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Bernie Sanders Demands End to U.S. Complicity in Yemen Carnage

Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent. (Gage Skidmore / Flickr)

Anti-war voices are praising a new “must-read” New York Times op-ed in which Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called on Congress “to redefine our relationship with Saudi Arabia, and to show that the Saudis do not have a blank check to continue violating human rights” by revoking U.S. support for the Saudi and UAE-led war in Yemen.

Noting that the humanitarian crisis in Yemen “has only worsened and our complicity become even greater” since the Senate voted in March to block a resolution (SJ Res. 54)—introduced by Sanders, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.)—to end military support for the Saudis, Sanders wrote that he will bring the measure back to the floor next month.

“Amen!” tweeted CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin. “We have been in the Senate all week pushing for this bill. Join us.”

Media critic Adam Johnson, an outspoken opponent of U.S. wars and imperialism, simply said, “this is good folks.”

Concluding that there are “so many excellent points in this op-ed” that she didn’t “even know where to begin,” Laura Pitter of Human Rights Watched tweeted, “Just read it.”

As Sanders stated in his op-ed, “The likely assassination of the Saudi critic and Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi underscores how urgent it has become” to immediately cease American complicity in the Saudi assault on Yemen, which has produced the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Since Khashoggi disappeared, Sanders and many others have urged the Trump administration to “reevaluate” the U.S. relationship with the kingdom.

In addition to denouncing the “brutal murder” of Khashoggi, Sanders detailed how “the United States is deeply engaged in this war” in Yemen, and how it is “a strategic and moral disaster for the United States.” Specifically, he pointed out that “we are providing bombs the Saudi-led coalition is using, we are refueling their planes before they drop those bombs, and we are assisting with intelligence.”

While the Trump administration has defended U.S. involvement—even as the coalition has dropped American-made bombs on schoolchildren—the bombing campaign has killed, wounded, and displaced thousands of civilians, and created a hunger crisis that the U.N. recently warned could cause 13 million people to starve to death.

As the Times published the senator’s op-ed on Wednesday, Saudi airstrikes reportedly killed 21 people in Hodeidah, where civilian deaths have “surged dramatically” since June, when the Saudi-led coalition launched an offensive to take control of the port city.

As Sanders plans to bring his resolution back to the floor, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.)—who also wrote an op-ed about ending U.S. support for the war, published by the San Francisco Chronicle last week—is leading a similar effort in the House of Representatives.

“Not only has this war created a humanitarian disaster in one of the world’s poorest countries, but also American involvement in this war has not been authorized by Congress and is therefore unconstitutional,” Sanders concluded. “I very much hope that Congress will act, that we will finally take seriously our congressional duty, end our support for the carnage in Yemen, and send the message that human lives are worth more than profits for arms manufacturers.”

Jessica Corbett / Common Dreams

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