Small Wars Journal

After Yemen Vote, Question Remains: When is the US at War?

After Yemen Vote, Question Remains: When is the US at War? By Missy Ryan – Washington Post

When is the United States on the sidelines, and when is it at war?


That question is at the heart of the debate over an unprecedented congressional challenge to the Trump administration’s support of Persian Gulf nations mired in Yemen’s civil war.


Voting 247 to 175, largely along party lines, House lawmakers on Thursday passed a measure that for the first time uses the ­Vietnam-era War Powers Resolution to force an end to U.S. participation in an overseas conflict.


President Trump is expected to veto the legislation, which culminates several years of congressional opposition to the U.S. involvement in the war. The war has pitted Saudi Arabia and other gulf nations against the Houthi rebel group in what has become a proxy conflict between U.S. allies and Iran.


The resolution — approved in the Senate last month — says the U.S. military has “been introduced into hostilities” in Yemen, “including providing to the ­Saudi-led coalition aerial targeting assistance, intelligence sharing, and midflight aerial refueling.”


The Trump administration has argued that because the military is not dropping bombs or sending ground troops into combat, it plays a supporting role that cannot be constrained by the resolution…

Read on.


As to this question -- "when is the U.S. at War?" -- possibly consider the following from the Old Cold War?


The United States and the Soviet Union face each other not only as two great powers which in the traditional ways compete for advantage. They also face each other as the fountainheads of two hostile and incompatible ideologies, systems of government and ways of life, each trying to expand the reach of its respective political values and institutions and to prevent the expansion of the other. Thus the cold war has not only been a conflict between two world powers but also a contest between two secular religions. And like the religious wars of the seventeenth century, the war between communism and democracy does not respect national boundaries. It finds enemies and allies in all countries, opposing the one and supporting the other regardless of the niceties of international law. Here is the dynamic force which has led the two superpowers to intervene all over the globe, sometimes surreptitiously, sometimes openly, sometimes with the accepted methods of diplomatic pressure and propaganda, sometimes with the frowned-upon instruments of covert subversion and open force.