By Tyler Bauer
In March, the Senate voted 54-46 to end American involvement in the Yemeni civil war. Early this month, the House of Representatives also voted to end American involvement in the Yemeni civil war. I said a couple weeks ago that I didn’t expect President Trump to follow Congress’s lead and get out of Yemen. Sadly, he proved me right.
On Tuesday, President Trump issued a veto and extended American involvement in Yemen. As I alluded to last time I wrote about Yemen, President Trump’s decision to continue our involvement in Yemen is another sign of his undying support of Saudi Arabia. President Trump, like his predecessor, seemingly believes Saudi Arabia can do no wrong. He has supported Saudi Arabia despite the fact that the Saudis crucified a man, bombed a school bus, and gruesomely dismembered a journalist in the past eight months.
According to The Atlantic, President Trump said, “This resolution is an unnecessary, dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities, endangering the lives of American citizens and brave service members, both today and in the future.” Let’s break down President Trump’s rationale piece-by-piece.
First, President Trump says that ending American involvement in Yemen is an unnecessary, dangerous attempt to weaken his constitutional authorities. (Let’s get something straight, though: President Trump has never cared about the Constitution. He’ll violate it when it suits him, just as pretty much any other politician.) Regardless, President Trump claims that the actions of the Senate and the House weaken his constitutional authorities. What constitutional authority is he referring to, though? The President only has one related authority, which is set out in Article II, Section 2, Clause 1 of the Constitution. This part of the Constitution provides that “The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States . . .”
President Trump’s authority as the Commander in Chief has not been weakened. President Trump seems to have confused the authority of the Commander in Chief with the authority to declare war, an authority which lies with Congress. In other words, Congress gets to decide when and where we are at war. The President gets to command the forces in those wars. In this case, Congress is exercising its authority to declare war by telling President Trump to remove forces from Yemen because we are not at war in Yemen. President Trump, who is either ignorant of the Constitution or doesn’t care what it says, seems to believe that, as Commander in Chief, he can fight wars anywhere. He’s wrong.
Second, President Trump claims that, by leaving Yemen, we would “endanger the lives of American citizens and brave service members, both today and in the future.” Since when was Yemen a threat to us citizens? Heck, I’m willing to bet most citizens couldn’t find Yemen on a map. Yemen has never posed a threat to us, so much so that most Americans don’t even know Yemen and the Yemeni people exist.
Additionally, how would removing service members from a war zone endanger their lives? President Trump’s argument is as follows: By removing service members from a war zone and putting them in peaceful areas, they will be in more danger. Or, conversely, the following: Service members are safer in war zones than they are in peaceful areas. This argument doesn’t require detailed knowledge of Middle Eastern politics or Houthi-Yemen disagreements. President Trump’s argument doesn’t stand up to common sense.
Regardless of how President Trump tries to justify staying in Yemen, there’s no way to effectively justify it. By staying in Yemen, President Trump is saying that over one hundred thousand dead, fifty thousand wounded, and three million displaced people simply aren’t enough.
Someday, we’ll look back on our involvement in Yemen and wonder how we could have ever supported such a humanitarian disaster. Until then, innocent Yemenis will keep dying, and President Trump is to blame.