This, according to Kate Kizer and Scott Paul, is the solution Yemenis need. We’re supposed to believe that the same people who have contributed to the atrocities inflicted upon the people of Yemen, led by the Saudis and the United Arab Emirates, with direct support from the United States, are going to police themselves. We’re supposed to believe that any congressional War Powers Resolutions are a waste of our resources.
Kate Kizer is a senior non-resident fellow at the Center for International Policy, a foreign policy think tank which has historically promoted peace, while Scott Paul is Senior Manager of Humanitarian Policy at Oxfam America, whose mission statement includes the line, “We offer lifesaving support in times of crisis.” These people are ostensibly part of the broader anti-war movement. However, in their recent article for War On The Rocks, “What Yemen Needs Now,” they argue that we must pursue “separate, alternative means to recalibrate the U.S.-Saudi and U.S.-Emirati relationships through the enforcement of U.S. and international human rights law more broadly.”
Yeah, that’s exactly what children dying of cholera and starvation in Yemen have been shouting from the rubble of their destroyed homes: “If only Uncle Sam would tweak his relationship with Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud…”
Now, you’d be hard pressed to find anybody within the antiwar movement who doesn’t support a reevaluation of how the U.S. government treats the Saudi and UAE monarchies. However, when the goal is to stop the destruction of the Yemeni people now, we must apply the principles of triage. When a man is shot in the chest, the medical team doesn’t hold off on life-saving care because they believe the best course of action would be to apprehend the gunman first. This would be the “life-saving support” that Scott Paul’s employer, Oxfam, speaks of. There is no reason to believe that we can’t fight to force Congress to lift the blockade and stop sending weapons and supplies, while also continuing to hold the powers that be accountable. They are not mutually exclusive.
This isn’t a new phenomenon, where progressive antiwar voices buckle under the pressure of the establishment. In December 2022 there was once again hope on the Senate floor, when Bernie Sanders was to bring his War Powers Resolution for Yemen up for a vote. Instead, he pulled the bill and announced, “I look forward to working with the administration who is opposed to this resolution and see if we can come up with something that is strong and effective. If we do not, I will be back.” What most of us hear when Sanders speaks is, “I don’t want to embarrass the Biden administration when he is forced to veto this resolution.” This is the cowardice we see when unprincipled grifters have a platform from which to speak.
The Senate floor and the deceitful publications that amplify its compromises have transformed into a twenty-first century Garden of Gethsemane. Only they don’t have to kiss the cheeks of the voiceless majority within antiwar circles. They need only bow at the feet of the War Party and call them master.
As they count their thirty silver coins for their compliance, the rest of us work for peace. The rest of us work for an end to the blockade. The rest of us work for a full withdrawal of military support. The rest of us work for passage of a new Yemen War Powers Resolution. And when we get that, we’ll push for accountability.