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It’s Time for Congress to End US Involvement in the Saudi-Led War on Yemen

Saudi Arabia could resume its bombing campaign and blockade of Yemen when the ceasefire expires at the end of July.

A doctor examines a malnourished baby at the malnutrition treatment department of a hospital in Sanaa, Yemen, on July 16, 2022.

U.S. critics are still buzzing with outrage about President Biden’s recent chummy fist bump and meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, accusing Biden of betraying his promise to make Saudi Arabia a “pariah” after the brutal murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

But it’s not just Khashoggi’s blood that’s on the Saudi crown prince’s hands. With U.S. support, Saudi Arabia has waged a horrific war and blockade on Yemen since 2015. We now have an opportunity to put a stop to our country’s participation in this senseless war that has taken the lives of nearly 400,000 civilians in Yemen.

As a Vietnam War veteran, I saw firsthand that the cost of war is horrendous, and those who suffer the most are those caught in the crossfire. That is why I am urging members of Congress to join Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Patrick Leahy, and more than 100 members of the House in co-sponsoring the Yemen War Powers Resolution to end the U.S.’s support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

We can’t wait to act. Although the warring parties negotiated an extension of a recent truce, Saudi Arabia could resume its deadly bombing campaign and blockade of Yemen when the ceasefire expires at the end of July. Given this crucial point in peace negotiations, it’s critically important for the U.S. to act swiftly. We must pass the Yemen War Powers Resolution now.

By signing onto the Yemen War Powers Resolution, members will add to the momentum gaining now in Congress to end U.S. support for the devastating war and build pressure on the Saudi-led coalition to extend the ceasefire and peace talks.

From my time in Vietnam as a medic, I have seen and dealt with the heartbreaking, deadly impacts that war has on the people of a country under attack. These victims of war are not just statistics or collateral damage, these are human beings deserving of our help and sympathy. The war in Yemen has led to a full-blown humanitarian crisis about which the United Nations has expressed grave alarm. Beyond the 400,000 Yemenis who have been killed as result of the war, approximately 16 million Yemenis are at risk of acute malnutrition, and millions more are on the verge of famine.

And given the global spike in wheat prices caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the U.N. is warning that without immediate action, the situation is “about to get much worse” before it gets better.

The ceasefire has allowed humanitarian organizations to reach previously inaccessible populations. A return to fighting would likely curtail the life-saving actions of aid organizations, as well as private-sector supply chains, exacerbating hunger and death.

Congress never authorized U.S. support of Saudi Arabia’s brutal war on Yemen. Yet, the U.S. continues to provide critical support for the Saudi military’s offensive capabilities in this war, including through logistics, intelligence sharing, and providing spare parts and maintenance that the Saudi Air Force needs to continue bombing.

Saudi Arabia is using the support provided by the U.S. to wage a years-long attack on the people of Yemen. It is time to end the suffering and dying caused by these endless wars. Congress must pass the Yemen War Powers Resolution and end U.S. complicity in the deaths of Yemeni civilians.

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