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Why Congress Must Vote on the US Role in Yemen

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From Common Dreams

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By Bernie Sanders, Chris Murphy, and Mike Lee

"We believe that since Congress has not authorized military force for this conflict, the United States should play no role in it beyond providing desperately needed humanitarian aid."

From commons.wikimedia.org: Yemen Disaster {MID-257847}
Yemen Disaster
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In Yemen, a child under the age of five dies of preventable causes every 10 minutes. That is just one startling fact from a country that has been torn by war for nearly three years.

More than 10,000 civilians have died and over 40,000 have been wounded in this war. Fifteen million people can't access clean water and sanitation. An estimated 17 million people -- 60 percent of the total population -- do not have reliable access to food and are at risk of starvation.When tragedies such as the war in Yemen occur, the American people's instinct is to help. Americans have so far provided more than $768 million in humanitarian aid to that country.

What few Americans know, however, is that the U.S. military is making the crisis worse by helping one side in the conflict bomb innocent civilians. The millions we have spent in humanitarian aid were necessitated, in part, by a U.S. government failure.

In order to understand this failure, we need to understand how the United States got involved in Yemen to begin with. In March 2015, a coalition of Arab forces led by Saudi Arabia launched a military intervention into Yemen. The goal of this intervention was to support the government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi against Houthi insurgents who had taken control of much of the country, including the capital city of Sanaa.

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The Obama administration, without consulting Congress, quickly authorized U.S. military forces to provide "logistical and intelligence support" to the Saudi coalition. U.S. military support for this intervention continues to this day. U.S. forces are coordinating, refueling and targeting with the Saudi-led coalition, as confirmed last December by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

We believe that since Congress has not authorized military force for this conflict, the United States should play no role in it beyond providing desperately needed humanitarian aid.

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Bernie Sanders is the independent U.S. Senator from Vermont. He is the longest serving independent member of Congress in American history. He is a member of the Senate's Budget, Veterans, Environment, Energy, and H.E.L.P. (Health, Education, (more...)
 

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