Senate Democrats were once again given a chance to put their votes where their hashtags are and do some real #resisting and curb Trump’s power to wage war in the process. In a disappointing but unsurprising turn of events, however, Democrat and Republican came together to ensure that our nation remains complicit in yet another genocide.
This afternoon, a bipartisan proposal from Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Chris Murphy (D-CT) to end the United States’ military support for the appalling Saudi Arabian war in Yemen and to restrict the Pentagon’s ability to arbitrarily wage war across the world.
But ten Senate Democrats felt it was more important to placate the White House, the Saudis, and their defense contractor donors than to take a stand for human rights and bring some kind of rhyme or reason back to the American military machine. The bill was killed by a 55-44 vote.
The list is fast becoming a familiar one, as you can find those same names on congressional voting rolls under “yea” for the last two major wins that Democrats gave the Trump administration – the deregulation of Wall Street and an increase in Trump’s ability to spy on Americans without a warrant.
Perpetual disgrace and constant turncoat Joe Manchin (“D”-WV) was joined by the rest of the usual suspects and some surprising newcomers – Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Chris Coons (D-DE), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Doug Jones (“D”-AL), Jack Reed (D-RI), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).
Five Republicans actually voted for the bill, but it wasn’t enough.
“This war in Yemen has killed tens of thousands of innocent civilians, human beings, lest we forget. Each one of them possessing innate, immeasurable worth and dignity. This war has created refugees, orphans, widows,” said Mike Lee.
“It is Congress that has the power to declare war,” Senator Sanders said in his statement. “The founding fathers gave the power to authorize military conflicts to Congress … not the president. For far too long, Congress under Democratic and Republican administrations has abdicated its constitutional role in authorizing war.”
The Saudi Arabian coalition launched its intervention in the Yemeni civil war on March 24th, 2015, and since then they’ve purposefully engineered a horrifying humanitarian crisis that many have labeled a genocide.
Over 5,000 civilians have died directly from the relentless Saudi Arabian bombardment, the jets and ammunition for which were sold to them by President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Clinton’s emails cheered the F-15 sales as a “Christmas present,” while a Saudi blockade has pushed millions of people into starvation as famine and a cholera outbreak continue to grip the war-torn nation.
Since the beginning of the conflict, the American military has provided “intelligence sharing, targeting assistance, advisory and logistical support to the military intervention,” refueling planes, and guidance as they drop their deadly American payloads and commit war crimes, including the butchering 140 civilians at a funeral and the murder of 131 more people at one wedding.
Victim of a Saudi Arabian airstrike with American weapons.
For far too long, we have been complicit and supportive of these unforgivable acts of violence.
We cannot undo what we’ve already done, but the very least we could do right now would be to strip President Trump – a man who all these Democrats allegedly believe is an unstable and untrustworthy man who is possibly compromised by a hostile foreign state – of his power to continue to wage war in Yemen.
He’s already shown very good reason to do so. The first military raid of the Trump administration was a special operations mission on Yakla village in Yemen, where the SEAL team proceeded to slaughter 30 people, including ten children and a pregnant mother, and accomplished nothing in the process.
We had a very significant opportunity to do the right thing here that we didn’t take.