Bernie Sanders to Pompeo: Yemeni Lives Are Worth More Than Contractor Profits

American-made bombs are being used to massacre large numbers of civilians in Yemen, and new reporting shows that the Trump administration is allowing this carnage to continue and escalate in order to protect the profits of defense contractors.

Just days after the Yemen-based human rights group Mwatana gave CNN exclusive access to documents showing that US-manufactured bomb fragments have been found at the scene of at least 11 separate Saudi-led attacks on Yemeni civilians since 2015, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo opted to continue American military support for Saudi Arabia over the objections of his staff in an effort to preserve $2 billion in weapons sales to the brutal monarchy.

“Pompeo overruled concerns from most of the State Department specialists involved in the debate who were worried about the rising civilian death toll in Yemen,” the Journal reported, citing a classified State Department memo. “He sided with his legislative affairs team after they argued that suspending support could undercut plans to sell more than 120,000 precision-guided missiles to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).”

“Secretary Pompeo’s certification last week that the Saudi-led coalition was taking appropriate steps to protect civilians in Yemen was ridiculous on its face,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) wrote in response to the Journal’s reporting on Thursday. “But now we find out that Pompeo overruled the advice of his own State Department experts and legal advisers in order to make that certification to Congress, because he feared not doing so would endanger US arms sales to the Saudis and Emiratis currently destroying Yemen.”

“Mr. Pompeo: human lives are worth far more than defense contractor profits,” Sanders added. “The Senate must also investigate this effort to mislead us.”

News that Pompeo’s decision to “certify” US military support for the Saudis was motivated by a desire to appease war profiteers comes shortly on the heels of CNN‘s report detailing the American-made bombs that have been used to slaughter Yemeni civilians since 2015.

“This report makes it clear that the United States is participating in the commission of war crimes,” Win Without War wrote on Twitter. “Congress must stop our participation in the war in Yemen and it must stop it now.”

In seven of the 11 attacks examined by CNN and the human rights organization Mwatana, bomb fragments were traced back to the major American defense contractor Raytheon — which stands to profit massively from the Trump administration’s recent arms deals with Saudi Arabia.

“Yemeni civilians are dying every day because of this war and you (America) are fueling this war, so stop fueling this war,” Radhya al-Mutawakel, chairwoman of Mwatana said in a statement. “It is a shame that financial interests are worth more than the blood of innocent people.”

The US, al-Mutwakel added, bears a “legal and moral responsibility for selling weapons to the Saudi-led coalition.”

Raytheon did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.

In a Twitter thread reacting to CNN’s report, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) — one of the few members of Congress who has worked on legislation to end American support for the Saudi-led coalition’s assault on Yemen — wrote, “How can someone look at these photos and continue to support this war in Yemen?”

“While this reporting just confirms what we already knew, seeing the photos of these US-made bombs should be a wake-up call to all Americans,” Khanna concluded.