Half a dozen peace activists from the group Anti Endless War and Excessive Military Spending rallied outside Senator Jack Reed’s Cranston office on Wednesday. Here is their statement:
We rally to urge Senator Jack Reed to speak out against the continuing bombing and starving of Yemeni civilians by the Saudi coalition that the United States is arming and providing logistical support to. The humanitarian disaster that has been going on for over four years is clear to the world. Senator Reed voted against a bi-partisan measure that would have halted our participation in this slaughter back in March. In a floor speech at that time, he noted many things that gave him pause in terms of supporting our participation there and hoped that the Saudi planes would not be attacking civilian targets and that humanitarian aid could get through to people in need.
Since that time, things have gotten much much worse there. All of the things that gave Senator Reed pause have continued and the changes that he hoped would occur to moderate them have not happened. Reed, Whitehouse and eight other Democrats trusted the Trump administration to pursue policies that would address these concerns. But it has not.
In fact, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has blocked any chance to revisit this issue on the floor of the Senate (after numerous incidents of Saudi bombs killing Yemeni children brought Yemen back into the headlines for a day or so).Democrats attached riders to the military appropriations bill that asked for a review of Saudi actions prior to extending more aid, but the sections of the defense spending bill dealing with Yemen also gave Secretary of State Michael Pompeo the power to set aside any conclusions found if national security dictated that.
We never had to wait for that to happen because Pompeo unilaterally ruled to continue aid to the Saudi war effort.
We will be outside Senator Reed’s office to urge him to speak up against what we are doing in Yemen, to argue that profits from arms sales to the Saudis is not a good reason to aid and abet war crimes against innocent civilians.
We can find news about the continuous bombing of hospitals and a recurrence of famine every week on the internet. These are exactly the things that Senator Reed worried about back in March. Why is he silent on this issue, one he clearly understands very well? (See here and here.)