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Trump Ignores Congress’ Yemen Conditions

Trump signed the new National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) this week. Among other things, the bill contained provisions that place conditions on U.S. support for the Saudi coalition. The president made clear in his signing statement [1] that he was going to ignore any limitations [2] Congress tried to put on U.S. backing for the coalition’s war effort:

The signing statement singles out several provisions which Trump argues would restrict his control in ways he believes are needed for “military missions,” and inconsistent with his “constitutional authority as Commander in Chief.”

Trump suggested that he’d ignore all the limitations placed on the Yemen War, and objected to providing an assessment on war crimes to Congress, saying it violates executive privilege.

The attempt to put conditions on U.S. support for the war on Yemen was never likely to reduce military assistance to the coalition for the reasons I laid out here [3]. The Secretary of State could very easily claim that the Saudis and their allies were meeting their requirements in order to continue U.S. military involvement, and nothing would change. The president’s signing statement confirms that the administration has no intention of paying attention to Congress’ conditions. Jeremy Konyndyk comments on this:

U.S. involvement in the war on Yemen is unauthorized and illegal. Presidents Obama and Trump have illegally introduced U.S. forces into hostilities in Yemen in support of the Saudi coalition bombing campaign without Congressional authorization. Neither of them had the authority to do so. Congress needs to force an end to U.S. support, and that means revisiting the war powers challenge that it failed to make earlier this year. Nothing less will be a strong enough challenge to the administration’s indefensible Yemen policy. If they don’t challenge the legality of U.S. involvement in the war, Congress will continue to be ignored and overridden.

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5 Comments To "Trump Ignores Congress’ Yemen Conditions"

#1 Comment By SF Bay On August 14, 2018 @ 10:32 pm

“Congress needs to force an end to U.S. support, and that means revisiting the war powers challenge that it failed to make earlier this year. Nothing less will be a strong enough challenge to the administration’s indefensible Yemen policy.”

Well, that’s not going to happen. We are up to our eyebrows in the killing and Congress is complicit along with Trump, Obama, and Bush2.

There’s very few honorable people in government these days. And that’s just sad.

#2 Comment By biding time On August 15, 2018 @ 12:31 am

He’s a real creep, isn’t he? I’ll be very glad to see him go. I wish I could say I’m sorry I voted for him in 2016, but I’m not. Won’t vote for him in 2020, though, and it’ll be a pleasure to help kick him out.

#3 Comment By Fred Bowman On August 15, 2018 @ 8:33 am

When it comes to matters of War, Congress has all the integrity of Pontius Pilate and Judas Iscariot. Basically “wash your hands of the matter” and “collect your thirty pieces of silver”.

#4 Comment By Sid Finster On August 15, 2018 @ 4:46 pm

Trump is a war criminal.

Fred Bowman accurately described Congress’ moral stance.

#5 Comment By b. On August 16, 2018 @ 11:55 am

“If they don’t challenge the legality of U.S. involvement in the war, Congress will continue to be ignored and overridden.”

Congress needs to pass binding resolution to require the DoD to remove all US personnel from Yemen territory and territorial waters, to end all sales and delivery of fuel, services and munitions to Saudi Arabia immediately. Congress should really to the same with respect to the UAE, whose air force is never mentioned but surely operating in Yemen as well, but given that the USAF depends on its base in the UAE for Middle East operations, such a step is even less likely.

Congress will have to be prepared to defund operations, and to request prosecution of officials or begin impeachment procedures, as Trump will not comply. Given the GOP vested interest in a continuation of the Trump/Pence administration, that is not going to happen, and Trump knows it.

The opposition in Congress should push for these measures anyway, and force the GOP – and their own ranks – to go on the Congressional record defending the indefensible as the casualties continue to mount. But the Democratic Party leadership is invested into the blood money that Yemen brings, and will not want to go on the record themselves.

Congress will do nothing except token gestures in support of continuation of these crimes. There is no point in appealing to Congress.

The People of Yemen have but one hope at this time: The People of the US. That is the true measure of their desperation.