Leaders of Both Parties Crush Attempt to Enforce War Powers Act

As a top U.N. official warns of the largest famine in decades, the U.S. Congress debated its war against Yemen and came up with a resolution that could have largely been written by Saudi publicists.  The U.S. House of Representatives pushed aside a bill that actually had teeth.  The original Khanna bill would have used the War Powers Act to stop U.S. involvement in the Saudi War against Yemen.  It had gained 45 co-sponsors.  But it was opposed not just from a Republican leadership eager and its pro-Saudi-royalty president, but also by the Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer.  He was urging Democrats to refuse to sign onto the bill.  In the end the bill and it was sent to oblivion in committee.  Another bill was put in its place and guaranteed one hour of debate.

It was House Resolution 599. It was neither a bill to stop our warfare nor a bill to declare war on Yemen.  It had nothing in it about U.S. weapons sold to the Saudis or U.S. mid-air force refueling of Saudi bombers.  Instead it provided false history of the bloodshed and our involvement wrapped in a fig leaf of pious clauses urging the warring parties to obey humanitarian law.

When you inspect the resolution’s “whereas” sections you see the entire situation framed with the Saudi kingdom’s legal assertions.  It claims that “In 2014 after years of violence and insurgency, Iranian-supported Houthi rebels seized the Yemeni capital “.  The Iranian bugaboo is in there right at the start and all through the resolution.  In fact this analysis is topsy-turvy.  Whatever Iranian military aid the Houthis received came after the Saudis started bombing in 2015.   

U.S. House Resolution 599 claims the Saudi intervention was justified in these words , “Whereas the Saudi-led Arab Coalition launched a military intervention in 2015 against the Houthi-Saleh alliance in response to the deposition of the legitimate Government of Yemen.”   Nowhere does it mention that by law the United Nations Security Council must authorize military action by foreign or international forces, something that has never happened.

 It actually praises Saudi air force targeting saying, " the Saudi-led Arab Coalition has worked to improve their targeting processes and capabilities aimed at reducing unintended civilian casualties."  It  mentions that Yemen is suffering 500,000 cases of cholera , but emptily blames it on “the war”.  No mention in it that Saudi bombing has destroyed the clean water infrastructure. 

The bill makes not one demand on Saudi Arabia, calls for no suspension in international arms sales to the kingdom and puts no pressure on the Trump Administration.  Instead it salutes the Saudi kingdom as it declares the U.S. House of Representatives “supports the Saudi-led Arab Coalition’s 14 commitments to abide by their no-strike list and restricted target list and improve their targeting capabilities.” The only country criticized in the bill Iran.  The bill “condemns Iranian activities in Yemen in 18 violation of UNSCR 2216” and blesses “the interdiction of Iranian weapons to the Houthis.”

Yes, the bill notes that Congress never approved this war on Yemen.  Many commentators are mentioning this trying to put the best possible lipstick on this pig of a bill.  So Congress notes the president has gone to war on his own say so. So what?

Is it any wonder that this sense of the House resolution passed overwhelming with some of the most reactionary politicians in the House speaking for it with enthusiasm.

Sure we want good news, but this bill is worse than nothing.

Congressional Supporters of Bill to Stop Yemen War State Their Case in the New York Times


Here’s a powerful statement by three members of Congress advancing a measure that would end U.S. participation in the war: Stop the Unconstitutional War in Yemen 10/10

 and on Democracy Now 10/16

and in the Washington Post 10/3

Urge your Rep. to co-sponsor the Khanna-Massie Bill to stop the Saudi famine in Yemen

Reps. Ro Khanna, Thomas Massie, Mark Pocan, and Walter Jones have introduced a privileged bipartisan bill invoking the War Powers Resolution to force a floor vote on ending U.S. participation in Saudi Arabia's famine-producing war in Yemen. The current cosponsors are: Conyers, Lieu, Capuano, Ellison, McGovern, Lee, Raskin, Jayapal, Gabbard, Bass, Pallone, DeFazio, Nolan, Lofgren, Cohen, and Slaughter.

If your Rep. is not yet a co-sponsor, call them now at (202) 224-3121. When you reach a staffer or leave a message, you can say something like:

"I urge Congressman ***** to co-sponsor the privileged bipartisan Khanna-Massie resolution to prohibit unconstitutional U.S. participation in the Saudi war in Yemen."

If your Rep. is already a co-sponsor, please thank them for co-sponsoring the bill.

Just for the record here’s what the Saudi ambassador, Abdallah Y. Al-Mouallimi,  has to say:
"It’s Up to the Rebels to Stop Yemen’s War" Oct 3 in the New York Times

Two responses:

1. What happened in Yemen was none of Saudi Arabia’s business.  The U.N. never authorized force to save the Hadi regime, neither from Saudi Arabia or anyone else.

2. "Yes, there is cholera" the ambassador blandly admits.  He blames it all on Houthi "failures of management and distribution".  The same spirit as the British who watched the Irish die during the potato famine or the American officials who dismissed their murder by sanctions in Iraq in the 1990's.

We dare the ambassador to read a single webpage, the Mayo Clinic description of  the effects of cholera of the human body.  Or he can just read these two sentences:  Imagine the catastrophic loss of a quart of fluid an hour via excretion, often accompanied by vomiting that goes on for hours. Without enormous fluid intake the victim can die within a day.  His government has condemned a million Yemenis to suffer this hell. 

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