Recently Congress attempted to flex its muscle and invoke the AUMF in the Yemen War fiasco….
On February 28, Senators Mike Lee (R-UT), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced Senate Joint Resolution 54, a resolution that seeks to end U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen. Even before the resolution was introduced, the Department of Defense responded with the extraordinary claim that Congress lacked the legal authority to “override the President’s determination as Commander in Chief” and end the United States’ involvement in the conflict.
To catch my reader up on the situations……March of 2015, a coalition of nine Arab governments, led by Saudi Arabia, began a bombing campaign in Yemen. The Saudi airstrikes were aimed at restoring to power the internationally recognized government of President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who had been deposed by an armed rebel group known as the Houthis.
Since 2015, the United States has been refueling Saudi planes in mid-air before their bombing runs into Yemen. As of last October, the military reported that the U.S. had provided over 80 million pounds of fuel, and refueled over 10,400 in “the Horn of Africa region.” (This total includes support for U.S. and allied counterterrorism operations as well as the Saudi coalition’s war in Yemen. The number of airstrikes by the Saudi coalition is orders of magnitude higher than the number of reported U.S. counterterrorism strikes, so refueling for Saudi planes for operations in Yemen likely constitutes a large share of the total). The war has killed thousands of civilians and contributed to epidemics and widespread food shortages.
The M-IC when it heard about the attempt by Congress went into “get tough mode”…….
The multi-trillion-dollar military-industrial-counterterrorism complex (MICC) has a business model for scuttling legislation that would end or curtail the involvement of the United States in military operations overseas.This typically involves leaking classified falsehoods, i.e., a false statement that the executive branch has classified to prohibit disclosure to the general public on the theory that disclosure might damage the national security of the United States (Executive Order 13526). Typically they will purport to demonstrate catastrophic danger or damage to the United States if Congress ends a use of the United States Armed Forces (USAF) in a designated conflict. Leaks like these will tend to fall into the hands of favored columnists like David Ignatius of The Washington Post or Tom Friedman of The New York Times.
The issue is dead! The M-IC has defeated any effort to end a barbaric war that is causing a humanitarian crisis….death, destruction, disease, and so much more….but to preserve their profits the M-IC will continue to fuel the crisis on the Arabian Peninsula…..
In a surprising admission on Tuesday, the head of U.S. Central Command — which oversees U.S. forces in the Middle East and Central Asia — admitted that the Pentagon doesn’t know a whole lot about the Saudi airstrikes in Yemen that the United States is supporting through intelligence, munitions, and refueling.
This is NOT what the US is suppose to stand for…but these days it is all we have.
Update to the update……..
Senate Joint Resolution 54, which would force the end of the US involvement in the Saudi War in Yemen, continues to face mounting opposition from the administration. Defense Secretary James Mattis is the latest to express opposition to the bill, in a letter to Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
Mattis argues that the US support for Saudi Arabia is “non-combat support,” and that without it, Saudi Arabia would kill even more civilians in their airstrikes. This is a bold prediction given the outrageous number of civilians the Saudis are killing already.
Mattis further claims that the Saudis are engaged in a “legitimate exercise of self-defense,” another outrageous claim that other administration officials have made. This is based on the Shi’ite Houhis firing missiles at the Saudis, though presenting this as a pretext for a war of self-defense is preposterous, since the missiles were fired years after the Saudi invasion began.
Mattis does concede the point in his letter that there is no legal authorization for US involvement in the Yemen War, but insists Congress should “not impose restrictions” based on the war’s plain illegality under the War Powers Act.
Exact timing for the vote on S.J. Res 54 is still not certain, though proponents of the bill are hopeful that the vote will come early next week. Those wishing to contact their senators to urge them to support SJ Res. 54 should call 1 (202) 899-8938.
The US War Powers Act requires that Congress authorize any US military operations of the sort being carried out in Yemen. Since 2015, the US has conducted mid-air refueling for Saudi warplanes, and committed warships to the naval blockade which is fueling starvation across Yemen.