Reps. Ro Khanna, Mark Pocan, and Walter Jones explain why they are co-sponsoring H. Con. Res. 81 to halt U.S. support for the war on Yemen:
We believe that the American people, if presented with the facts of this conflict, will oppose the use of their tax dollars to bomb and starve civilians in order to further the Saudi monarchy’s regional goals. Our House resolution is a first step in expanding democracy into an arena long insulated from public accountability. Too many lives hang in the balance to allow this American war to continue without congressional consent. When our bill comes to the floor for a vote, our colleagues should consider first the solution proposed by the director of Unicef, Anthony Lake, for stopping the unimaginable suffering of millions of Yemenis: “Stop the war.”
I applaud the Congressmen for their leadership on this issue. It would be easy for members of Congress to ignore what is being done to Yemen with our help, and challenging U.S. involvement in any war is always an uphill battle, but if any war involving the U.S. should be challenged and halted it is this one. The U.S. policy of enabling the Saudi-led war on Yemen serves no American interests, but more to the point it is a completely indefensible war that brings enduring shame on the U.S. for our role in helping to make it possible and keep it going. The chief reason to halt U.S. involvement in the war is that by doing so it will make it much more difficult for the coalition to continue its intervention. That will create an opening to negotiate a lasting cease-fire so that Yemen’s appalling humanitarian crisis can be properly addressed and a more stable political settlement can be negotiated. It would also extricate the U.S. from a disgraceful campaign that has made our government complicit in coalition war crimes, and it would reassert Congress’ role in matters of war after almost two decades of abdication.
We are all familiar with the pro-Saudi talking points that will be used to oppose the resolution, so let me answer them now. First, supporters of the war will say that the U.S. has to support our “allies” as they “defend themselves.” This is wrong on all counts. The Saudi-led coalition isn’t fighting in self-defense, but rather to install a deposed ruler in a country that hates him. The threats that the Saudis now face from Yemen are the product of their intervention, not the reason for it. Most important, these states aren’t our allies, we have no treaties with them that oblige us to help them attack their neighbors, and the U.S. doesn’t owe them anything. War supporters will also conjure up the specter of Iranian involvement as a reason to continue enabling the wrecking of Yemen, but that both grossly exaggerates the extent of Iran’s involvement and fails to grasp that Iran benefits from having its regional rivals bogged down in an unwinnable war. Besides, even if Iran played the role that the coalition claimed the Saudis and their allies would have no right to devastate an entire country in response.
The House should pass H. Con. Res. 81. Ideally, it would pass by a wide margin, and I hope it does. Each time a measure to limit or halt U.S. support for the war on Yemen has come up for a vote, it has received more support than the one before it. I would like to think that is because decent people in this country are naturally horrified the more that they learn about this disaster and our role in it. Members of the House will have the chance to go on record whether they want our government to continue enabling an atrocious war. I urge them to vote to stop U.S. involvement so that the war on Yemen may finally be brought to an end.