This week I will go to the floor of the United States Senate to try and stop a war that has led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians, mass starvation and one of the greatest humanitarian crises the world now faces.
I am talking, of course, about the Saudi led war in Yemen and the United States' role in supporting that war.
In the spring, along with Senator Mike Lee and Senator Chris Murphy, I introduced a bi-partisan resolution calling on the United States to withdraw our armed forces from this horrific conflict. It was defeated 44-55. But things have changed. The humanitarian crisis grows worse and more Americans, and members of Congress, are now aware of the brutality of the despotic Saudi regime. The Saudi government is a dictatorship which allows no criticism, treats women as third class citizens and was recently responsible for the cold-blooded murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The United States should not be partnering in Saudi Arabia's disastrous military adventurism.
Despite Trump's venal support for the Saudi regime, I am confident that we now stand an excellent chance to win this vote which I plan on bringing back to the Senate floor this week. But I need your help.
As you may know, this war began in March 2015 when a coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates attacked Yemen's Houthi rebels. And the war has dragged on and on and on -- with unimaginable human suffering.
According to the United Nations, the war in Yemen has created the most severe famine in more than 100 years. In one of the poorest countries on earth, as a result of this war, some 85,000 children have starved to death over the last several years and millions more face death if the war continues. Further, the country is currently experiencing the worst cholera outbreak in the world with as many as 10,000 new cases each week. This has occurred because Saudi bombs have destroyed Yemen's water infrastructure and people are no longer able to access clean water.
Above and beyond the humanitarian crisis, this war has been a disaster for our national security and the security of our allies. The chaos caused by this conflict has significantly benefited extremist groups like Al Qaeda and the Islamic State.
Further, and an issue that has long been of concern to many of us, this war has not been authorized by Congress and is therefore unconstitutional. Article I of the Constitution clearly states that it is Congress, not the president, that has the power to declare war. Over many years, Congress has not exercised that authority. That must change.
The fact is the United States, with almost no media attention, has been Saudi Arabia's partner in this horrific war. We have been providing bombs the Saudi-led coalition is using, refueling their planes before they drop those bombs, and assisting with intelligence. And in too many cases our weapons are being used to kill civilians. In August, it was an American-made bomb that obliterated a school bus full of young boys, killing dozens and wounding many more.
The killing of Jamal Khashoggi underscores how urgent it has become for the United States to redefine our relationship with Saudi Arabia, and to show that the Saudis do not have a blank check to continue violating human rights.
With your help, we can win this vote.