Americans should support the impeachment and removal of President Donald Trump, but not for Ukrainegate. In fact, they should oppose his impeachment on Ukrainegate grounds completely.
Trump’s real offense is waging an un-authorized, unconstitutional, illegal, treasonous and for-real genocidal war against the human beings of Yemen. His war crimes in Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, Syria and Iraq have at least taken place in conflicts supposedly authorized by Congress, making the legal cases against actions there somewhat more complicated.
But in Yemen, no law, only presidential orders, have authorized our military, spies, arms merchants and mercenaries to “lead from behind” in this disastrous war of the so-called “Saudi-led coalition” against the civilian population there.
The previous Yemen war, the CIA and air force drone war against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which began in 2009, the lawyers argued, was legal under the Authorization to Use Military Force against the group that attacked the United States on September 11th 2001. They were, after all, involved in the attack, and had previously bombed the USS Cole in 2000. Of course that drone war only backfired, empowering the al Qaeda enemy by radicalizing the local population. It turns out a 500-pound bomb isn’t a “scalpel” in real life, like they say in Washington.
But this is not that war. This is the war that President Barack Obama and then-Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman started back in March 2015. It’s not a war against AQAP at all. In fact, from the very beginning it’s been a war for AQAP and their allies against their deadly enemies, the Houthi movement of Zaidi Shi’ite tribes from the north of the country who seized the capital city of Sana’a at the end of 2014. The Houthis had been helping the U.S. to fight against AQAP.
Strikes against AQAP have continued as well, mostly to bad effect. But even the blowback from that failed policy amounts to nothing compared to the gains al Qaeda has made from fighting on what is now America’s side in the war, mostly due to their association with the mercenary forces of the United Arab Emirites, a major partner in the U.S.-led coalition.
By the time Obama switched to their side in the war, AQAP had also inspired the Ft. Hood massacre, attempted to blow up a plane over Detroit, launched an attempted bomb attack on a U.S. cargo plane and massacred the staff of Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris, France in January 2015.
That same January, Obama’s undersecretary of defense for intelligence, Gen. Michael Vickers, announced that the U.S. was working with the new regime against al Qaeda. Just two months later, Barack Obama betrayed the Houthis and sided with al Qaeda against them.
The AUMF does not cover that.
And let’s get it straight. America is the “Superpower”; Saudi Arabia is our client state. Obama didn’t have to do anything. In fact, to hear his war cabinet tell it, they can barely remember starting the war at all.
Robert Malley, Obama’s coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa and Gulf Region, recently wrote (get this):
“Why the U.S. got entangled in this war — and why a president so determined to keep the country out of another Mideast military mess nonetheless got caught in this one — makes for a painful a story. [sic] In March 2015, Saudi Arabia came to the U.S. with a request for support in a campaign it vowed to conduct regardless. After that, and although events took place a mere four years ago, memories blur. In our conversations, many former U.S. officials found it hard to recall what precisely the Saudis asked for, what specific commitments the administration made in response, and when certain types of assistance started to flow. Some, including one of us who attended the deliberations, recall a deeply ambivalent president who greenlighted U.S. support but insisted it be confined to the defense of Saudi territory and not extend to the war against the Houthis. Others don’t recall hearing about that instruction, and struggle to reconcile it with what the U.S. actually did during the war — including refueling coalition sorties and replenishing weapons stocks.
“Yet all agree the decision ultimately came without much debate. The reason, at bottom, was straightforward: Here was a partner (Saudi Arabia) seeking help in restoring a government (that of President Hadi) the U.S. regarded as legitimate and a loyal ally in the war against al-Qaeda. That government had been toppled by an insurgent group (the Houthi or Ansar Allah); although the extent of its ties to Iran was debatable and debated, their existence was indisputable. Plus, all this came at a time when relations between Washington and Riyadh already were deeply damaged by disagreements over the Obama administration’s response to the Arab uprisings and, even more so, its negotiations over a nuclear deal with Tehran. As Riyadh saw it, doing nothing would mean permitting control by a Hizbollah-like organization of its southern border, ensconcing a perpetual threat. Rebuffing the Saudi request at any time likely would have provoked a serious crisis in Saudi/U.S. bilateral relations. Doing so while the U.S. was seeking a landmark agreement with the kingdom’s sworn enemy could have brought them to breaking point. That was a risk even a president skeptical of the wisdom of Saudi policies and willing to call into question elements of the relationship was not prepared to take.
Poor helpless President of the United States of America. Unlike, say, Iran’s nuclear weapons program, the Houthis’ “existence was indisputable.” What could Obama possibly do at that point than stab them, his actual anti-al Qaeda allies, in the back and take MBS and Ayman al Zawahiri’s side against them? It’s high treason His Royal Highness wants, it’s high treason he gets.
So this treasonous war is unauthorized and therefore un-Constitutional. It’s also a war that is in violation of the War Powers Resolution, and not only technically speaking. Lo and behold the unbelievable fact that both houses of the U.S. Congress have voted to invoke the War Powers Resolution, demanding an end to the war. They even passed the same version at the same time and sent it to the president’s desk earlier this year. He ‘vetoed’ it. So the unauthorized, unconstitutional, treasonous war is also in the narrow sense, illegal.
But what’s this about genocide? That could fall under the War Crimes Act. That’s exactly what it is.
The strategy of the U.S.-Saudi campaign has been to target Yemen’s water, electric and sewage systems, hospitals, markets and farms – where they bomb the grain silos, flocks of sheep in the field, irrigation systems and whatever else they can target to destroy the basic infrastructure supporting the lives of the civilian population, especially in the north of the country. During the last world’s worst cholera outbreak in history before the current one, the U.S.A. and their Saudi friends bombed the cholera hospitals just to be sure to kill as many babies as possible.
All the while the U.S. Navy helps the Saudis and UAE keep the place under blockade, preventing virtually all international trade, and limiting the availability of humanitarian aid.
The most powerful nation in world history, barely hiding behind its proxy, is decimating the poorest, weakest country in the Middle East.
Yemen is not a country that ever attacked us or threatened us. Even the Houthis’ anti-American slogans were only adopted to embarrass their then-enemy and later-ally, dictator Abdullah Saleh, for being so close to the George W. Bush administration in the 2000s.
As referenced above, the Houthis were helping the Obama government fight al Qaeda at the time he started bombing them. And he only did it to “placate the Saudis” over their unease about the possibility of a new (absolutely out of the question) American slant back toward Iran while negotiating the 2015 nuclear deal.
The latest numbers from the group ACLED Data have it that over 100,000 people have been killed in the violence of the war, while the UN recently said that more than 133,000 additional people had died in the war due to deprivation (starvation, otherwise easily treatable diseases, etc.). This includes 85,000 children under 5 years old, many thousands of whom died of cholera. That is, they vomited and defecated themselves to death.
[Insert mental image of a young child you know and love dying that way and you being absolutely unable to do anything about it here.]
From the very beginning it was known that this very poor country was heavily dependent on foreign food imports for their survival and that the state of war would immediately propel masses to famine. And so it has.
So you see, the war is un-authorized, unconstitutional, illegal, treasonous and genocidal all at the same time. It is as bad as Iraq War II at least. When the whole thing is finally over, we are virtually certain to find that the “excess death rate” for the Yemeni people during this time equates to over a million dead.
But Donald Trump could have stopped the war almost three years ago. He could stop it right now with one simple phone call to the secretary of defense. Instead he crows about how much money “we’re” making helping Saudi’s government kill.
This is the same reason why I have supported impeachment and removal against George Bush Sr., Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama before Trump: war crimes.
Not only should Trump be removed from office for this wanton murder, he should have to share a Supermax cell with his buddy Barack Obama for the rest of their lives over it too.
That would be the law and justice being applied to the powerful equally like in the theories they teach us in high school civics class about how our system is supposed to work.
But folks. Come on now. That is not what this current impeachment scandal is at all. America’s secret police, formerly under John “Jabhat al Nusra” Brennan, are leading a coup against the elected leader of the national government. Cry as they might about how uncouth Trump is, the real motive for the entire Russiagate setup was their fear that he might actually mean some of the good things he said about “getting along with Russia,” his disregard for the NATO alliance and unwillingness to continue America’s indefinite catastrophe in the Middle East.
Like the fools who believed in him, all the hawks took what Trump said at face value and went crazy. Treat the Palestinians “fairly”?! Red Alert! DEFCON 1! Treason Summit!
But Trump has escalated every single one of the wars he inherited from Barack Obama in 2017. He’s done everything the Israelis want. But it’s just not enough. Trump doesn’t believe in America’s divine mission to dominate the planet earth – er, “lead” it – until the end of time. He doesn’t demand the rest of us do either. His terrible trade policies also are “disruptive” to our system of permanent alliances around the world. That is why the “deep state” is out to get him.
After failing to stop Trump’s inauguration with their false accusations that he conspired with the Russians to steal the 2016 election, and chucking the possibility that they could get his cabinet to overthrow him by invoking the 25th amendment, the feds settled on a project to “reign him in” at the very least by dragging out the fake Russia caper as long as they could.
Once the special council threw in the towel after another year of false Russiagate accusations, they switched to Plan B. Now that it’s clear that the “whistleblower” Eric Ciaramella, formerly worked for Brennan, this entire thing should be cancelled. It doesn’t matter that Trump was caught acting unethically with the Ukrainians, the presumption must be that Ciaramella was acting as a spy for the CIA against the elected president, sent there to find something, anything that could be used against Trump to take him down. Wait around a little while. It won’t take long.
(Isn’t it funny how most of the media still won’t say the man’s name, Eric Ciaramella, after it’s already been published. Isn’t their job now to either confirm it’s true or not that he’s the one who started this? Oh, no, they just love and want to protect whistleblowers now, right? That must be what’s behind all the recent fawning coverage of Chelsea Manning’s current sacrifice in federal prison.)
Opposing the U.S. coups in Ukraine in 2004 and 2014 and U.S. support of any kind for their Nazi-infested military forces, and being absolutely against Joe Biden and everything about him, and his scumbag, crackhead son and their roles in Ukraine after the last coup, I am therefore also very dubious about just what a terrible crime it is supposed to be that Trump would hold up this “vital” aid to Ukraine under these or any other circumstances. This is the narrative, you’ve noticed: Americans – you – owe Ukraine’s government loyalty forever. To fail to give them the weapons they need to restart the horrible war against their countrymen in the east would be an unpardonable sin and so-forth. Call it another clue as to what is really going on around here.
To allow the CIA this win – after they’ve gotten away with using torture to lie us into war in Iraq and their presumption to challenge the authority of the Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee by spying on her and attempting to have the Department of Justice prosecute her staffers for investigating that torture; after the revelations of their lawless NSA-like spying on Americans in the Vault 7 leak; after their supporting al Nusra in Syria for 4 years leading to the rise of the Islamic State “caliphate” and Iraq War III; after they lied that the president of the United States was a guilty traitor who stole the 2016 election with the help of the Kremlin – would be no victory for justice at all.
After racking up a president’s head as a trophy for their wall (a second?), just think what these monsters would be like then.
It’s pretty easy to tell when there’s a CIA coup going on. When they openly boast about it, as former acting CIA director John McLaughlin recently did, then you should be on the right side of it, against.
Any real effort to hold all politicians accountable for their crimes under the equal rule of law should be welcomed and supported. We’ll believe it when we see Obama’s indictment right next to Trump’s.
Scott Horton is editorial director of Antiwar.com, director of the Libertarian Institute, host of Antiwar Radio on Pacifica, 90.7 FM KPFK in Los Angeles, California and podcasts the Scott Horton Show from ScottHorton.org. He’s the author of the 2017 book, Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan and editor of the 2019 book, The Great Ron Paul: The Scott Horton Show Interviews 2004–2019. He’s conducted more than 5,000 interviews since 2003.