tv U.S. Senate Senators Lee R-UT Peters D-MI on Yemen War CSPAN December 16, 2018 4:21am-4:46am EST
important to the saudis. and it's more than just our military support for the war in yemen. it has a lot to do with security issues generally, it has to do with intelligence sharing, it has to do with economics. and our relationship should always be wrapped in our values. our foreign policy should be always be based upon our values as americans and our values. with regard to what's happening in the war in yemen tells us we shouldn't be participating in it , and i haven't even mentioned the tragic death of jamal khashoggi, and when you look at the royal family and the crown prince, that clearly cannot go unchallenged. in theights violations
military campaign -- all of that cries out for the u.s. not to be involved. and the passage of joint resolution 54 will, in fact, make that a reality, and i urge our colleagues to support that resolution. president, i am proud to be cosponsored of this legislation along with senator murphy. otherd i along with members of this body have engaged in this bipartisan in a concerted endeavor to make sure that the separation of powers between our three branches of government are respected. mr. president, there is perhaps no more morally significant decision made in government banned the decision to go to war
. whatever we have taken action as a government that has put american treasure, and especially american blood, on the line, we have a responsibility to evaluate and the relativeght risks, advantages of acting and the relative risks and advantages of not acting. to make sure that that kind of analysis takes place, the founding fathers wisely put this power squarely within the branch of government most accountable to the people in the most regular intervals -- in the congress. in thes a big break, decision between a former national government based in london, where the chief executive, mccain, have the power to commit troops to war without going to parliament.
hamilton explained this in federalist 1969. he said there was no accident that this power was put in the hands of congress. to be sure, the power of congress has the power to declare war, means more than to state something in the abstract. it is something that has to happen before but american blood and treasure on the line. it is something that should never happen in the absence of kind of dire emergency, some kind of active circumstances where the president must protect the united states of america, it needs to be declared by congress. this is not just a mere formality. it is the only thing that guarantees the government is by the people, for the people. only thing guaranteeing that we will have a debate about the relative merits in question. there are a number of reasons why, in addition to the fact that there are obvious economic
expenses associated with it, there are tremendous human costs side,ated with war on the with whom we might be fighting against the side with whom we might be fighting. this conflict in yemen as many examples of the moral perilousness associated with war. we are involved in a conflict have a world away. we are involved in providing targeted assistance, midair refueling, reconnaissance, surveillance. we are involved in this conflict as co-belligerence. we are responsible in one way or another not only for american lives that might be directly
implicated in his conflict, more than they are today, because we know how wars go. we know how they tend to spread. we put the good name of america online, we are understandably away from it,alk because we know what that might say to the rest of the world, but in order to make it legitimate, authentic, sustainable, it has to be done in the appropriate way, which means it first has to go to congress. now, many of my colleagues will argue, and in fact some of them have argued just within the last few minutes, that we are somehow not involved in a war in yemen. my distinguished friend and colleague, the senator from oklahoma, came to the floor a little while ago, and he said we are not engaged in direct military action in yemen. let's peel them back for a minute. let's figure out what that means.
i am not sure what the distinction is between direct and indirect is here. sensein a very technical or under a definition of warfare or military action, it has long outdated, wendered are not involved in that, but we are involved in a war. we are co-belligerence. identifyinge start targets, or as secretary james mattis and put it about a year ago, we are involved in the decision making sure that they know the right stuff to hit. that his involvement in a war, and that is pretty direct. the minute we send up u.s. military aircraft to provide midair refueling assistance for to bombingen route
missions, to combat missions on the ground in yemen, that is our direct involvement in war. if you do not agree with it, ask any one of our armed services personnel if we are involved in this conflict, i would imagine, mr. president, that they would beg to differ, that they would tell us the family members, the love ones of these brave men and women who have been involved in this effort would beg to differ. we are told that we are not involved in a war in yemen, in any event, regardless of how you define war, regardless of what significance you might attach to direct versus indirect military involvement in a civil war half a world away, is still triggers the constitutional requirement that congress -- and not merely the president -- decides if we are going to get involved in this war. k, i understand there are some competing powers in the constitution. it was set up deliberately that
way. arguable graysome areas between, on the one hand, the outer limits of the president's executive authority of the commander-in-chief of the armed forces and on the other hand the power enjoyed exclusively by congress to declare war. because there is some gray area, some matters in which people of reasonable minds might disagree as to where a war begins, congress i wrote decades ago adopted the war powers congress several decades ago adopted the war powers act. congress decided, among other significantould be anytime we got involved in hostilities. many will argue and some have argued, this very day, in fact, that we are not involved in hostilities in yemen, and
therefore the war powers act is not triggered. there are a couple of arguments with the current one, it is categorically -- with that. it is just categorically untrue. we are helping them get to the bombing site, we are telling what to hit,bomb, what to take out. these days, our wars are very high-tech. it is hard come in many cases impossible to fight a war without those things. that is what war is. many colleagues are arguing we are not involved in war rely on memorandum internal. look at the memorandum issued in ,976 providing a very narrow definition oflim
the term "hostility." they define hostilities in a way relevant, have been might have been accurate perhaps in the mid-19th century. we no longerident, live in a world where you have twoa war as understood by competing countries lined up on offices sides of the battlefield engaged in direct exchanges of ine, one against the other i relatively short range. war encompasses a lot more than that. encompassesy refueling, surveillance that we are undertaking an yemen. a separate report from this very narrow, reasonably's one definition of -- reasonably slim definition of hostility, as determined from his executive branch document from 1976, containing the outdated
definition of a ourselves immoderately war powers act, do not have to be directly involved in hostility, it is triggered so long as we are significantly involved with the armed forces of another nation when those armed forces of another nation are themselves and armed hostility. i reference the war powers act, section 1547c. here, it isoses important to keep in mind what that provision says, it says for of thisoses chapter under the war powers act, it includes the assignment of members of such armed forces to command, participate in the movement of regular or irregular military courses of foreign
government, and if they are an imminent threat, gorsuch will become engaged in hostility -- such forces will become engaged in hostility. in what sense, on what level, on what planet are we not involved the commanding and the coordination and participation, in the movement of war in the accompaniment of the armed forces of the kingdom of saudi arabia and the kingdom of saudi arabia led coalition in the civil war in yemen? i challenge anyone to explain that to me, how it is that we section 15olved by 47c. we are. and because we are come under the powershares agreement reached in place over the last four or five decades, we need to follow those procedures. and it is one of the reminders that we have that we need to respect the separation of powers .
we first brought up this resolution, or one like it, earlier this year, about eight or nine months ago. up,he time we brought it when we got into the senate to the senateit a resolutionognize like these in order to secure a vote on the senate floor to try to bring this bill out of committee. at the time, sadly, we received only 44 votes. to get it out of committee. that was not enough. fast forward a few months, the week before last, we voted on it again. essentially the same vote resulted in 63 members of this same body supporting the idea of advancing it out of committee. and today, a move to consideration of this bill, and we got, if i am not mistaken,
about 60 votes for that. i am thrilled. i am ecstatic that we had that result. and i look forward to my colleagues passing senate joint resolution 54 in the coming days. i urge my colleagues to vote for it. it would, however, have been even better had we done it sooner. what, you might ask, changed? what changed between when we voted for this a few months ago, when we fell short of the votes we needed, and when we voted a week before last to discharge it out of committee, and then voted against a day to move it out of the bill? well, a number of things have happened. for some of the war in yemen has continued. we have had a whole lot of people killed in yemen as a result of this civil war. we have had a whole up more people in yemen die as a result
of causes related to about four -- to that war. there has been starvation, all kinds of atrocities related to that war. war, war leads to atrocities, leads to people dying as a result of a direct connecticut tax, and it almost -- kinetic attack, and it almost always leads to people dying of other violent acts or tragic outcomes. i get it. that is what war does, and that is precisely, mr. president, why it is unconstitutional and morally bankrupt for us to get involved in a war without the eople that the people elected to represent congress voting affirmatively to put our brave young men and women in harm's way to engage in that
war. inwhat else changed, addition to the fact that this war has gone on and on, with a lot of deaths and suffering and misery by a whole lot of innocent people? we have also seen that when we pulled back the mask a little bit, when we pulled back the curtain, when we look into exactly who we are fighting for and why we are fighting, people understand got a little freaked out. the desk some the murder of a journalist got a lot of people's attention. completely agree with the comments made by several of my colleagues, that every life is sacred. inestimablesoul has
of god ande eyes should be respected by each and every one of us. it is therefore sad that it had to take this long for us to care about it. it should not be the case that we had to wait for a journalist to be murdered for us to care about this unconstitutional, unjustified, and i believe in moral war -- immoral war. but regardless of how we got here, we are here. the murder of mr. khashoggi caused us to think long and hard, with good reason, about the fact that we have gone somewhat blindly into or, first under a democratic president, and then under a republican president, where it has been continued, following somewhat blindly the leadership of the kingdom of saudi arabia. the fact that the crown prince
of saudi arabia has been implicated in the murder of mr. khashoggi has caused a lot of people to stop and say wait a minute, maybe this does not make sense. wait a minute. perhaps this is a regime that we ought not be supporting. or at least at a minimum, regardless of the fact that we may have some interest, some reason to be allied with the kingdom of saudi arabia in some way, maybe, just maybe, this is enough of a reason for us to not be fighting a war on behalf of the kingdom of saudi arabia. .e know this to be true those of us who serve in this body or who serve down the hall in the u.s. house of representatives know something very significant, that if we went to almost anyone of our any part of the
country and we asked them -- why should the united states of america, the greatest military power, the greatest republic, arguably the greatest civilization the world is ever why should we be putting american laws and treasure on the lin to fight as co-belligerents in a civil war half a world away in yemen? we knowk that question, 99 times out of a hundred, perhaps 9900 times out of 1000, we know that that would not result in a confident answer. we know that would result in an answer full of uncertainty, andy ambiguity, raises concern, and well justified fears for the fact that we are involved in somebody else's civil war, in a civil war in
which we have no business fighting, in a civil or in which we have finally followed the kingdom of saudi arabia into conflict. this, mr. president, is our decision to make. , results mr. president in bloodshed, and the shedding of blood that will be on our hands if we fail to exercise our constitutional prerogative under a system of government in which we have taken a nose to uphold, protect, and defend the constitution of the united states. i hope and expect that we will do our duty, i hope and asked that we will respect the lives of those who put their lives on the line to protect us. i urge my colleagues with all of emotions, all of the passion i am capable of so many coming to vote for and pass senate joint resolution 54.
thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. >> the senator for michigan. mr. president, i rise today to condemn the saudi military campaign in yemen, which is causing the worst since world crisis war ii. tens of thousands of young children have already died of starvation, and millions more in yemen remained threatened by famine and disease. is experiencing the worst cholera outbreak in history, with over one million cases. in recent months, the crisis has accelerated, growing at a rate of 10,000 cases each and every week. the air campaign in yemen, led by saudi arabia, is now in its third year, and every day, every day it makes the humanitarian crisis in yemen worse. bombs dropped by saudi arabia
are killing women and children, the string roads and bridges, electricity and water services, and leveling hospitals and mosques. meanwhile, crown prince mohammad bin salman stands credibly accused of ordering the murder of a united states president and journalist known for his critique of the regime. arrently we are debating resolution that directs the president to remove the u.s. military from hostilities in semen and end our nation' unauthorized participation in this conflict. i am proud to be a cosponsor of senate resolution number 54, and i voted to bring it to the floor, because the united states should not be providing aerial refueling to saudi jets bombing yemen indiscriminately. the united states senate should
pass this resolution and send a clear message that our military will not prolong and will not worsen a humanitarian tragedy led by an increasingly brutal regime. this is also why i voted against arms sales of additional air to for saudiitions arabia. more arms sales and more support for saudi arabia is not how we are going to end this crisis. diplomaticningful and political solutions to alleviate human suffering in yemen. this is an issue that is deeply personal to me and many michiganders. i am proud to represent a vibrant and dynamic yemeni american community in michigan, heart rate their over the tragic situation impacting innocent yemenis. our nation must show real leadership and take action to food, water,
medicine, and all necessary supplies ares made available to those who so desperately need them. i urge all of my colleagues to join me in supporting senate joint resolution 54. mr. president, i yield the floor. we. sullivan: mr. president, have been debating for quite some time on the senate floor that yemen war powers resolution introduced by my colleagues, senator sanders and senator lee, which would cut off the saudi led war in yemen. of course, it began under president obama. surrounding this vote today, many of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle have expressed extreme frustration with the saudi crown prince, mohammad bin salman, especially regarding the death of jamal khashoggi, an american based saudi journalist murdered in turkey.