Ivan Plis reports on what Rand Paul and Chris Murphy had to say about the Saudis and the war on Yemen at the Center for the National Interest yesterday:
Paul derived the other part of his argument from the Constitution itself. “The initiation of war was specifically taken away from the presidency and given to Congress” by the framers, he said. And more than just a transaction between allies, in Paul’s reading the United States’ behavior in Yemen, refueling planes, sharing intelligence and assisting with targeting, constitutes complicity in acts of war. “We are actively part of a war in Yemen, and I think almost no American knows that we’re involved.”
Fortunately, more Americans are gradually being made aware of this involvement through the efforts of Murphy and Paul in the Senate and Rep. Ted Lieu and others in the House, but it remains the case that the war and U.S. support for it have been mostly ignored for almost a year and a half. That has allowed the Obama administration to enable the Saudis and their allies to wreck Yemen with little scrutiny and even less criticism, and it has allowed the coalition to commit serious crimes against Yemeni civilians with impunity. Between the Saudis’ own indiscriminate bombing and continued U.S. arms sales, the war has become harder for Washington to keep out of sight, and with luck that should mean that it will become harder for the administration to persist in its horrible policy of support for an indefensible war. Sens. Paul and Murphy deserve praise for continuing to shine light on the administration’s policy and for doing what they can to oppose it.
I have mentioned it before, but it bears repeating that the U.S. is facilitating the devastation of a country whose people have done nothing to us and who posed no threat to us or their neighbors. Thanks to our government’s support for the war, we are making enemies of tens of millions of people for no reason except to appease the paranoid fears of Gulf despots. The U.S. has been deeply complicit in an intervention that is largely responsible for the creation of near-famine conditions in one of the world’s poorest countries, and in the process has only made the region less stable and secure than it was before the intervention began. U.S. policy in Yemen is both profoundly shameful and extremely stupid, and it is one of the most destructive things the U.S. has done in a region where it has already done a lot of damage.