Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, called out the administration of President Donald Trump Wednesday for its continued participation in the brutal war being waged in Yemen. The conflict has killed at least 10,000 civilians, wounded at least 40,000 and displaced 3 million people, the senator said.
"Every 10 minutes, a child under the age of five dies of preventable causes in Yemen," Sanders noted on Twitter. "What few Americans know, however, is that the U.S. military is making the crisis worse by helping one side in the conflict bomb innocent civilians."
The U.S. became involved in the war by supporting Saudi Arabia's attacks against Yemen, providing intelligence and aerial refueling, under President Barack Obama. The conflict has functioned as something of a proxy war, with Iran backing the Yemeni side against the U.S.-backed Saudis.
The United Nations has warned that the war could cause the "largest famine the world has seen for many decades with millions of victims."
Sanders, along with Connecticut Democrat Sen. Chris Murphy and Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee, held a press conference Wednesday calling on the administration to end its support for the Saudis. Given that war-making powers belong to Congress, they argued that U.S. activities in the conflict are unconstitutional.
"Without congressional authorization, our engagement in the war in Yemen should be restricted to providing desperately needed humanitarian aid, and diplomatic efforts to resolve it," said Sanders.
However, Pentagon officials say that since U.S. forces are not directly involved in hostilities, nothing the administration has done falls outside the powers of the president.
Whether Congress or the administration has the ultimate authority in these matters, it remains clear that this devastating conflict has been supported in the name of the United States with far too little public debate.
The bipartisan group of senators is working to make sure Americans understand the atrocities being done in their name.