A long-over­due re­buke of unau­tho­rized Amer­i­can in­volve­ment in Ye­men

The Trentonian (Trenton, NJ) - - OPINION - — Los An­ge­les Daily News, Dig­i­tal First Me­dia

If Amer­ica is go­ing to be in­volved in a con­flict, the case should be made, de­bates and voted up or down in Congress. That’s what the Con­sti­tu­tion de­mands.

For too long, Congress has ab­di­cated its con­sti­tu­tional obli­ga­tions with re­spect to war pow­ers.

On Nov. 28, the Se­nate took an im­por­tant step to­wards re­assert­ing this au­thor­ity by vot­ing 63 to 37 in fa­vor of mov­ing ahead on a res­o­lu­tion di­rect­ing the re­moval of US armed forces from hos­til­i­ties in Ye­men that have not been au­tho­rized by Congress.

The res­o­lu­tion, in­tro­duced by Sens. Bernie San­ders, I-Ver­mont, Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Chris Mur­phy, D-Con­necti­cut, in­di­cates an over­due will­ing­ness on the part of se­na­tors across the po­lit­i­cal spec­trum to fi­nally de­bate Amer­i­can in­volve­ment in a con­flict that the United States has long been in­volved in.

Un­der the pres­i­den­cies of Barack Obama and Don­ald Trump, the United States has aided a coali­tion of na­tions led by Saudi Ara­bia as they’ve in­ter­vened in a bru­tal civil war which has rav­aged Ye­men.

Since 2015, the United States has pro­vided lo­gis­ti­cal and in­tel­li­gence sup­port, in­clud­ing midair re­fu­el­ing of coali­tion jets. This has con­tin­ued de­spite nu­mer­ous re­ports of atroc­i­ties by the coali­tion, in­clud­ing the Oct. 8, 2016 bomb­ing of a fu­neral in Sana’a which killed up­wards of 155 peo­ple. More re­cently, an Amer­i­can-made bomb was used by the Saudi-led coali­tion in the bomb­ing of a school bus on Aug. 9 which killed 40 chil­dren.

All of this has gone on with­out so much as a vote from Congress as to whether the United States ac­tu­ally needs to be in­volved in the con­flict.

In March, the Se­nate ac­tu­ally voted 55 to 44 to ta­ble the res­o­lu­tion it voted to ad­vance last week. To their credit, both Sen. Ka­mala Har­ris and Sen. Dianne Fe­in­stein voted against tabling the res­o­lu­tion in March and re­cently voted to ad­vance the res­o­lu­tion.

For their part, the White House has op­posed ef­forts to scale back unchecked war-mak­ing. On Nov. 28, the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion is­sued a state­ment threat­en­ing to veto S.J. Res. 54, ar­gu­ing “the joint res­o­lu­tion would… neg­a­tively im­pact the abil­ity of the United States to pre­vent the spread of vi­o­lent ex­trem­ist or­ga­ni­za­tions” like AlQaida.

No one should fall for such a hol­low ex­cuse. If Amer­ica is go­ing to be in­volved in a con­flict, the case should be made, de­bates and voted up or down in Congress. That’s what the Con­sti­tu­tion de­mands.

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