Bipartisan Letter Calling on Pentagon to Withhold US Support for Disastrous Assault on Yemen’s Major Port

WASHINGTON, DC (June 13, 2018) US Representatives Mark Pocan (D-WI), Justin Amash (R-MI), Ro Khanna (D-CA), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Walter Jones (R-NC), and Ted Lieu (D-CA) this week led a bipartisan letter calling on Secretary of Defense James Mattis to stop a disastrous military assault by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on Hodeida, Yemen’s major port city. In the letter, Members called for the US to reject providing logistical, military, and diplomatic support for the Saudi-led coalition’s operation, as well as disclose the full scope of the US involvement in the Saudi-led war.

“We urge you to use all available means to avert a catastrophic military assault on Yemen’s major port city of Hodeida by the Saudi-led coalition, and to present Congress with immediate clarification regarding the full scope of US military involvement in that conflict,” wrote the Members. “We remind you that three years into the conflict, active US participation in Saudi-led hostilities against Yemen’s Houthis has never been authorized by Congress, in violation of the Constitution.”

“We are concerned that in the midst of a Senate effort to exercise its constitutional authority to end unauthorized hostilities – including US targeting and refueling assistance for Saudi-led airstrikes against Yemen’s Houthis – the Pentagon may have concealed key information from members of Congress regarding the full extent of on-the-ground US military participation in the Saudi coalition-led war,” continued the Members.

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War Powers and Federal Spending Hearing Video

A Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee held a hearing on war powers granted by the Constitution and whether or not a new Authorization for Use of Military Force is needed for current U.S. military engagements. Attorneys and legal experts from across the political spectrum, including former judge Andrew Napolitano and law professor Jonathan Turley, testified about Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution which grants Congress the power to declare war, and put forward several examples from history, including 2001’s Authorization for Use of Military Force, in which Congress gradually forfeited its war powers to the Executive Branch. In attendance were Senators Mike Lee, Jeff Merkley, Gary Peters, Bernie Sanders, Rand Paul, and Tom Lee.

Recapturing Congress’s War Powers: Repeal, Don’t Replace, the 2001 AUMF

From today’s Cato Institute event, featuring Gene Healy, Vice President, Cato Institute; and John Glaser, Director of Foreign Policy Studies, Cato Institute; moderated by Jeff Vanderslice, Director of Government Affairs, Cato Institute.

Healy and Glaser discuss the practical consequences of Congress’s abdication of its war-making powers and how Congress can reassert its rightful place as the branch of government responsible for determining the time, place, and targets of war.

Congress’s most solemn constitutional duty is to determine whether, where, and against whom the United States will engage in war. Yet for far too long, legislators have ceded that responsibility to the executive branch, allowing multiple administrations to use the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) as a blank check to wage war whenever and wherever the president decides.

As Congress determines how to respond to growing demands for a new AUMF, it should beware of proposals that would institutionalize mission creep by surrendering more authority to the executive branch. Instead, Congress should repeal — and not replace — the 2001 AUMF.

Stephen Kinzer on “The Terrorist Who Almost Killed Me”

Luis Posada Carriles, CIA asset and wanted terrorist, died last week free in Miami at age 90. This article is from 2011. Stephen Kinzer remembers:

It was a simple whim that saved my life: I had finished reporting in Barbados quicker than anticipated and so I changed my flight to Havana, getting on an earlier plane. Two days later, a terrorist blew up the Cuba-bound flight I had been booked on.

All 73 people aboard perished. I would have been the 74th.

On Monday, the man believed to have masterminded this horrific attack in 1976, Luis Posada Carriles, will go on trial in El Paso, Texas. But perhaps because he spent most of his adult life working for the Central Intelligence Agency, he is not being tried for that crime.

Read the rest at The Daily Beast.