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U.S. Congress could stop the endless wars

Will Congress Stop the Endless Wars?  Mike Ludwig, Truthout, November 30, 2018  Lawmakers in both parties had plenty of reasons to advance a Senate resolution this week that would end the United States’ participation in Yemen’s bloody civil war. Death is rapidly spreading across Yemen, where the Saudi-led coalition fighting against Houthi rebels is blocking the flow of food and aid, leaving up to 14 million people on the brink of the world’s worst famine in over a century. Bombs made in the US have been found alongside dead civilians.Then there is President Trump, who appears all too eager to defend the Saudi royal family, even after his own intelligence agents concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman was likely behind the brutal killing and dismemberment of Saudi dissident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who introduced the resolution back in February, said the legislation is certainly about addressing famine, bloodshed and Trump’s troubling embrace of Saudi monarchs. It’s also about Congress reasserting its constitutional authority over when and where the US makes war overseas. This has major implications for the peace movement, which is calling on Sanders to become a leading voice against US militarism.

The US military supplies the Saudi coalition with military equipment, intelligence and targeting assistance, and only recently agreed to stop refueling the Saudi warplanes bombarding Yemen. Congress never authorized participation in the civil war, even as the Obama administration began leveraging military assistance to the Saudis back in 2015. Speaking on the Senate floor on Wednesday, Sanders made this clear as he urged his colleagues to bring the resolution out of committee.

“It is a vote … that says that the United States Senate respects the Constitution … and understands that the issue of war making, of going to war, putting young men and women’s lives at stake, is something determined by the US Congress, not the president of the United States,” Sanders said.

The Senate voted 63-37 to advance the resolution on Wednesday, just months after tabling the measure with a solid majority that included several Democrats. The resolution invokes the War Powers Resolution of 1973, which compels the president to remove US forces from overseas military operations that are not authorized by Congress. A vote to pass the legislation is expected next week, and the antiwar movement now has a hard-fought victory in its sights.

“It’s enormous. This is the first time in the Senate’s history that they have ever gotten this far in invoking the War Powers Resolution,” said Hassan El-Tayyab, a peace activist and co-director of Just Foreign Policy who lobbied Congress on Yemen, in an interview.

The Constitution places the power to declare war with Congress, not the White House, but Congress has not declared war since World War II. From Vietnam to Afghanistan and Iraq, a succession of presidents led US troops into major foreign wars and a long list of other conflicts, rapidly expanding the size of the military and the power of the Oval Office along the way. Each time, these presidents sidestepped Congress. Today, the US has an estimated 800 military bases outside the 50 states, and US troops have regularly engaged in military operations in a long list of countries across the world. ………


December 1, 2018 - Posted by | politics, USA, weapons and war

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