Home/Daniel Larison/The House Should Vote to End the U.S. Role in the War on Yemen

The House Should Vote to End the U.S. Role in the War on Yemen

Rep. Ro Khanna issued a press release on the resolution that he is co-sponsoring with three other House members that would end U.S. involvement in the war on Yemen:

Reps. Ro Khanna (D-CA), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Mark Pocan (D-WI), and Walter Jones (R-NC) have introduced a bipartisan resolution that seeks to stop U.S. military participation in Saudi Arabia’s war against the Houthis in Yemen. This is an entirely separate war from the fight against Al Qaeda, yet Congress has never authorized it. By invoking the War Powers resolution, these members want a congressional vote to officially withdraw U.S. forces from this unauthorized conflict.

At the very least, this resolution will force members in the House to debate what the U.S. has been helping the Saudi-led coalition do to Yemen, and it will put them all on record regarding their willingness to enable an atrocious war against a country whose people have done nothing to us. If the resolution passes, that would bring greater attention to the disgraceful policy that the Obama and Trump administrations have been conducting. It is an important first step in reasserting Congress’ role in matters of war and in trying to end U.S. involvement in a shameful war that our government should never have joined.

Zaid Jilani reports that the resolution, H. Con. Res. 81, is guaranteed to be brought up for a vote no matter what the leadership wants. He cites Kate Kizer of the Yemen Peace Project:

“H.Con.Res.81 is privileged under the War Powers Act of 1973, meaning it’s guaranteed a vote and doesn’t have to have the blessing of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Rules Committee, or leadership, who would normally block these things from getting to the floor because they don’t want to debate war,” Kate Kizer, director of policy and advocacy for the Yemen Peace Project, told The Intercept. “It will sit with the Foreign Affairs Committee for 15 calendar days and will then be discharged for consideration by the full House. At that point, any member of Congress can call the resolution up for a debate and floor vote.”

House members should vote for this resolution for several reasons. U.S. involvement in the Saudi-led war serves no national security interests, and it has nothing to do with combating threats to the U.S. or our allies. On the contrary, since the war began in March 2015 it has greatly strengthened Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and the local ISIS affiliate, and as such it has harmed U.S. security interests. The war has destabilized the region and devastated Yemen, and our enabling role has made us the enemy of tens of millions of innocent civilians that have never done a thing to us. Worst of all, the war has created conditions for widespread famine and malnutrition that threaten the lives of millions, and it is responsible for creating conditions for the worst modern cholera outbreak on record that may spread to as many as one million people before year’s end.

The governments that the U.S. has been helping do all this are all despotic regimes that have been waging this war for the bad cause of reinstalling a puppet ruler who has virtually no support in his own country, and in the process the U.S. has been aiding and abetting the coalition in the repeated and ongoing commission of war crimes. In short, the war is an indefensible horror that is also undermining our interests, and the U.S. should have no part in it. The administration could put an end to this disgrace right away, but since it will not it needs to be pressured to do so, and Congress is the only institution that can possibly rein in a destructive policy like this one.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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