EDITOR’S NOTE: Each week we cross-post an excerpt from Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column at the WashingtonPost.com. Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.
What does it take to get Congress to act on vital questions of war and peace? The catastrophe in Yemen may test whether Congress is finally prepared to exercise its constitutional responsibility. Four legislators—two House Democrats and two Republicans—have introduced a resolution under the War Powers Act demanding a vote in 15 days to end US involvement in Saudi Arabia’s devastation of Yemen.
The resolution, co-sponsored by Democrats Ro Khanna and Mark Pocan (the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus) and by Republicans Thomas Massie and Walter Jones, requires the “removal” of US forces from the war in Yemen unless Congress votes to authorize American involvement. Beginning under President Barack Obama, the US military has assisted the Saudi campaign in Yemen, providing tankers for aerial refueling and targeting intelligence against the Houthi rebels said to be backed by Iran. US support was reportedly part of a deal to get Saudi Arabia to be more supportive of the war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
The Saudi-led campaign in Yemen has been central to creating what UN officials call the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. The carpet-bombing of civilian areas has helped produce borderline famine for 7 million, 20 million in need of humanitarian aid and a spreading cholera epidemic that has already reached 700,000 cases and killed more than 2,000.
Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.