Congress Can Still Stop US Support for the War on Yemen

Originally appeared at The American Conservative.

The Washington Post reports on the latest effort to cut off U.S. support to the Saudi coalition:

A group of Republican and Democratic lawmakers is making a new push to end the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen amid intensifying criticism of the air war following an attack on a rebel-run prison that may have killed more than 100 people Sunday.

The lawmakers’ goal is to prohibit US logistical support for the coalition’s airstrikes through an amendment to the annual defense policy bill, a move that they hope would effectively ground the air campaign by banning the US provision of spare parts that Saudi Arabia needs to maintain its planes. The measure would also restrict certain forms of intelligence-sharing.

The amendment, first presented by Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna of California, already passed in the House’s version of the defense authorization, and now members of both chambers are pressing their colleagues not to remove it during conference negotiations with the Senate.

The House and Senate have previously passed standalone resolutions to end US involvement in the war and to cut off arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, but the president has vetoed each and every one. The hope in attaching this measure to the defense authorization bill is that the larger bill is too important for Trump to veto simply for the sake of continuing US support for the Saudi coalition. The administration has already abused its power and flouted the Constitution to keep this despicable policy going, so it wouldn’t surprise me if the president and his allies move to strip this amendment from the final bill. If the amendment survives, it is possible that Trump would be forced to sign off on the end of a terrible policy that he has continued and expanded over the last two and a half years. The ongoing efforts in Congress to put a stop to our shameful role in this catastrophe should be commended, and it is a shame that the president’s intransigence has prevented the end of US involvement for so long.

There has never been a good argument for US support for this war. The US should never have been involved, and our involvement has enabled the world’s worst humanitarian disaster and thousands of war crimes against innocent Yemeni civilians. Now that members of the Saudi coalition are fighting among themselves and sowing even more chaos in Yemen, the time has come to force the issue and halt all US military assistance to members of the coalition. Congress can still stop US support for the war on Yemen, and it is about time that it did so.

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at The American Conservative, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and is a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Dallas. Follow him on Twitter. This article is reprinted from The American Conservative with permission.