This morning Congressman John Curtis addressed his colleagues on the House floor, calling for all of us to reconsider supporting a war that has claimed the lives of 85,000 children and threatens 14 million people with famine. As a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Congressman Curtis has been closely following the recent developments in the war between Saudi Arabia and the Houthi Rebels in Yemen. After the Senate’s historic vote in rebuke of the disastrous war, he felt compelled to speak out.
“It is my fear that our continued support of this war will only increase resentment of the United States in the region. It will diminish U.S. security and undermine America’s moral authority and reputation as a champion of our foundational values such as human rights and civil liberties. In addition to the horrendous humanitarian cost in Yemen itself, it makes the entire region less secure and makes humanitarian disasters in the wider region more likely. But more importantly, what’s happening in Yemen is just simple wrong. It’s not in harmony with our values and ironically, the very reason we want a strong alley in Saudi Arabia is to prevent this type of situation not foster it.”
This is one of the world’s deadliest wars, killing tens of thousands of civilians. In his address, Congressman Curtis stressed that ending our support for the Saudi-led coalition highlights the gross inhumanity of the war and that the we do not support the way the conflict in Yemen is being conducted. It underlines our growing concerns about the behavior of Saudi Arabia as it effects larger American strategic interests in the region and our interest in preserving global humanitarian norms. Ending our support for the war will force the Saudi-led coalition to reconsider its policies and will signal our support for peace negotiations, as called for by the Administration.
Congressman Curtis has a long record of being a vocal leader against the conflict. The day he was sworn in as a Member of Congress, Congressman Curtis joined the House in passing a resolution calling on all parties involved in the conflict to adopt all necessary and appropriate measures to prevent civilian casualties and to increase humanitarian access, and call on all parties to the conflict to allow for unobstructed access for humanitarian organizations, human rights investigators, medical relief personnel, and journalists. In addition, the resolution denounced the conduct of the war in Yemen that is, directly or indirectly, inconsistent with the laws of armed conflict, including the deliberate targeting of civilian populations or the use of civilians as human shields.
Congressman Curtis ended his speech by acknowledging American foreign policy requires a balance between our national security and moral values. In the case of the war in Yemen, these competing imperatives are not in conflict. Ending US support for the war in Yemen supports both American strategic interests and humanitarian values.