Menconi: Demand a Yes vote on the War Powers Resolution
March 2015 saw sparks fly with the onset of civil war, as Yemeni Houthis overthrew the nation’s president and noted Saudi Arabian ally, Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi — a move perceived as a threat by the Saudis — who thusly turned to the Obama administration to engender assistance from stolid if controversial partner, the United States, in the form of logistical, arms, strategic, refueling and other forms of support.
This included support for the highly contentious blockade of Yemen’s ports by the Saudis, under the guise of cutting off a supply line of weapons and funding for the Houthis direct from Iran — despite Tehran’s insistence no such supply line or connections existed — during the lead-up to the historic Iran Deal.
Such nuanced involvement was made possible with increasingly open-ended legislation enacted since the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, as successive American presidents claim the omnipresent threat of terror and consequent need for tougher national security in order to expand U.S. military covert and overt presence around the globe. But the War on Terror — putatively fought in defense of the innocent against maleficent forces — has instead been a multipronged disaster for America. Beyond the nebulous war’s estimated price tag (fraught though figuring that sum may be) well in excess of $7 trillion dollars, this policy of war-writ-large bears culpability for an inestimable human toll — organizations and groups attempting to document an accurate body count due the War on Terror have, often in frustration, reported anywhere from a half million to more than 2 million people may have perished via direct and indirect effects of this endless belligerence.
Yemen, similarly to Afghanistan and Iraq, has borne the brunt of this untenable U.S. policy.
There are 28 million people living in Yemen — 18 million of them are said, by the United Nations, to be on the brink of famine. Reports say the number of Yemeni dead has now surpassed 85,000. There are 2 million suspected cases of Cholera — an epidemic exploding with 10,000 new cases each week. Without desperately needed food and supplies, it is estimated at least 2 million children suffer from malnourishment. Every 10 minutes a child dies from starvation in Yemen due to the war.
Last week, the Senate passed a motion, 63 to 37, to open for debate this coming Monday the U.S.’ War Powers Resolution — intended to curtail overreach of power by the president on matters of war — and, specifically, to address whether or not American support for the Saudi quagmire in Yemen shall continue. To ensure against defeat by veto, 67 votes are needed; then the House must pass a similar bill with 290 votes.
To be clear, this is a vote to end U.S. involvement in the war in Yemen — to end arguable complicity in a horrifying humanitarian disaster — and, optimistically, to save untold thousands of lives, or more, in the process.
U.S. Senator Cory Gardner, of Colorado, voted against the measure; Senator Michael Bennet, in favor.
What you can do — for people enduring senseless starvation and to begin bringing our military members home — is call Gardner’s office, at 202-224-5941, and demand he vote “yes” on the War Powers Resolution, to get out of Yemen and save lives.
Arn Menconi is a former Eagle County commissioner.