Last month we looked at Ted Lieu's valiant crusade to wake members of Congress up to the dangers inherent in the American participation in the savage Saudi onslaught against Yemen. War monger and military-industrial complex whore Ed Royce has it tightly bottled up in the Foreign Affairs Committee but 4 senators brought it up on the other side of the Capitol yesterday. The resolution to disapprove of the $1.15 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia was introduced by Rand Paul (R-KY), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Al Franken (D-MN) and Mike Lee (R-UT) and McConnell immediately introduced a motion to “table” (i.e., kill) it. McConnell's motion passed 71-27.
Paul and Lee were able to deliver 2 more Republicans, Mark Kirk (IL) and Dean Heller (NV). The Democrats who voted against it included Harry Reid but generally it was the liberals like Bernie, Elizabeth Warren, Tammy Baldwin, Mazie Hirono, Brian Schatz, Ed Markey and Tom Udall who were the pro-peace forces. Democrats who are part of the military industrial complex– like Schumer, Feinstein, Warner, McCaskill, Menendez, Shaheen, Carper, Heitkamp, Donnelly, Coons, Manchin were happy to make common cause with war-mongers like Rubio, Graham, Cotton, Ayotte, McCain, Sessions, Inhofe, Toomey, Cruz, Blunt and, of course, Wisconsin's blood-thirsty Ron Johnson. Unforunately, liberals like Sherrod Brown (General Dynamics makes the 130 Abrams tanks on the Saudi shopping list in Ohio), Jack Reed, Sheldon Whitehouse and, most disappointing, Jeff Merkley voted with the bad guys on this. As of last week, General Dynamics has spent $175,500 bribing senators this year– $132,000 on Republicans and $43,500 on Democrats. (They also spent $855,250 in the House– but we'll come back to that if the House winds up voting on Lieu's resolution at all.)
When you look at which senators have taken the most bribes from the military industrial complex, you find 18 current members having accepted over $500,000. Only one, Dick Durbin, voted against killing the resolution.
• Richard Shelby (R-AL)- $1,824,541
• John McCain (R-AZ)- $1,751,818
• Barbara Milkulski (D-MD)-$944,510
• Thad Cochran (R-MS)- $880,686
• Jeff Sessions (R-AL)- $857,577
• Bill Nelson (D-FL)- $796,256
• Miss McConnell (R-KY)- $756,054
• Jack Reed (D-RI)- $735,432
• Jim Inhofe (R-OK)- $657,799
• Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)- $645,705
• Susan Collins (R-ME)- $603,851
• Lindsey Graham (R-SC)- $596,581
• Patty Murray (D-WA)- $568,104
• Dick Durbin (D-IL)- $548,017
• John Cornyn (R-TX)- $540,926
• Mark Warner (D-VA)- $508,818
• Dan Coats (R-IN)- $502,633
After Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski voted to continue shipping arms to the genocidal Saudi war machine, we asked Ray Metcalfe, the progressive running for her seat this year, what he would have done if he was in the Senate yesterday. He had a very sensible approach– which is why Blue America has endorsed him and why we urge people to contribute to his grassroots campaign. “As a freshman Senator,” he told us, “I would not profess to be all knowing on all questions. The first thing I would have would have been to consult with the people I trust the most, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Not having the advantage of their advice as a candidate for the U.S. Senate, here are my thoughts.”
The civil war in Yemen is one more example of the centuries old civil war between Sunni and Shi'a Muslims, with the Saudis supporting the Sunni and the Iranians supporting the Shi'a, and we have no business in such an endless war.
The Saudis have been bombing Yemen and not only killing civilians but de facto supporting the Islamic State and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The Shi'as, called Houthis, have been fighting Al Qaeda and IS all along. I have always thought that Saudi Arabia was actually financing IS in Yemen.
Imagine if the Iranians were bombing Yemen! Kerry, Hillary, and Obama would be raising hell, as would the Republicans. We say nothing when the Saudis bomb Yemen.
The Saudis also invaded and occupied Bahrain to keep the Sunni king ruling the predominately Shi'a population there. Imagine if the Iranians invaded Bahrain to put the Shi'a in power, as they should be.
The Saudis also recently executed the leading Shi'a cleric in Saudi Arabia, and are holding numerous Shi'a political prisoners. Frontline, on PBS, recently did an expose on this.
I would have voted with Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
In a press release, Amnesty International said they were glad that the debate has begun even if the Senate failed to act.
Ahead of today’s vote, 64 Members of Congress urged President Obama in a letter to the White House to postpone the latest arms sale so that the U.S. Congress could properly debate the issue. Amnesty International USA’s Board of Directors also sent President Obama a letter this month urging him to cancel the arms deal.
“Today’s vote is the latest example of the growing voice of dissent in Congress when it comes to the United States’ selling arms to Saudi Arabia,” said Sunjeev Bery, Amnesty International USA Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “U.S. officials know that the Saudi government continues dropping bombs on civilian communities and yet the Obama Administration continues selling it weapons. This arms deal is bad for the people of Yemen, bad for the region and bad for U.S. foreign policy. President Obama should cancel it immediately.”
The president of Oxfam America, Ray Offenheiser, told the media that the U.S. has been fueling the conflict in Yemen for half a year, threatening the lives of millions without any meaningful debate. “The parties fighting this war,” he said, “including the Saudi-led coalition supported by the US, have demonstrated a startling indifference to civilian lives… [T]he courage and common sense of a minority of senators will be cold comfort to the millions of Yemenis struggling to survive without adequate food or health services amidst daily bombing and shelling. Today, millions of Yemenis are on the verge of starvation and more than 10,000 children under 5 have died from preventable diseases. Every tank, missile, and gallon of jet fuel supplied by the US to the Saudi-led coalition is a clear signal that the US is indifferent to Yemen’s misery.”
“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.” — Sinclair Lewis