'Mad Dog' Mattis Urges Congress to Continue US Support for Saudi Arabia's Destruction of Yemen
While experts and anti-war activists are demanding Congress end U.S. complicity in Saudi Arabia’s war with Yemen—which has caused what the U.N. has called “the worst man-made humanitarian crisis of our time”—Trump Defense Secretary Gen. Jim “Mad Dog” Mattis is actively urging lawmakers to reject the bipartisan resolution that would do just that.
In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)—obtained Wednesday by the Washington Post—Mattis claims that ceasing U.S. military support for the Saudi-led coalition “could increase civilian casualties, jeopardize cooperation with our partners on counterterrorism, and reduce our influence with the Saudis—all of which would further exacerbate the situation and humanitarian crisis.”
U.S. military support for the Saudi-led bombing, as Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), noted last week, includes “providing mid-air refueling to Saudi and UAE warplanes during their bombing runs, as well as targeting assistance for their bombs, and other logistical aid.”
In addition to civilian bombing deaths, consequences for Yemen—one of the world’s poorest nations—also include, Weisbrot lamented, “more than eight million people on the brink of starvation” and “the worst epidemic in the modern history of cholera, a waterborne disease that has sickened more than a million people there and has killed thousands.”
As the Wall Street Journal notes, Mattis’s personal appeal to McConnell is “part of an aggressive Pentagon effort to derail a resolution that could come up for a vote next week, when Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrives in Washington to meet with President Donald Trump.”
The joint resolution in question—sponsored by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), and Mike Lee (R-Utah)—was introduced late last month and calls for “the removal of United States Armed Forces from hostilities in the Republic of Yemen that have not been authorized by Congress.”
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