Amid reports that civilian deaths have "surged dramatically" in Yemen since June, when the Saudi-led coalition launched an offensive to take control of the port city Hodeidah, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) on Wednesday officially introduced a highly anticipated resolution invoking the War Powers Act of 1973, in hopes of ending American support for the coalition's attacks and the resulting humanitarian crisis.
Breaking! @RepRoKhanna has just introduced legislation invoking the War Powers Act and directing the Trump administration to pull US troops from the civil war in #Yemen. It is time for our unconscionable participation in this war to end. https://t.co/D1Q8RFi6V0
— Win Without War (@WinWithoutWar) September 26, 2018
The resolution (pdf) "directs the president to remove United States Armed Forces from hostilities in the Republic of Yemen, except United States Armed Forces engaged in operations authorized under the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force...not later than 30 days after the date of the adoption of this concurrent resolution unless and until a declaration of war or specific authorization for such use of United States Armed Forces has been enacted into law."
"The unauthorized U.S. role in the war has given rise to the worst humanitarian disaster in the world, made the U.S. complicit in countless war crimes and violations of international law, and undermined our national security interests."
—Paul Kawika Martin, Peace Action
The measure was immediately applauded by peace advocates and human rights groups that have long charged, as Paul Kawika Martin of Peace Action outlined Wednesday, that "the unauthorized U.S. role in the war has given rise to the worst humanitarian disaster in the world, made the U.S. complicit in countless war crimes and violations of international law, and undermined our national security interests."
"This House resolution offers a glimmer of hope to the suffering people of Yemen because if the U.S. withdraws its support for the Saudi-led bombing, a negotiated settlement is sure to follow," responded CODEPINK co-director Medea Benjamin.
— CODEPINK (@codepink) September 26, 2018
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"This resolution should be a no-brainer for Congress. What more do they need to finally end this tragedy?" said Elizabeth Beavers, associate policy director for Indivisible. "If they're not persuaded by the fact that the U.S. is engaging in unauthorized warfare, the growing civilian body count should demand their attention."
William D. Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy, noted: "Rarely does Congress have an opportunity make a difference in the lives of millions of people. This legislation is one such chance, and the time to act is now."
"Rarely does Congress have an opportunity make a difference in the lives of millions of people. This legislation is one such chance, and the time to act is now."
—William D. Hartung, Center for International Policy
Last year, Khanna was part of a small group of House members who were demanding an end to U.S. complicity in the war and introduced a similar measure. "One year later, the bloodshed continues with widespread destruction and disease contributing to the world's worst humanitarian crisis. U.S.-fueled planes continue to drop U.S.-made bombs on innocent victims," he said in a statement Wednesday. "This time around, our coalition to end the war has expanded and the call for withdrawing U.S. involvement is louder."
Backed by a bipartisan group of nearly two dozen lawmakers, Khanna asserted that withdrawing U.S. support for the coalition "is now a mainstream position within the Democratic Party," and that he is "confident the House Republican leadership will allow this resolution to come to a vote and that members of the House will hear from their constituents in support of our position against this unauthorized war contributing to Yemen's humanitarian catastrophe."
Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, is one of the resolution's co-sponsors. "The U.S. should be aggressively pushing a peaceful solution to end this civil war instead of supporting the Saudi-led coalition military campaign that has only destabilized the crisis further," the congressman charged on Twitter Wednesday.
The U.S. should be aggressively pushing a peaceful solution to end this civil war instead of supporting the Saudi-led coalition military campaign that has only destabilized the crisis further.
— Rep. Adam Smith (@RepAdamSmith) September 26, 2018
The resolution's other co-sponsors—which include the ranking members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee as well as the Rules Committee—are: Reps. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), Michael Capuano (D-Mass.), Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.), Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas), Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.), Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.), Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), Gwen Moore (D-Wis.), Walter Jones (R-N.C.), Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.).