Veterans for Peace & Indivisible.org – 2018-03-09 23:59:49
ACTION ALERT: Tell Congress:
Stop Fueling War in Yemen
Veterans for Peace
Yemen is facing a massive humanitarian catastrophe and we need your help to stop it. American aid is crucial to the Saudi war effort, and removing our assistance would limit Saudi attacks and maybe even push them to the negotiating table.
Email your lawmakers now and tell them to support the War Powers Resolution S.J.Res. 54 to end US support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.
Here’s the language that will be sent to Congress:
As your constituent, I urge you to take action to end American complicity in the Saudi-led war in Yemen. We cannot sit by while our government increases suffering in a country devastated by conflict, cholera, and famine.
I strongly urge you to co-sponsor and support the bipartisan War Powers Resolution S.J.Res. 54 sponsored by Sens. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Mike Lee (R-UT). The privileged resolution would end US military involvement in the Saudi-led war in Yemen.
What’s Going in Yemen?
Since March 2015, the US has supported an Arab military coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in a civil war in Yemen.
The war, that pits an armed Yemeni rebel group called the Houthis against the Yemeni government, has resulted in massive civilian casualties, and the largest humanitarian crisis in the world. It has killed more than 10,000 Yemenis and wounded more than 40,000, the majority of whom were civilians.
The United Nations has stated that US-supported airstrikes carried out by the Saudi-led coalition are the leading cause of civilian casualties. Meanwhile Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have documented coalition airstrikes that have repeatedly targeted schools, hospitals, weddings, public markets, water and sanitation systems, and other vital civilian infrastructure — all probable war crimes carried out with US support.
The coalition’s destruction of such vital civilian infrastructure has created the conditions necessary for the world’s largest humanitarian crisis — a crisis even larger than Syria according to the UN. The coalition has also used starvation as a weapon of war by blockading and interfering with the delivery of vital humanitarian and commercial assistance, which the majority of Yemeni civilians depend on for survival.
Thanks to the war, more than 8 MILLION people are now on the brink of starvation and Yemen is home to the largest and fastest growing cholera crisis ever documented. Every 10 minutes, a Yemeni child under 5 dies from starvation or disease. It’s time to end America’s role in this suffering.
The United States’ Role in Yemen’s Civil War
Congress has never authorized America’s involvement in this war in Yemen, yet for almost three years the United States has literally fueled the conflict and its war crimes. Since the beginning of the intervention in March 2015, the United States has provided midair refueling to coalition jets, shared intelligence for targeting assistance, other logistical support, and sold US bombs to the coalition.
Throughout the war, Saudi Arabia and its allies have targeted civilians, hospitals, schools, and farms with American made bombs dropped by planes refueled by America. Meanwhile, the US has provided Saudi Arabia and its allies political cover while they deliberately use starvation and disease as weapons of war, putting 8 million Yemenis a step away from famine. None of this brutality would be possible without continued American support.
What Does This Bill Do?
America’s unconstitutional war in Yemen has never been authorized by Congress. That’s why Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced a resolution, which would end US military involvement in the Saudi-led coalition’s war in Yemen. The resolution would end US refueling of and intelligence-sharing to coalition warplanes conducting aerial bombings in Yemen.
It invokes the War Powers Resolution of 1973 that was passed in the wake of Vietnam to empower Congress as the sole body that can declare war. Under the War Powers Resolution, this important legislation is guaranteed a vote, which means that the Senate will finally debate and vote on this completely unauthorized war soon.
This legislation is our best chance to end America’s role in this unconstitutional war and push for peace, which is the only significant way to relieve the suffering of the Yemeni people.
Our public dollars should not be funding Saudi and UAE war crimes in Yemen. Will you sign our petition and call your senators today to urge them to support the Sanders-Lee resolution?
ACTION: Tell Your Senators:
End Our Unauthorized War in Yemen
This doesn’t happen very often — the Senate will soon debate and vote on an American war. Specifically, it will take up a bipartisan resolution (S.J.Res. 54) to end US participation in the Yemen civil war.
This is a big deal. The United States’ role in the Yemen war is complicated and controversial. Importantly, it also hasn’t been authorized by Congress. For too long, Congress has ceded its war powers to the executive branch. That’s always been a dangerous trend — but it’s especially perilous now that Donald Trump is the commander-in-chief.
There’s a lot at stake here. Here’s what you need to know.
WHAT EXACTLY IS HAPPENING IN YEMEN?
Yemen has experienced years of political strife that has culminated in a civil war. Saudi Arabia leads a coalition of nations fighting against a Yemeni rebel group called the Houthis.
The United States supports the Saudi-led coalition. This mainly involves providing refueling services for airstrikes, and sharing intelligence for targeting. This military support is essential to the continuation of Saudi’s air campaign that continues to target civilian areas and vital civilian infrastructure in violation of international law.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR THE PEOPLE OF YEMEN?
The Yemen civil war has created the largest humanitarian crisis in the world. Yemen was already the poorest country in the Middle East, and the war has only made a bad situation worse.
At least 10,000 people have died, with more than 40,000 injured — and most of those killed or wounded are civilians. A massive famine is sweeping Yemen due to the war, with more than 8 million on the brink of starvation. The war has created the conditions necessary for Yemen to become home to the largest and fastest-growing cholera crisis ever documented in modern history.
HOW DID THINGS GET SO BAD?
There are a couple of factors contributing to this shocking situation. One is the relentless pounding of US supported, Saudi-led coalition airstrikes, many of which amount to war crimes. The UN has stated that these airstrikes from the Saudi-led coalition are the biggest source of civilian casualties in Yemen and a key driver to the humanitarian crisis.
The targets of these airstrikes are vulnerable civilian structures and public gatherings that are supposed to be off limits, including schools, hospitals, weddings, markets, and sanitation systems. Again — these strikes are war crimes. And this is the side the United States is supporting.
There’s another major factor contributing to the suffering. The Saudi-led coalition has sealed off key naval ports in a blockade, preventing desperately-needed food, medicine and other assistance from getting into Yemen.
Report after report continues to emerge with evidence of how cruel and destructive this tactic has been, and the UN has been unequivocal in stating that Saudi Arabia — and by extension the United States — is using starvation as a weapon of war, which is a war crime.
WHAT IS THE UNITED STATES’ ROLE?
The United States is supporting the Saudi-led coalition, by providing mid-air refueling services for the airstrikes, and intelligence to help them target airstrikes in Yemen. The US also sells massive amounts of weapons to the Saudis and the UAE for this war.
This support means the United States owns some of the blame for the humanitarian crisis these airstrikes have created. By helping to facilitate unlawful airstrikes that are pummelling Yemeni civilians, and supporting the side that is blocking food and aid from those same civilians, the United States made clear which side it is on, with horrific results.
This war didn’t start with Trump — the United States has been helping the Saudis commit war crimes in Yemen for years now. But Trump’s Administration has doubled down on a military-only strategy by increasing the US military’s role in the Yemen conflict, only paying limited lip service to the need for diplomacy, and increasing arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
That’s an important factor to keep in mind — there are US companies that stand to lose a lot of money if Saudi Arabia isn’t relying on the United States and purchasing weapons from us.
IS THIS GOOD FOR OUR NATIONAL SECURITY?
No. In fact, US participation in this lengthy war has only helped international terror groups grow in power and strength.
Keep in mind, the United States has already been waging a second war in Yemen for years, directed against armed groups like al-Qaeda affiliates and ISIS.
But with the chaos caused by the other war in Yemen — the civil war in which the United States is helping Saudi Arabia in its bombing campaign — our intelligence community has said those terror groups have been able to gain more power and more land.
Even more cringe-worthy is the fact that al-Qaeda and its affiliates have also been fighting alongside government and Saudi-led coalition forces against Houthi rebels in Yemen. This means that the United States is technically on the same side as al-Qaeda and has essentially become a de facto ally in this conflict.
There’s no military solution to the Yemeni civil war, and its long, drawn-out chaos is directly helping international terror groups grow stronger.
Further, by helping to ramp up this civil war, the United States has by proxy involved itself in a conflict threatening to destabilize the region with no clear strategy or endgame in sight. Paired with Trump’s dangerous warmongering, this sets the stage for more escalation of war, the creation of new enemies, and direct US complicity in war crimes.
It’s the #TrumpThreatLevel in action, and it affects us all.
HAS CONGRESS AUTHORIZED THE UNITED STATES MILITARY TO PARTICIPATE IN THE YEMEN WAR?
No. (There’s really nothing more we can say here).
So this war is not only terrible policy, it’s completely unconstitutional. Congress, not the President, is supposed to decide where we go to war and when. As long as Congress refuses to do its job, it is complicit in this tragedy.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO REDUCE THE TRUMP THREAT LEVEL? SUPPORT THE RESOLUTION.
This joint resolution, led by Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Mike Lee (R-UT), uses a procedure to force a vote on the Senate floor within ten days.
If passed by both chambers of Congress, the resolution would declare the US participation in the Yemen war unauthorized, and would end American support for Saudi war crimes.
Of course, this resolution has a nearly impossible path toward becoming law. If it passes the Senate, it still would have to go through the House. And House leadership has already proven that they will not let a binding resolution go to the floor (the House did, however, pass a similar nonbinding version of this resolution in November 2017).
But if the Senate passes this resolution, it will be a major step toward getting Congress to act boldly to resist the Trump threat level. If they’re successful, it would set vital precedent for Congress to do this again in other contexts in the future — perhaps to stop a war with North Korea. As progressives, this is something we must demand from Congress. (Click here to read more about our progressive foreign policy principles.)
It only needs a simple majority to pass. Essentially, a small handful of Democrats will decide the fate of this resolution.
Constitutional powers are meaningless if Congress doesn’t exercise them. While it’s important not just to end our role in the Yemeni civil war, it’s also important for Congress to use this opportunity to flex its war authority muscle, and remember that they have the sole power to put reins around Trump’s warmongering.
We only have ten days to stop Trump’s war in Yemen. Call your senators today and demand that they support S.J.Res. 54.
SAMPLE CALL SCRIPT
Caller: Hi, I’m a constituent calling from [part of state]. I’m calling about the joint resolution introduced by Senators Lee and Sanders to end our unauthorized war in Yemen. It is essential for Senator [name] to support this resolution when it comes to the floor for a vote.
Staffer: Thank you for calling. The senator is still reviewing the language and I will relay your concerns.
Caller: Please do — Congress has never authorized this war, and evidence shows that the airstrikes the US is supporting are causing a humanitarian crisis and may amount to war crimes. The chaos has allowed terror groups such as ISIS and Al Qaeda affiliates to gain more power and land. It’s time for Senator [name] to exercise Congress’ constitutional power and end this unauthorized war.
Staffer: I’ll be sure to share that with the boss.
Caller: Thank you — I’ll be closely monitoring the senator’s vote.