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tv   U.S. Senate Sen. Bernie Sanders I-VT Sen. Bob Corker R-TN on Yemen War  CSPAN  December 16, 2018 2:57am-3:22am EST

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leaders in washington and took advice from folks that i do not know he would do that same ink today. i think during that transition and in the first month or two of his administration come the learning curve was incredibly steep just like it is for every single president of the united states. onre is no class or degree being president and it is a learning curve. >> watch book tv this weekend on c-span2. vote of 56-41, the u.s. senate voted thursday to recommend that the u.s. and its assistance to saudi arabia for the war in yemen. and in a separate resolution blamed the death of a journalist jamal khashoggi on the saudi crown prince. the vote on that resolution was unanimous. both measures would have to be approved by the house for them to go to the president but the house blocked the measure from
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getting a vote. here is part of the senate debate on the yemen bill. we begin with vermont senator bernie sanders who sponsored the bill with senator mike lee from utah. this is two and a half hours. >> mr. president, i come to the floor today to talk about one of the great humanitarian crises facing our planet and that is the horrific war in yemen. 2015, under the leadership of mohammad bin salman who was then the saudi andia and defense minister is now the crown prince, saudi arabia and the united arab emirates intervened in yemen's ongoing civil war. the saudi-uae intervention, yemen is now experiencing the worst
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humanitarian disaster in the world. nations, to the united yemen is at risk of the most severe famine in more than 100 years. peopleme 14 million facing starvation. in one of the poorest countries on earth, as a result of this theible war, according to save the children organization, children havemeni already starved to death over the last several years and millions more face last week, a new york times
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reporter described his recent visit to yemen. i ask unanimous consent that the article be included in the record. opportunity tos
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quote some of what he said on that december 7 "new york times" article and i quote, some 85,000 children may have already died here in yemen and 12 million more people may be on the brink of starvation. casualtieses in part of the three year old american back saudi war in yemen. the united nations officials and aid experts warn this could become the worst fameinhe world has seen in the generation. quote, the risk of aio major catastrophe is very high, end quote. the united nations humanitarian chief told me, quote, the worst-case what we had in yemen now has the potential to be worse than anything, any professional in this field has seen during their working life,
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end quote. nicholas kristof continues, and i quote him, what is most infuriating is that the hunger is caused not by drought or extreme weather but i cynical and failed policies in riyadh and washington. the starvation does not seem to be an accidental byproduct of war, but rather a weapon in it. saudi arabia andbi the uae act by the united states are trying to inflict pain to gain leverage to destabilize the rebels. the reason they are allied with iran. he continues, and i quote. the problem in yemen is not a shortage of food as it is an economic collapse.
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gdp has fallen in half since the war started. tot has left people unable afford food. , we think of war casualties as men with their legs blown off. , the most common whocasualties our children suffer malnutrition,". he continues, some will die. even the survivors may suffer lifelong or damage -- brain damage. a majority of children are now believed to be physically stunted from now magician. let me repeat that. the majority of children are now believed be physically stunted from now nutrition. 46% were stunted even before the war.
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physical something is frequently accompanied by diminished brain development. quote these children are the future of yemen. a nutrition specialist told me, he will be stunted. how will he do in school,". it has also led to outbreaks of deadly diseases. half of the country's clinics and hospitals are closed. from nick kristof from the new end of quote from nick kristof from the new york times. the saudi arabian partner in this horrific war.
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we have been giving them bombs, refueling their planes, and assisting with intelligence. many cases, our weapons are being used to kill civilians. august, an american bomb of literate a school bus. the cnn report has evidence that american weapons have been used in extreme and deadly attacks since the war began. according to the independent moderating from the yemen data project, between 2015 and march 2018, more than 30% of coalition targets have been nonmilitary. a few weeks ago, in my office, i met with several brave activists from yemen. they have urged congress to put a stop to this war and told me
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see madewhen yemenis in the usa on the bombs killing them, and tells them that the usa is responsible for this war and that is the sad truth. mr. president, the bottom line is the united states should not be supporting a catastrophic war led by a despite regime with a dangerous and you're responsible military policy. some have suggested that congress moving to withdraw support from this war would undermine u.s. efforts to recent -- reach a peace agreement. but i would argue the exact opposite is the truth. it is the promise of unconditional u.s. support that has undermined the efforts towards peace. we have evidence for this. just yesterday, we received news
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that the u.s. special envoy richard griffiths made a breakthrough agreement for the exchange in that war of some 15,000 prisoners. they build the necessary trust there broader commitment seems to be a firmer willingness to reach an agreement than in previous talks as the government realizes that the international pressure on saudi arabia is growing. so our effort to move this resolution forward may have already made a positive impact and i think all of my 18 cosponsors and the many civil society organizations, progressive and conservative, who have worked so hard to raise
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awareness of this horrific conflict. mr. president, above and beyond the humanitarian crisis, this war has been a disaster for our national security and the security of the region. the administration defends our engagement in yemen by overstating iranian support for the rebels. let me be clear, iran's support is of serious concern on me and, i believe, on all of us. but the fact is that the relationship between iran and the cooties has only been strengthened with the intensification of the war. this war is creating the very problems the trump administration claims to want to solve. further, the war is also undermining the broader efforts across -- against the violent extremists.
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report found that the conflict has helped al qaeda and isis, deepened their inroads across much of the country. so this war is a humanitarian and strategic disaster. further, and i think it is important to state what everybody knows, though we do thatalk about it often, saudi arabia is a despotic ,egime controlled by one family one of the wealthiest and most powerful families on earth. report by the cato institute, a conservative think saudi arabia was ranked 149 at 159 countries for freedom and human rights. , the saudis have
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funded schools mosques, and preachers who support an extreme form of islam. mr. president, in saudi arabia today, women are not treated as second-class citizens, they are treated as third class citizens women still need, in the year 2018, the permission of a male guardian to go to school or to get a job. they have to follow a strict dress code and can be stoned to death for adultery or flogged for spending time in the company of a man who is not their relative. year, a saudi activist, a leader in the fight for women's rights in saudi arabia was kidnapped from abu
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dhabi and forced to return to the country. she is currently being held without charges. same is true of many other saudi political activist. the human rights watch recently reported that imprisoned women activists have been subjected to torture, including electric shocks and other forms of physical and sexual assault. further, as every member of the senate knows, or should know, there is now overwhelming evidence that the saudi crown prince mohammad bin salman was responsible for the brutal shoji of jamaal shoji -- who lived in the united states as a columnist for the washington post and made a mistake of going into the saudi and neverin turkey
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came out alive. we believe his body was dismembered and nobody knows where it is. unbelievably, president trump despite the overwhelming evidence of the crown princes involvement in the murder of a man living in the , a saudi dissident journalist, president trump continues to proclaim his love and affection for the crown prince and the saudi regime. view,at is not how, in my the american people feel. for too many years, american men and women in our military have put their lives on the line in the never ending struggle with democracy and human rights. not turn and must
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their struggles, their in order toside follow the military adventurism of a despite regime. that is not what this country is supposed to be about. , an issue that has been of long concern to many of us, conservatives and progressives, is that this war has not been authorized by congress and is therefore unconstitutional. article one of the constitution clearly states that it is congress, not the president, that has the power to send our men and women into war. congress, not the president. constitution, our the founders of this country
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gave the power to declare war to , the branch most accountable to the people, not , who is oftennt isolated from the reality of what is taking place in our communities. , and democratic and republican presidents are responsible and democratic and republican congresses are. years, that, for many congress has not exercise its constitutional responsibilities. over whether or not our young men and women go off to war. i think there is growing sentiment all over the country from republicans, from democrats, from independence, independent -- from
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independence -- independents. i believe we have become far too comfortable with the united states engaging in military intervention all over the world. we have been in afghanistan for over 17 years, the longest war in american history. syria,ops are now in under what i believe are questionable authorities. the time is long overdue for congress to reassert its constitutional role in determining when and where our country goes to war. if you want to vote for war, vote for war. if you want to vote against the war, vote against the war. but we, as the congress, have got to accept our constitutional responsibility.
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this resolution, mr. president, provides the opportunity. in this oneays that war in yemen, this terrible war, that congress is prepared to act. and i hope very much that all of us will seize this opportunity. president, for the sake of , foring children in yemen the sake of what this country stands for in terms of democracy and human rights and not following the leadership of a despite, authoritarian regime. for the sake of the united states constitution and the fact that it is congress and not the president who has the authority to make, for all of these reasons and more, mr. president,
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i asked strong support for this important resolution. with that, i yield the floor. >> mr. president. >> senator from tennessee. >> i want to thank the senator for most of the comments he's made. i share many of the same concerns that the senator has. i have voted for the name of this committee because i feel like this discussion needed to take place. ie senator from vermont knows have concerns about using this vehicle to do it. debate tosing this take place, many of the concerns the senator has expressed will be expressed by others and i agree with many saudi arabia has not conducted this war in a thatr, in my opinion,
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takes into account the great harm that is taking place with civilians, i agree 100%. i am more than nonplussed over the fact that i believe, and have provided a very detailed intelligence review of what happened with the journalist at the consulate in turkey. if theutely believe that crown prince came before a jury here in the united states of america he would be convicted guilty in under 30 minutes. i absolutely believe he directed at i believe he monitored and i believe he is responsible. so i have had concerns about using this vehicle and i have concerns about the fact that this may mean we set a precedent about refueling and intelligence
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activities being considered hostilities. i am concerned about that. i think the senator knows that we have operations throughout northern africa where we are working with other governments on intelligence to counterterrorism and we are doing refueling activities now and it concerns me. i have concerns that if we use this vehicle, we may have 30-40 incidents -- instances where this vehicle might be used to do something that cannot be dealt with by the war powers act. i will say that the strong passage of the issue that we have just dispensed with helps. it helps a great deal. future, if, in the this vehicle is utilized, we now know if set the precedent that only germane issues can be brought up. i have concerns, and we have now solve those, that other issues
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may be brought up. other members have more votes, but we have now narrowed this in a very appropriate way. the senator and i have discussed a resolution that is separate and apart from this, separate and apart from this. i have agreed with senators on the other side of the aisle that i will not introduce that resolution until this issue has been dispensed with. i do hope we will have a tonimous vote on this strongly condemn the crown prince of saudi arabia for the actions he has taken relative to killing the journalist, the journalist who is a resident of the united states, has children living here in the consulate in turkey. that is a separate issue i hope we will take up.
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but i want to thank the senator for his concern. i share many of those. we have some legal concerns right now about pursuing his vehicle, and he knows that. i am concerned about where this goes down the road and we will have some amendments we will deal with over the next day or so. him, just want to say to even though we have legal concerns about this particular process, i thank him for his concern for the citizens there, for his admonishment, for his the marching of a crown prince in saudi arabia, who i believe is out of control. doing things on top of killing journalists, but also in blockading qatar. arresting a prime minister in lebanon. think that no one would


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