Trump's Second Veto Is Deadly

Both houses of Congress recently passed a resolution to limit the president’s imaginary powers to wage and support wars without legislative approval. Although the resolution only covered the civil war in Yemen, it should not surprise anyone that President Trump was not thrilled with the idea and vetoed it. Presidents generally do not like to have power stripped from them. Despite the unconstitutional nature of presidents waging wars without congressional approval, the war in Yemen has ominous implications beyond even that. The Saudi Arabian military is committing war crimes, and yet, the United States government is turning a blind eye to this and continuing its support.

One must first be aware of the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia in order to grasp the concept behind why there is so much support for the theocratic kingdom. Although there have been pushbacks by politicians and Americans due to the Khashoggi murder, the link between Saudi Arabia and the hijackers of the 9-11 attacks, the mistreatment of women and minorities, and the beheadings of political dissidents (see this article); the overall relationship between the two countries is strong. Why is that the case?

There are several reasons. First, Saudi Arabia is compliant when it comes to oil. The kingdom supports the use of the American dollar for oil sales and helps keep the United States as the dominating force in the global economy. Second, Saudi Arabia is the largest supporter of the United States’ arms dealing habits, purchasing roughly twenty percent of all weapons exports. Third, the Saudi government spends millions of dollars to lobby American politicians. Fourth, the United States government views the kingdom as an important ally to counter Iranian influence throughout the Middle East.

Given all of the above, it is understandable why President Trump would be hesitant to cut off support to Saudi Arabia in its Yemeni pursuits or to discontinue the intelligence gathering and logistical assistance that began under the Obama administration, but the question of war crimes and excessive civilian casualties must not be of much concern to him. He wants to stay on the good side of the Saudis for political and business reasons, but supporting terrorism in a country far, far away is not prudent.

The Saudi-led coalition has been bombing the country without regard for civilians. As a result of the war and between 2015 and 2018, the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commission (OHCHR) has stated that there have been roughly 17,000 civilian casualties, and it is estimated that twenty to twenty-four million people have seen famine, starvation, and disease, some of which has been done intentionally by the Saudis in order to wage economic war against Houthi-controlled areas. Saudi Arabia has also been accused of recruiting child soldiers to the war effort. In addition and unrelatedly, the United States has conducted a couple hundred airstrikes in Yemen since 2002, further complicating the situation.

Congress stood up to try to stop the barbarism on the Arabian Peninsula, but somehow, President Trump believes that our government is justified in continuing it. Aside from the constitutional argument, how many more people have to die and face economic destruction before we realize that we do not have the moral high ground? Why do we continue to send weapons to an ally that commits acts of terrorism? Why is it so important that an Iranian ally does not take over control of a country thousands of miles away? It appears that business will continue as usual with Saudi Arabia in Yemen, both literally and figuratively.

Thank you for reading, and please check out my book, The Global Bully, and website for more information.
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Published on May 01, 2019 03:14
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