was clearly unconstitutional, in the video “Senate Voting to End War in Yemen“, below:
Today is an extremely important day. Today, we in the Senate have the opportunity to take a major step forward in ending the horrific war in Yemen and alleviating the terrible terrible suffering being experienced by the people in one of the poorest countries on earth. And today equally important we can finally begin the process of reasserting Congress’s responsibility over war making. As every schoolchild should know, article 1 of the Constitution clearly states that it is Congress, not the president, that has the power to declare war. In their great wisdom, the framers of our constitution, the founders of this country, gave that enormously important responsibilities to Congress because the members of the House and the Senate are closer and more accountable to the people of this country. Tragically, however, over many years, Congress has abdicated that responsibility through Democratic presidents and Republican presidents. Today, we begin the process of reclaiming our constitutional authority by ending U.S. involvement in a war that has not been authorized by Congress and is clearly unconstitutional. Last December, this body made history for the first time since the war powers resolution was passed in 1973. A majority of United States senators, 56 of us in a bipartisan manner, used those powers from the War Powers Act to end U.S. involvement in a war.
Today, we consider that exact same resolution once again in the new Congress. This time, however, unlike last session, this resolution will be brought to the House floor and I strongly believe will be passed. Let me say a brief word about the war in Yemen. In March of 2015, under the leadership of Mohammed bin Salman, then Saudi defense minister and now the Crown Prince, a Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen’s ongoing civil war.
As a result of the Saudi-led intervention of Yemen’s ongoing civil war, Yemen is now experiencing the worst humanitarian disaster on the planet. Yemen is at the risk of the most severe famine in 100 years, with about 14 million people facing the possibility of starvation, according to United Nations. As a result of this war, Yemen has become one of the poorest countries on earth. According to Save the Children organization, some 85,000 children in Yemen have already starved to death over the last several years…an unimaginable number of suffering and destruction. If this war continues, experts believe that millions more will also face famine and starvation. Yemen is currently experiencing the worst cholera outbreak in the world, with as many as ten thousand new cases each week, according to the World Health Organization. This disease is spread by infected water, causing severe diarrhea and dehydration and will only accelerate the death rate. The cholera outbreak has occurred because of Saudi bombs had destroyed Yemen’s water infrastructure and people are no longer able to access clean drinking water. The fact is that United Stated, with little media attention, has been Saudi Arabia’s partner in this horrific war by providing bombs, fuel, and intelligence that Saudi-led coalition is using. In too many cases, our weapons are being used to kill civilians. In August it was an American-made bomb that obliterated a school bus full of young boys, killing dozens and wounding many more. A CNN report found evidence that American what weapons have been used in a string of such deadly attacks on civilians since the war began. This past weekend, at least 20 women and a child were killed in a Saudi-led air strike on Yemen’s northwestern province of Haja, as they huddled in a house to avoid nearby clashes. As is so often the case in war the innocent, the women and children, paid the price. Late last year I met with several brave Yemeni human rights activists. They had come to Congress to urge us to put a stop to this war and they told me clearly when Yemenis see “made in America” on the bombs that are killing them, it tells them that United States is responsible for this war that is the sad truth. Mr. President, the bottom line is that the United States should not be supporting a catastrophic war, led by a despotic regime with a dangerous and irresponsible foreign policy. Some have suggested that Congress moving to withdrawal support for this war would undermine United Nations’ efforts to reach a peace agreement. But the opposite is true. It is the promise of unconditional U.S. support for the Saudi that undermines those efforts. And we have evidence for this. Last December, as we were preparing this same resolution, we received news that US Special Envoy Martin Griffiths reached a breakthrough agreement for a ceasfire in the port city of Adaiah. And that ceasfire which is being maintained today is enabling food and increased humanitarian aid into the country. I have spoken to people at the highest level of those negotiations who have made it clear that our actions here in the Senate played a significant role in pushing Saudi Arabia toward an agreement. That pressure must continue and the resolution that I hope we pass today will do just that. So our effort on this issue has clearly made a positive impact and I thank all of the co-sponsors of this resolution for their efforts and all of the civil society organizations, progressive and conservative organizations who have worked so hard to raise awareness of this conflict and the constitutional implications. The president above and beyond the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, this war has been harmful to our national security as well as the security of the region. The administration defends our engagement in Yemen by overstating Iranian support for the Houthi rebels. Let me be clear, Iran‘s support for the Houthi is of serious concern for all of us. But the truth is that there is far less significant support than the administration claims. And the fact is that the relationship between Iran and the Houthis has only been strengthened by this war. The war is creating the very problem the administration claims to want to solve. This war is also undermining the broader effort against violent extremists. A 2016 State Department report found that the conflict had helped Al Qaeda and the Islamic states Yemen branch “deepen their inroaods across much of the country”. As the head of the International Rescue Committee, former British Foreign Minister David Milibrand said in a recent interview, ” The winners are the extremist groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS“. Late last year, the Wall Street Journal reported and “nearly two years after being driven from its stronghold in Yemen, one of Al Qaeda’s most dangerous franchises has entrenched himself in the country’s hinterlands as a devastating war creates the conditions for its comeback“. Here is something that should deeply concern us all: at a time when we are spending billions to fight terrorism all over the world, a February CNN report revealed that Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners have transferred American-made weapons to Al Qaeda-linked fighters in Yemen. Does any one here thinks it makes sense that U.S. weapons should be given to groups who have declared war against the United States?! So this war is both a humanitarian and a strategic disaster. Let us not forget that this war is being led by a despotic and undemocratic regime in Saudi Arabia. United States of America, the most powerful country on earth, should not be led into a regional war by our client states who are trying to serve their own narrow and selfish interest. It should not be Saudi Arabia that is developing and implementing American foreign and military policy. Saudi Arabia is a monarchy, controlled by one of the wealthiest families in the world, the Saud family. In a 2017 report, by the Cato Institute, Saudi Arabia was ranked 149 out of 159 countries for freedom and human rights. Is this really the kind of the country whose foreign policy we should be supporting with U.S. tax payers’ dollars?! For decades, Saudis have funded schools, mosques, and preachers who promote an extreme form of Islam Don is Wahhabism. In Saudi Arabia today, women are treated as third class citizens. Women still need the permission of a male guardian to go to school or get a job. They have to follow a strict dress code and can be stoned to death for adultery or flawed for spending time in the company of a man who is not their relative. Last year the Saudi activist Loujain al-hathloul, a leader in the fight for women’s rights was kidnapped from Abu Dhabi and forced to return to the country. She is currently imprisoned along with many other human rights activists. Human Rights Watch reported imprisoned women activists have been subjected to torture, including electric shocks and other forms of physical and sexual assault. The people of the entire world received a very clear understanding about the nature of Saudi regime with the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Turkey. All of the evidence suggests that the Saudi Crown Prince was directly responsible for that murder. Is that really the kind of regime whose leads we in the Unied States should be following? Mr. President, I believe that the U.S. Congress has become far too comfortable with military interventions all over the world. We have now been in Afghanistan for nearly 18 years, longest war in American history. We also have troops in many other countries around the world. The time is long overdue for Congress to reassert its constitutional role in determining when and where our country goes to war. This resolution provides that opportunity and I hope this body will do exactly as it did in December and in a bipartisan manner to pass this resolution. The humanitarian catastrophe has only gotten worse in Yemen and our intervention there is every bit as unconstitutional as it was when we passed this resolution in December. Let us bring this catastrophic war in Yemen to an end and let us focus our efforts on the diplomatic resolution to end that war and let us provide the humanitarian aid needed to protect the hungry and the sick in Yemen. And let us today, in an historic vote, 45 years after the passage of the War Powers Act, let us today reassert Congress’s constitutional responsibility in terms of war making. Thank you, Mr. President and I yield the floor.
Gathered, written, and posted by Windermere Sun-Susan Sun Nunamaker
More about the community at www.WindermereSun.com
~Let’s Help One Another~
Please also get into the habit of checking at these sites below for more on solar energy topics: