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Sens. Murphy, Sanders And Lee Lead Bipartisan Effort To End U.S. Support Of Yemen War

Jon Gambrell
Yemeni soldiers allied to the country's internationally recognized government stand guard in Marib, Yemen in February. Yemen's conflict, which began as a civil war in 2014 and escalated into a regional proxy fight, drags on today.

The U.S. Senate has voted to advance a measure to withdraw U.S. military support for the Saudi Arabian-led coalition fighting in Yemen.

Democratic U.S. Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut joined Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah in co-sponsoring the resolution.  

During the Senate debate Murphy argued that the U.S. should withdraw military support because Saudi authorities have lied about their indiscriminate bombing campaign in Yemen. Murphy says a UN report found that the Saudi conduct of the war would likely amount to war crimes under international law.

“The United States cannot be part of a bombing campaign that maybe, probably is, intentionally making life miserable for the people inside of that country.”  

Sanders argued that it is Congress – not the president – that has the constitutional authority to authorize U.S. military involvement in a war.

“The time is long overdue for the Congress to reassert its constitutional authority in determining when and where our country goes to war. If you want to vote for a war, vote for a war. But we as a Congress have got to accept our constitutional responsibility. That is ours not the president’s.”

The resolution gained support among a bipartisan majority in the Senate after many senators said they were outraged that Saudi authorities lied about the killing of Saudi journalist and U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi at their diplomatic consulate in Turkey.

President Donald Trump has been reluctant to blame Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the murder.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.