Do you remember three years ago, when after a rigorous and robust debate, the US Congress voted to authorize US military participation in the Saudi-led war in Yemen?
That’s because it never happened.
Even though the Constitution and the War Powers Act give Congress the exclusive power to initiate military action, for three years and two presidential administration, the US has been engaged in hostilities in Yemen.
But this week, the Senate will finally vote on a resolution to end the United States’s unconstitutional and unauthorized participation in the Saudi-led war in Yemen.
Whether you think US intervention in Yemen is a good idea or a bad idea, this is a matter for Congress to decide. Before undertaking such a military action the people have a right to weigh in on whether they think such action is justified, within our national interests, and/or morally acceptable.
There are serious allegations that the Saudi-led coalition has committed war crimes, including the bombing of civilian infrastructure like hospitals, schools, and water and sanitation infrastructure. Because of the war, eight million people stand on the brink of starvation, the country is home to the fastest spreading cholera epidemic in history, and a child under the age of five dies every ten minutes. Yet, we the people have never been asked about whether this a war in which we’d like to participate.
Right now, the US is helping to refuel Saudi planes in midair and sharing intelligence for targeting assistance.
We know this type of conflict can quickly escalate. In 1959, the US had just 750 military advisors in Vietnam. Less than a decade later, we had over half a million troops in Vietnam. The very real danger of escalation is precisely why the War Powers Act defines hostilities requiring Congressional authorization broadly.
We need to have a say. Enough is enough when it comes to unauthorized war.