RNA - These arms sales were authorized on an “emergency” basis to bypass Congress, though since they weren’t being rushed to the purchasers, Congress still had ample time to debate and vote against the sales. Until that happens, the US will continue to be complicit in Saudi war crimes in Yemen.
Washington is agonizingly slow at learning from its mistakes too. Over the last five years or so in that critical but chaotic part of the world, the United States has repeatedly witnessed the limitations of using the blunt instrument of American military force to win that complicated political, social, economic and religious conflict. There is, of course, no better example of this failure to understand the limits of American military power than its disastrous invasion and occupation of Iraq as well. And yet it is now back to making the same mistake, this time in Yemen.
For five years, the United States has supported a coalition led by Saudi Arabia that is waging war inside Yemen, trying to oust a government made up of members of the Houthi Ansarulah movement. US role in the coalition is significant – it sells bombs and weapons to the Saudis, it helps them pick targets inside Yemen, and it refuels their planes in the sky.
To anyone paying attention, it's clear that the United States is engaged in a war in Yemen. And yet this war has not been authorized or debated by Congress. Its involvement started quietly under President Barack Obama, and now President Donald Trump has increased US participation. And it's not as if US participation in the Yemen conflict hasn't come with serious consequences.
Yemen has become a hell on earth for the civilians caught within its borders. More than 90,000 innocents have been killed in the Saudi-led bombing campaign since the beginning of the civil war, according to the UN. Targets have included schools, hospitals, weddings, funeral parties and school buses carrying children.
More than 22 million people - three quarters of the population - require humanitarian assistance and protection. The country is on the brink of famine and is in the midst of the worst cholera outbreak in the world. To date, an estimated 85,000 children under the age of 5 in Yemen may have died from starvation and disease. In many ways, this suffering is an intentional byproduct of the Saudi coalition, which has targeted water treatment plants, health clinics and even a Doctors Without Borders hospital, all with US assistance.
According to Fars News Agancy, there is a US imprint on each of these civilian deaths. As the humanitarian nightmare worsens, it also provides the fuel to recruit young men into terrorist organizations, which have been able to thrive in the power vacuum created by the war.
It's time for Congress to reclaim one of its most fundamental duties - deciding when and where the United States goes to war. For too long, it has been content to sit on the sidelines and cede this power to the executive branch. But in doing so, it is repeating the same mistakes it has made with regard to US foreign policy in the Middle East in the last several years. It's time to end this disastrous engagement in Yemen, and it's time for the Congress to this shameless war on a defenseless nation.
The United States is failing in Yemen (and the entire Middle East, for that matter) ethically and strategically. America is complicit in the collapse of an impoverished, failed state that has spread the anti-American spirit all over the Middle-East. The US role in Yemen counts not only because millions may die, but because it matters how Americans are viewed in the world. The Yemen war has brought Riyadh and Washington mere defeat and failure and filled the world with hate for the Saudis and their American backers. Even if one is loath to discuss morals or human rights, consider it this way: Withdrawing support from Saudi aggression could save millions of civilian lives.