A workshop presented by Margaret Flowers, Rich Whitney and Kevin Zeese at the 2020 Green Party Annual National Meeting
Although battles are still raging in Hodeidah, people displaced from the port city have already begun returning to their homes from Sanaa, as they struggle to feed their families in the Yemeni capital.
Since pro-Yemeni government forces began their assault on the highly strategic Red Sea city a year ago, the United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) in Sanaa has played the leading role in providing Hodeidah’s displaced with monthly food packages.
However, the WFP suspended aid distribution in Sanaa last month after disputes with the Houthis over the agency’s biometric system introduced to prevent the rebel movement from diverting aid.
The decision affects 850,000 people in the capital Sanaa, including Hodeidah displaced.
Staring at the prospect of starvation in the capital, some Yemenis have returned to their war-torn homes where they are more likely to secure their monthly rations.
Mohammed al-Boraie, 43, fled his house in Hodeidah’s al-Rabasah neighbourhood in June 2018 after hearing there were organisations in Sanaa that could help the displaced there. He left everything behind, prioritising the safety of his seven family members.
“A friend rented a house for me in Sanaa and that was the first step towards stability,” Boraie told Middle East Eye.
WFP aid suspension
displaced back home
With starvation threats looming, Yemenis are trickling back from Sanaa to find a battle-ravaged city
in Hodeidah, Yemen
Published date: 1 July 2019 13:45 UTC
“Then the sheikh of the neighbourhood registered my name as a beneficiary for WFP aid and I have been receiving food aid from the WFP since August 2018.”
Boraie used to work as a bus driver, but when he arrived in Sanaa he could not find any work and his family struggled with basic services and proper healthcare.
“During the last year, we were depending on WFP food aid and the food was enough for the whole month,” he said.
“If not for the WFP aid, my children would starve to death.”
Boraie never thought that the WFP would stop providing his family with the much-needed food – and was shocked when they did.
“When the sheikh told me that the WFP would not provide us with food, I changed all our plans as we cannot stay in Sanaa without it,” he said.
“We knew from the sheikh that the WFP would continue to distribute food aid in Hodeidah and they only suspended it in Sanaa, so there was no choice but to return to our house in Hodeidah.”
Boraie borrowed money for transportation from a friend and took his family back to Hodeidah on 23 June.
When he arrived, he found the city in a better state than it had been last year – regular life has returned to some extent, despite ongoing battles in the outskirts.
In fact, Boraie said, anxiety he faced about the fighting last year has been replaced by fears his family will die of starvation instead.
There are 3.3 million people internally displaced in Yemen, while the humanitarian crisis there remains the worst in the world.
Nearly four years of conflict and severe economic decline have driven the country to the brink of famine and exacerbated needs in all sectors, according to the UN.
An estimated 80 percent of the population – 24 million people – require some form of humanitarian or protection assistance. Some 14.3 million of those are in acute need.
Meanwhile, the number of people in acute need has grown 27 percent over the past year. Two-thirds of all provinces in the country are in a pre-famine state.
A reviving city
Last year the streets of Hodeidah were almost emptied of people, and many shops and companies were shuttered as residents fled the fighting.
Hodeidah’s port is the conduit through which the majority of Yemen’s imports arrive to the country, and fighting there threatened to significantly worsen the humanitarian situation and catapult millions in famine.
UN-led efforts have helped alleviate the fighting, and in turn residents have gradually been trickling back to the city.
Around Hodeidah the sounds of clashes can be heard, and occasional shelling hits residential areas. Yet Yemenis are managing to regain a sense of normalcy all the same.
“Residents of Hodeidah do not care about the battles as they believe clashes aren’t going to stop any time soon. Besides, they are working hard to find food,” said Mubarak al-Otomi, a 35-year-old resident of the city.
“I was displaced but I returned to Hodeidah after suffering in Sanaa because of a lack of basic services and food.”
If the displaced had proper services in displacement, they would not return to the city amid fighting
– Mubarak al-Otomi, Hodeidah resident
Otomi said opportunities for employment in Hodeidah were much greater than before, and relief organisations were doing their best to help people.
“I believe that life in our home is better than displacement – no one thinks about fleeing the city again even if battles arrive at our houses,” he added.
“If the displaced had proper services in displacement, they would not return to the city amid fighting.”
Fighting usually intensifies at night, and for a long time people rarely ventured out after dark.
As things have improved, however, men, women and children are increasingly seen out in the evenings, and have adapted to the ferocious sounds of war in the distance.
Abdulkhaleq al-Sawa, 53, is from Hodeidah but now living in Sanaa.
He told MEE that many displaced people like him haven’t returned home yet, but the suspension meant they could soon head back to Hodeidah
“No one can deny the role of the WFP in helping displaced people in Sanaa and I am one of them – I became dependent on organisations,” Sawa said.
Sawa has been living in his brother’s house in Sanaa since July 2018 but he believes it’s time to go home and resume his regular life.
“In Hodeidah I can find work again as an accountant with a local corporation, as I used to do before the war,” he said.
He added that his return to Hodeidah had been delayed due to the sweltering temperatures in the city. Without electricity to return to, cooling his Hodeidah home would be impossible, so it’s better to wait a couple of months until the climate chills somewhat.
“The battles are not a threat as we have already adapted to them, but it is difficult for children to enjoy their lives in the hot weather,” he said.
Back in Hodeidah, Boraie said he had been pleased to find his hometown so full of people when he returned.
“War changed our life for the worse,” he said. “I hope warring parties stop this war, so we can resume our work and children can resume their studies in a safe environment.”
President Trump’s Yemen Veto Turns Our Constitution Upside-down
The Green Party Peace Action Committee calls on the US House and Senate to overturn the President’s veto by the required two-thirds majority to not only end our involvement in the immoral war in Yemen, but to reclaim congressional authority over the imperial presidency. “This war is yet another in a string of illegal wars carried on by the US without the declaration of war by Congress, as required under the US Constitution in Article I Section 8,” said B. Keith Brumley, Secretary of the Wisconsin Green Party, “Congress has not declared war since 1941.”
Green Party of the United States
For Immediate Release:
April 24, 2019
Gloria Mattera, Co-chair of the Green Party of the United States, email@example.com
Rita Jacobs, Co-chair, Green Party Peace Acton Committee, firstname.lastname@example.org
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Despite his claimed opposition to endless US involvement in foreign wars, President Trump has vetoed a congressional resolution to end US participation in the Yemen war. In earlier comments, Trump brazenly declared that the value of Saudi arms sales is the most important consideration influencing his decision to continue supporting the Saudi war on Yemen. Thus, the murder of Khashoggi, the torture of human rights activists, and the creation of the worst ongoing civilian wartime suffering in the world is tolerable to Trump as long as Saudi blood money for weaponscontinues to flow to US defense contractors.
A bipartisan majority in both the House and Senate voted to end our involvement in this undeclared and illegal war. “Trump’s veto flies in the face of our Constitution that requires a simple majority to declare war, and should require a simple majority to end a war,” said Logan Martinez, a member of the Green Party of Ohio.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is an absolute monarchy that uses its vast oil wealth to enrich and empower the US Military-Industrial Complex which feeds on regional wars, international tensions, and public fear. In addition to massive spending on US weapons, the KSA has directed millions of dollars in campaign contributions to US politicians through lobbying agents.
The war in Yemen is primarily a one-sided, genocidal war against the poorest country in the Middle East. It is fully supported by the US government with weapons & targeting by our military. The people of Yemen have suffered four years of unimaginable violence and are now in a deep famine in which tens of thousands of people are starving.
The Green Party Platform states that “We demand repeal – not amendment — of the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) passed by Congress in response to the attacks of September 11, 2001, and oppose any other measure purporting to ‘authorize’ preemptive or illegal military action. In passing the AUMF, Congress abdicated its exclusive authority under the Constitution to declare war. It further violated the Constitution and betrayed its responsibility to the American people by delegating to the president – one person – virtually dictatorial power to commit acts of war whenever he or she chooses.“
Will the Stockholm Ceasefire in Yemen Hold?
A fragile truce between the Hadi government and Houthi forces in Yemen was secured in December after weeklong negotiations in Sweden. A small UN monitoring mission was rushed to the Yemeni port of Al Hudaydah to observe the agreement. Will the ceasefire hold in the context of Yemen’s very complex history?
Jay Tharappel, a Ph.D candidate at the University of Sydney explains the situation.
Jay says that according to the UN’s envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, both sides are largely adhering to the ceasefire… For the UN, the ceasefire is successful as it is allowing aid workers to come in and help the millions of Yemenis who are starving. “…As to whether the ceasefire will hold until late January when the next talks are held in Kuwait, I believe that it can even though there are constant violations it can still hold as long as the front line does not change much.”
One major issue is whether the customs revenues from the Al Hudaydah port are to go to the Yemen central bank in Aden run by the Hadi government, or instead to remain with Houthis’ banks. Jay says: “Let’s be very clear here, what ‘mutual troop withdrawal’ amounts to is the ending of the National Salvation Government (NSG); that is demanding that the Houthis concede control of the only port city that they have under their control. At present, most of the city is controlled by Houthis, which means that they have an interest in maintaining the ceasefire as long as possible, because that will allow food aid to flow in, whereas the Saudis have different interests, they want to seize control of Al Hudaydah because that would allow them to cut the NSG off from the sea. Roughly 75% of the population in Yemen lives under the control of the NSG, and they rely on the Al Hudaydah port for access to the sea. The Saudis would therefore like a ‘mutual troop withdrawal’ …The NSG has every right to believe that if they move out of Al Hudaydah, the Saudis will move in, as the Saudis have a track record of believing that might is right….The major issue is one of trust, whether the NSG can trust the Saudis or not. If they pull out, how do they know that the Saudis will not use their 150,000 troops to storm in claim victory?”
In the second part of the program, Jay gives a very concise history of Yemen starting with pre-WWI days when Yemen was to all intents and purpose split into two, with the Ottoman Empire controlling the northern part and the southern part being a British protectorate, right through to the present day. Jay also discusses the way that different cultural practices between peoples in different parts of Yemen manifest in varying religious practices and the way that people make money.
Jay denounces the claim that the outcome of the Yemen war is decided upon exclusively by outside forces. “Let’s ask the question: Which side can claim greater indigenous support? The Hadi government is based in Saudi Arabia, whereas the NSG is based in Yemen. The plain reality is that the bulk of the Yemeni state is behind the Houthis. The NSG is entirely indigenous. Some 150,000 troops are fighting alongside some 20,000 Al-Qaida fighters with weapons flown in from the US., Australia, Canada, and Britain, even the AP was forced to admit the following: ‘To win the Civil War against the Houthis, Al-Qaida are effectively on the same side as the United States.’ But how many people in the west know that? You have to ask yourself: Which side is more indigenous, and by far the largest side are native people, called rebels. But it is not a rebellion, it is a unification government.” Host John Harrison points out that semantics are very powerful, and once the word: ‘rebel’ is used, then all sorts of negative connotations are automatically assumed, and these connotations usually last for a long time whether justified or not.
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Above Photo: Fist raised, Spenser Rapone displays a slogan written inside his cap after graduating from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., in May 2016. (Courtesy of Spenser Rapone via AP)
Editor’s note: On the outside, Spenser Rapone’s West Point graduation uniform looked like all the other cadets’. Underneath his dress uniform, however, was evidence of his political views: a T-shirt bearing Argentine revolutionary Che Guevara’s image, and a cap that read, inside, “Communism will win.”
The shirt and hat made waves in the U.S. military community after Rapone posted photos of them on social media in September, and now he has been given an “other than honorable” discharge. According to The Associated Press, he was charged with “conduct unbecoming of an officer” after an Army investigation determined that he “went online to promote a socialist revolution and disparage high-ranking officers.”
In the following statement for Truthdig, Rapone explains his political beliefs.
I am a combat veteran with the First Ranger Battalion, a recent graduate of West Point and a former second lieutenant who was stationed at Fort Drum, N.Y. Since identifying myself as a socialist, there has been much controversy generated by a number of my public statements.
It began with my post on social media, in which I expressed my full and enthusiastic support of former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in his fight against racial injustice, white supremacy and police brutality. After revealing a picture of myself in uniform with the hashtag #VeteransForKaepernick, I was met by solidarity from my fellow soldiers, as well as harsh blowback from my chain of command.
To this day, I stand by my convictions, despite the efforts of ranking officers to pressure me into silence. I believe that standing up for the exploited and the oppressed is the most honorable thing we can do as people. No job should hinder or repress this pursuit, which is why I decided to resign my commission as an officer in the United States Army. My conditional resignation was denied by the secretary of the Army. Instead, the military forced me into either submitting an unconditional resignation or appearing before a board of inquiry—an adversarial trial in which a jury of senior officers would determine my fate. Rather than submit to the antics of what amounts to a show trial at best, I tendered my unconditional resignation. Passing judgment on me one last time, the military determined the character of my service to be “other than honorable.” Despite the brass prolonging my time in service, I have come to the conclusion that leaving the military altogether, whatever the circumstances, is the only moral way forward. During this ordeal, I have learned that I am far from alone in my feelings of disillusionment and betrayal within the rank and file of the U.S. military.
As a teenager, I believed the United States military was a force of good for the world. I thought that I signed up to fight for freedom and democracy, to protect my loved ones and my country from harm. My experiences showed me otherwise.
After bearing witness to the senseless destruction in Afghanistan during my combat deployment to Khost Province in the summer of 2011, I knew that our wars must be stopped. I was assigned to my platoon as an assistant machine-gunner. I took part in missions where human beings were killed, captured and terrorized. However, the horror wrought by the U.S. military’s overseas ventures is not limited to combat engagements alone. Some nights, we barely did anything at all but walk through a village. As such, the longer I was there, the more it became apparent that the mere presence of an occupying force was a form of violence. My actions overseas did not help or protect anybody. I felt like I was little more than a bully, surrounded by the most well-armed and technologically advanced military in history, in one of the poorest countries in the world. I saw many of my fellow soldiers all too eager to carry out violence for the sake of violence. There is no honor in such bloodlust; quite the contrary. I saw firsthand how U.S. foreign policy sought to carry out the subjugation of poor, brown people in order to steal natural resources, expand American hegemony and extinguish the self-determination of any group that dare oppose the empire. Idealistic and without a coherent worldview yet, I thought that perhaps pursuing an officer’s commission would allow me to change things and help put a stop to the madness. I was wrong.
It soon dawned on me how pervasive the military-industrial complex is. I studied, examined my own experiences and began to grasp more completely the horrors and impact of U.S. imperialism. Learning that over a million people have lost their lives since 9/11—the vast majority being innocent civilians—began to haunt me. Seeing that up to a trillion dollars a year were being diverted from education, health care and infrastructure in the U.S. to support our 800 military bases around the world began to feel increasingly maddening. Within the Army itself, one out of three women are sexually assaulted. The death of football player and later soldier Pat Tillman by friendly fire was covered up to sell a war. Generals responsible for war crimes—from the unbridled destruction of Afghan and Iraqi villages to the construction of torture prisons—are rewarded with accolades and political power. These sad and dishonorable truths increasingly grew impossible to ignore. The military was not the noble and selfless institution the commercials and Hollywood movies made it out to be—far from it.
At West Point, I soon found myself at odds with my future role as someone tasked with the responsibility of leading soldiers into battle. However, leaving West Point after my junior year would have meant returning to the enlisted ranks or finding a way to come up with a quarter-million dollars to pay the academy back. So I stuck it out, hoping I would find a way to reconcile this contradiction. Again, I was wrong. Upon returning to Fort Benning, Ga., to begin my training as an infantry officer following graduation, I was filled with dread. It was like I was in a place simultaneously familiar and unknown. There were things I noticed that my 18-year-old self could not have recognized before. Most strikingly, I observed the scope of the brainwashing within the ranks, from bald, buzz-cut, mostly teenage infantrymen fresh out of training, to college graduates eager to lead those naïve soldiers into America’s next war. I felt witness to a collective delusion—one that I was once a part of, but had somehow miraculously escaped. After nearly a year there, as I prepared to move to my new duty station at Fort Drum, one thing became clear: I cannot be a part of this any longer. I cannot kill or die for the U.S. military—no one should.
I know that I am not alone in feeling this way. My feelings and experiences are not an anomaly. I know, because I have had conversations with others who have expressed the same sentiments.
You are out there, and should you take the same steps that I have, I am with you. While the prospect is daunting, united together we have far more power than all of the generals and politicians combined. We possess the ability to grind this entire military machine to a halt. It is high time we live up to the trust and respect bestowed upon us by the people. Let our mutual love of humanity and our desire for liberation and peace be our guiding principles.
Most importantly, let us find common cause with the people of Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Yemen, Syria, Libya and so many others who have suffered at the behest of the United States. To those soldiers who I’ve heard from, and to those I haven’t yet, I hope that you too find the courage to lay your weapons down with me, and refuse your orders to kill and die for the benefit of a handful of ruling-class elites at the great expense of the rest of us. Freedom lies on the other side. Together, let us fight to put a stop to these endless trillion-dollar wars, and let us join our brothers and sisters around the world in putting a stop to all forms of exploitation, oppression and senseless violence.
Tuesday’s debate and vote in the U.S. Senate on whether to end (technically whether or not to vote on whether to end) U.S. participation in the war on Yemen can certainly be presented as a step forward. While 55 U.S. Senators voted to keep the war rolling along, 44 voted not to table the resolution to end it. Of those 44, some, including “leaders” like Senator Chuck Schumer, said not a word in the debate and only voted the right way once the wrong way had won. And conceivably some could say they were voting in favor of having a vote, upon which they would have voted for more war. But it’s safe to say that at least most of the 44 were voting to end a war — and many of them explicitly said so.
I use the phrase “end a war,” despite the fact that Saudi Arabia could continue its war without U.S. participation — in part, because it’s easier, and in part because experts have suggested that Saudi Arabia could not do anything like what it is doing without the participation of the U.S. military in identifying targets and refueling planes. It is of course also true that were the United States to go beyond what was under consideration on Tuesday and cease providing Saudi Arabia with planes and bombs, and use its influence as an oil customer and general war partner to pressure Saudi Arabia to end the war and lift the blockade, the war might end entirely. And millions of human lives might be spared.
Virginia Senator Tim Kaine has for years been a leading proponent of getting Congress to authorize wars, making clear that he wanted to keep those wars going but with Congressional authorization. This time was different. Kaine pushed publicly for votes to end U.S. participation in the war on Yemen. He and even his colleague from Virginia Mark Warner (!) voted to end the U.S. war. I’m not sure any senator from Virginia had ever done such a thing before. And, in fact, no senator from anywhere had ever voted on a resolution raised under the War Powers Act before, because this was the first time any senator had bothered to try such a thing. Kaine tweeted:
“Millions in Yemen may starve and 10,000-plus are dead because of a war with no end in sight, that the U.S. has stumbled into. Proud to support this proposal to direct the removal of U.S. armed forces.”
“Stumbled into”? Forget it, he’s rolling.
And Kaine was the least of it. To watch Dianne Feinstein argue for ending a war had a very Twilight Zone aspect to it. Look through the list of who voted “Nay” and re-define them in your mind as people who under just the right conditions (possibly including guaranteed failure to reach a majority) will sometimes vote to end a war. I’d call that progress.
But if you watch the debate via C-Span, the top question in your mind might not be “What incredible activism, information, accident, or luck got 44 people to vote the right way?” but rather “Why did 55 cheerful, well-fed, safe people in suits just vote for mass-murder?” Why did they? Why did they take a break for political party meetings in the middle of the debate, and debate other legislation just before and after this resolution, and walk around and chat with each other exactly as if all were normal, while voting for genocide?
The facts of the matter were presented very clearly in the debate by numerous U.S. senators from both parties. They denounced war lies as “lies.” They pointed out the horrendous damage, the deaths, the injuries, the starvation, the cholera. They cited Saudi Arabia’s explicit and intentional use of starvation as a weapon. They noted the blockade against humanitarian aid imposed by Saudi Arabia. They endlessly discussed the biggest cholera epidemic ever known. Here’s a tweet from Senator Chris Murphy:
“Gut check moment for the Senate today: we will vote on whether to continue the U.S./Saudi bombing campaign in Yemen which has killed over 10,000 civilians and created the largest cholera outbreak in history.”
Senator Jeff Merkley asked if partnering with a government trying to starve millions of people to death squared with the principles of the United States of America. I tweeted a response: “Should I tell him or wait and let his colleagues do it?” In the end, 55 of his colleagues answered his question as well as any history book could have done.
The ridiculousness of arguments for continuing the war was called out by senators on the floor. Senator Mitch McConnell and others made the claim made to them by Secretary of War (“Defense”) James Mattis, that ending U.S. participation in bombing civilians in Yemen would mean more civilian deaths in Yemen, not fewer. Others trotted out the claim made by Trump’s lawyers, parroting Obama’s lawyer Harold Koh, that bombing a nation flat is neither “war” nor “hostilities” if U.S. troops are not on the ground being shot.
Senator Bernie Sanders put a stop to such nonsense. He recommended trying telling the people of Yemen being bombed with U.S. bombs and U.S. targeting and U.S.-fueled planes that the United States is not really involved.
The idea that the full Senate should leave to a committee a matter the committee had not bother to touch in years was also appropriately laughed out of court.
Senator Mike Lee reassured his colleagues that ending the U.S. war on Yemen on grounds of illegality wouldn’t slow or halt any other illegal US wars. (I’m sure you’re relieved to hear that!)
To their credit, Senators Murphy and Lee and Sanders were very clear that a vote to table, rather than directly vote on, their resolution to end the war, would be a cowardly vote not to have a debate and not to obey the U.S. Constitution. And to their greater credit, they went ahead and had the substantive debate prior to the vote to table. In the past on at least one occasion of the many times that we’ve seen such resolutions brought forward in the House, the war-proponents talked substance while the opponents talked only procedure. This change, too, was progress.
So, why? Why did the Senate vote for genocide? And why is nobody surprised by it?
Well, the arguments made by the Senators on the right side of the debate certainly left something to be desired. Sanders spoke of the dead in the wars on Vietnam and Iraq, and they were all Americans. He said the war on Vietnam almost destroyed an entire generation of Americans. This was a war that killed 6 million people in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, plus 50,000 from the United States. How can people come to think about one-sided slaughters if we pretend they don’t really exist?
Senator Tom Udall said that from WWII until the presidency of Donald Trump the United States was a noble, law-abiding, altruistic leader of spreading democracy, although not quite perfectly. In so saying, Udall bestows on Trump a sort of magical power, as well as rewriting U.S. history. The U.S. public was allowed no vote on Tuesday. Neither was Trump.
The resolution itself was limited, marred by loopholes, and not truly whipped for by many of those who voted against tabling it. Perhaps a stronger resolution would have failed even more badly. Or perhaps a more coherent case against war would have been more persuasive. I do not know. But the notion that you should arm and assist the Saudi dictatorship in bombing people when it’s called anti-ISIS and not when it’s called anti-Houthi seems a trickier case to make than the one that you should stop arming and assisting in the slaughter of human beings, generating more enemies, impoverishing the public, draining funds from human needs, damaging the environment, eroding the rule of law, imperializing the presidency, militarizing your culture and schools and police, and aligning your government with a brutal monarchy.
Perhaps that’s a case that has to be made to the public first and then to the senators, but many senators made clear how they were thinking. Lee was not off in trying to reassure them about the setting of precedents. One of them openly worried that if refueling bombers that were blowing up people’s homes in one country was counted as “hostilities,” then refueling bombers that were blowing up people’s homes in any country could be counted as “hostilities.” And then what kind of a world would we have?!
So, a vote against one war is never just a vote against one war. It’s a vote to challenge, if ever so slightly, the power of the war machine. These Senators are paid not to do that.
Here is a list of Senators and their 2018 bribes (excuse me, campaign contributions) from dealers of death (excuse me, defense companies). I’ve indicated how they voted on tabling Tuesday’s resolution with a Y or N. A pro-war vote is a Y:
Nelson, Bill (D-FL) $184,675 Y
Strange, Luther (R-AL) $140,450 not in senate
Kaine, Tim (D-VA) $129,109 N
McSally, Martha (R-AZ) $125,245 not in senate
Heinrich, Martin (D-NM) $109,731 N
Wicker, Roger (R-MS) $109,625 Y
Graham, Lindsey (R-SC) $89,900 Y
Donnelly, Joe (D-IN) $89,156 Y
King, Angus (I-ME) $86,100 N
Fischer, Deb (R-NE) $74,850 Y
Hatch, Orrin G (R-UT) $74,375 Y
McCaskill, Claire (D-MO) $65,518 N
Cardin, Ben (D-MD) $61,905 N
Manchin, Joe (D-WV) $61,050 Y
Cruz, Ted (R-TX) $55,315 Y
Jones, Doug (D-AL) $55,151 Y
Tester, Jon (D-MT) $53,438 N
Hirono, Mazie K (D-HI) $47,100 N
Cramer, Kevin (R-ND) $46,000 not in Senate
Murphy, Christopher S (D-CT) $44,596 N
Sinema, Kyrsten (D-AZ) $44,140 not in Senate
Shaheen, Jeanne (D-NH) $41,013 N
Cantwell, Maria (D-WA) $40,010 N
Reed, Jack (D-RI) $37,277 Y
Inhofe, James M (R-OK) $36,500 Y
Stabenow, Debbie (D-MI) $36,140 N
Gillibrand, Kirsten (D-NY) $33,210 N
Rubio, Marco (R-FL) $32,700 Y
McConnell, Mitch (R-KY) $31,500 Y
Flake, Jeff (R-AZ) $29,570 Y
Perdue, David (R-GA) $29,300 Y
Heitkamp, Heidi (D-ND) $28,124 Y
Barrasso, John A (R-WY) $27,500 Y
Corker, Bob (R-TN) $27,125 Y
Warner, Mark (D-VA) $26,178 N
Sullivan, Dan (R-AK) $26,000 Y
Heller, Dean (R-NV) $25,200 Y
Schatz, Brian (D-HI) $23,865 N
Blackburn, Marsha (R-TN) $22,906 not in Senate
Brown, Sherrod (D-OH) $21,373 N
Cochran, Thad (R-MS) $21,050 Y
Baldwin, Tammy (D-WI) $20,580 N
Casey, Bob (D-PA) $19,247 N
Peters, Gary (D-MI) $19,000 N
Feinstein, Dianne (D-CA) $18,350 N
Moore, Roy (R-AL) $18,250 not in Senate
Jenkins, Evan (R-WV) $17,500 not in Senate
Tillis, Thom (R-NC) $17,000 Y
Blunt, Roy (R-MO) $16,500 Y
Moran, Jerry (R-KS) $14,500 N
Collins, Susan M (R-ME) $14,000 N
Hoeven, John (R-ND) $13,000 Y
Durbin, Dick (D-IL) $12,786 N
Whitehouse, Sheldon (D-RI) $12,721 Y
Messer, Luke (R-IN) $12,000 not in Senate
Cornyn, John (R-TX) $11,000 Y
Cotton, Tom (R-AR) $11,000 Y
Murkowski, Lisa (R-AK) $11,000 Y
O’Rourke, Beto (D-TX) $10,564 not in Senate
Rounds, Mike (R-SD) $10,000 Y
Warren, Elizabeth (D-MA) $9,766 N
Rosen, Jacky (D-NV) $9,655 not in Senate
Sasse, Ben (R-NE) $9,350 Y
Portman, Rob (R-OH) $8,500 Y
Nicholson, Kevin (R-WI) $8,350 not in Senate
Rosendale, Matt (R-MT) $8,100 not in Senate
Menendez, Robert (D-NJ) $8,005 Y
Boozman, John (R-AR) $8,000 Y
Toomey, Pat (R-PA) $7,550 Y
Carper, Tom (D-DE) $7,500 N
Crapo, Mike (R-ID) $7,000 Y
Daines, Steven (R-MT) $6,500 N
Ernst, Joni (R-IA) $6,500 Y
Kennedy, John (R-LA) $6,000 Y
Sanders, Bernie (I-VT) $5,989 N
Scott, Tim (R-SC) $5,500 Y
Ward, Kelli (R-AZ) $5,125 not in Senate
Enzi, Mike (R-WY) $5,000 Y
Fincher, Steve (R-TN) $5,000 not in Senate
Isakson, Johnny (R-GA) $5,000 Y
Lankford, James (R-OK) $5,000 Y
Shelby, Richard C (R-AL) $5,000 Y
Duckworth, Tammy (D-IL) $4,535 N
Burr, Richard (R-NC) $4,000 Y
Capito, Shelley Moore (R-WV) $4,000 Y
Gardner, Cory (R-CO) $4,000 Y
Mandel, Josh (R-OH) $3,550 not in Senate
Hassan, Maggie (D-NH) $3,217 N
Hartson, Alison (D-CA) $3,029 not in Senate
Brakey, Eric (R-ME) $3,000 not in Senate
Diehl, Geoff (R-MA) $3,000 not in Senate
Downing, Troy (R-MT) $2,700 not in Senate
Klobuchar, Amy (D-MN) $2,498 N
Blumenthal, Richard (D-CT) $2,090 N
Coons, Chris (D-DE) $2,027 Y
Leahy, Patrick (D-VT) $2,002 N
Alexander, Lamar (R-TN) $2,000 Y
Bennet, Michael F (D-CO) $2,000 N
Johnson, Ron (R-WI) $2,000 Y
Renacci, Jim (R-OH) $2,000 not in Senate
Rokita, Todd (R-IN) $1,500 not in Senate
Masto, Catherine Cortez (D-NV) $1,435 not in Senate
Booker, Cory (D-NJ) $1,380 N
Harris, Kamala D (D-CA) $1,313 N
Van Hollen, Chris (D-MD) $1,036 N
Thune, John (R-SD) $1,035 Y
Lee, Mike (R-UT) $1,000 N
Morrisey, Patrick (R-WV) $1,000 not in Senate
Petersen, Austin (R-MO) $1,000 not in Senate
Stewart, Corey (R-VA) $1,000 not in Senate
Young, Bob (R-MI) $1,000 not in Senate
Young, Todd (R-IN) $1,000 Y
Udall, Tom (D-NM) $707 N
Lindstrom, Beth (R-MA) $700 not in Senate
Murray, Patty (D-WA) $635 N
Mackler, James (D-TN) $625 not in Senate
Merkley, Jeff (D-OR) $555 N
Barletta, Lou (R-PA) $500 not in Senate
Monetti, Tony (R-MO) $500 not in Senate
Olszewski, Al (R-MT) $500 not in Senate
Paul, Rand (R-KY) $500 N
Faddis, Sam (R-MD) $350 not in Senate
Paula Jean Swearengin (D-WV) $263 not in Senate
Vukmir, Leah (R-WI) $250 not in Senate
Wilson, Jenny (D-UT) $250 not in Senate
Ross, Deborah (D-NC) $205 not in Senate
Hildebrand, David (D-CA) $100 not in Senate
Wyden, Ron (D-OR) $75 N
Singer, James (D-UT) $50 not in Senate
Schumer, Charles E (D-NY) $16 N
Sbaih, Jesse (D-NV) $5 not in Senate
Roberts, Pat (R-KS) $-1,000 Y
Franken, Al (D-MN) $-1,064 not in Senate
Kander, Jason (D-MO) $-1,598 not in Senate
Edwards, Donna (D-MD) $-2,700 not in Senate
Obviously one must look at numerous votes and other actions, and at bribes from previous years, and at the relative cost of running in each state, etc., but we do see here 51 of the 55 yes votes receiving weapons profits, and most of them near the top or middle of this list. And we see 42 of 44 no votes receiving weapons profits, and most of them near the middle or bottom of this list. Of the top 70 recipients, 43 voted yes. Of the bottom 20 recipients, 14 voted no.
A bigger factor would seem to be political party, since 45 of the 55 yes votes were Republican (plus 10 Democrats), and 37 of the 44 no votes were Democratic (plus 2 Independents and 5 Republicans). But this can hardly be separated from funding, as the amounts above are dwarfed by the money brought in and distributed to candidates by parties, with the “defense” profiteers giving the Republican party $1.2 million, and the Democratic Party $0.82 million. One can be very confident that neither party’s “leadership” privately asked its members to vote to end the war on Yemen. Publicly, the Republican party leadership urged a vote for continued genocide. If we look at party and money combined, we see that all of the Republicans who voted no are pretty low in the list, while the relevance of bribes is less clear with Democrats who voted yes. But a no vote as part of a majority — had such a thing happened — would have been unlikely to have pleased either party.
Then there’s the media problem. The Democratic Party-promoting MSNBC was silent, while NPR told its listeners that poor innocent Saudi Arabia was surrounded and under attack by the demonic Iran. The New York Timeseditorial board did better than its reporters. But if any coverage of the U.S. role in Yemen had made it onto television, then I would be able to find people when I travel around the United States who are aware that there is a war in Yemen. As it is, I can find few who can name any current U.S. wars. If Senator Sanders had opposed this war when he was running for president, instead of urging Saudi Arabia to spend more and get its blood-soaked hands dirty, progressives would have heard that — and I would have backed Sanders for president.
Or what if Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, ACLU and other groups claiming to support human rights had helped oppose the war on Yemen? Or what if pundits stopped referring to such groups as human rights groups and called them, instead, Pro-U.S.-War/Human Rights groups? Would that have made a difference?
What about the rest of us? I work for two groups that tried: RootsAction.org and World Beyond War. So did many others. Many formed big coalitions to try to have a bigger impact. Could we have done more? Of course. What about people who didn’t sign anything, go to anything, phone or email any Senators? It’s hard to say that any of us have clean hands.
I happened to read a column on Wednesday that proposed that everyone cease honoring any former U.S. president who owned people as slaves. I’m all for it. But the same column proposed as a noble and honorable factor being a decorated and “successful” (German) soldier. This gives me pause in denouncing slave-owners as “monsters.” Of course slavery is monstrous and those who do it are responsible for it. Their statues should all come down and be replaced by worthy ones, including ones of slavery-abolitionists and civil-rights activists, ideally memorials for movements rather than individuals.
But what if we come someday to understand that war is monstrous? Then what should we make of war supporters, including columnists? And what am I to make of things I myself thought a decade or three ago and now no longer think? Isn’t there something a shade monstrous about praising war on the anniversary of the 2003 attack on Iraq and at the same moment that the U.S. Senate is voting to kill the (non-“white”) people of Yemen? And yet, isn’t such behavior found in a column opposing racism, written by an anti-racism activist the work of something other than a monster? Perhaps senators aren’t monsters either. Perhaps we can bring them around yet. We have to try.