Don’t cheer yet about the House resolution to end the US role in the decimation of Yemen. There’s a giant loophole that allows President Trump to keep up his support of Saudi Arabia’s bombings.
On Wednesday, the US House of Representatives voted 248-177 in favor of pulling US troops out of the war on Yemen. Known as House Joint Resolution 37, the bill now moves on to the Senate, which approved a similar measure in November. But don’t get excited.
The resolution, supported by 18 House Republicans and the entire Democratic caucus, also included an amendment from Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colorado), which allows “the sharing of intelligence between the United States and any foreign country if the President determines that such sharing is appropriate.”
That means that even if the resolution passes the Senate and overcomes a White House veto threat, it won’t make much of a difference. The Saudis rely on US intelligence to determine what targets to attack, despite the fact that the mainstream media refers constantly to a “Saudi-led coalition.”
The Pentagon quit mid-air refueling of Saudi warplanes late last year, about the same time the Senate passed a similar resolution against the unconstitutional war on Yemen. Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) had led on the issue of questioning the US alliance with Saudi Arabia, but it wasn’t until journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered upon orders from the Saudi government that the four-year-old war on Yemen garnered wide awareness.
Unfortunately, the current effort to stop the war could become nothing more than a campaign rallying point for the opportunists seeking four years of government housing in 2020. Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) have co-sponsored the legislation. It remains to be seen if they will confront the F-15-sized loophole that guts the bill’s fundamental goal.
Bad bills get passed all the time. And the rare legislation supported by libertarian-leaning House Republicans like Thomas Massie of Kentucky or Justin Amash of Michigan is never perfect. But was this one worth it? Not in the case of Amash it would seem. He voted “present” as if to protest the bill without opposing it. Massie voted yea, as did Freedom Caucus members Mo Brooks of Alabama, Jim Jordan of Ohio, and the caucus chairman Mark Meadows of North Carolina.
Here’s hoping that the Senate will correct the flaws in the resolution. Last November, every Democrat and 14 Republicans in the Senate voted for just that. Even Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) defied Secretary of State Mike Pompeo from the floor at the time, saying, “I found their briefing today to be lacking. I found that in substance we’re not doing those things that we should be doing to appropriately balance our relationship with Saudi Arabia between our American interests and our American values.”
As the US national debt soars past $22 trillion, foreign policy remains the defining issue of this era. The empire will cripple the republic and fold in on itself under economic pressure if this course isn’t reversed soon.