THE SENATE VOTE this month to end U.S. support for the war in Yemen marked a historic break from a bipartisan embrace of a pro-war foreign policy, yet it was accomplished without strong backing from Washington’s liberal foreign policy infrastructure.
The resolution, co-sponsored by Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Chris Murphy, D-Conn., invokes the rights laid out in the War Powers Act of 1973 that assert Congress’s authority over war, and it was the result of many months of work by a coalition of progressive activists and anti-war lawmakers. The war is Saudi-led, but the U.S. has provided critical support, and an end to that support effectively means an end to the war.
Backers of the effort approached the Center for American Progress, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the American Civil Liberties Union, and all declined to specifically endorse the resolution or become members of the activist coalition. And when a procedural vote on the resolution came to the House floor, it got the same kind of half-hearted support from Democratic leadership, falling just three votes short.