In the middle of last week, while attending a gathering of defense contractors, Jack Reed seemed to back away from his votes to cut US weapons sales and logistical support to the Saudi’s genocidal war against the people of Yemen.  Bills doing this passed the Senate 56-46 with bipartisan support last March, but President Trump vetoed them. The House has put these measures into their version of the defense spending bill; as ranking minority member of the House Armed Services Committee, Reed could greatly affect the shape of the Senate version of the bill.

The excuses he gave last week were lame and shocking, abandoning the Democrats’ insistence that Congress constitutionally decides if the US goes to war.   And they betray the citizens of Yemen, a majority of whom are children, who are being bombed and starved to death and deprived of medicine while their hospital and dams are targeted with US bombs and US logistical assistance.

Putting these measures into the bill gives Trump a choice — no funds for the Pentagon or further negotiations on the measures in the bill.  Why is Reed choosing to surrender preemptively to the bully in the White House and caving to McConnell who has ruthlessly marginalized the Democrats’ effectiveness in the Senate?  

Reed has said that UAE is pulling out of the war so it will end on its own ... eventually.  Does that mean he is OK with another 100,000 or 200.000 civilian deaths in the interim, more bombed dams and marketplaces and school buses full of childen?  This is morally repulsive.

Late in the week, Senator Reed put out a tweet with the hashtag #Yemencantwait and said he would continue to fight and to get others to support ending the Yemen War. Let’s hope he has regained his commitment to doing the right thing and now, when he matters most, fights to get the amendments into the defense authorization bill.

This war, the world’s largest ongoing humanitarian disaster, is what Senator Reed seemed hesitant to prevent last week.

David Oppenheimer

North Kingstown

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