By Rand Paul, The American Conservative
Saudi Arabia’s air and naval blockade of Yemen is an abomination. For years now, ships that would otherwise carry food, fuel, and medicine to the country have been turned away by the Saudi-led coalition, depriving the Yemeni people of the necessities to sustain civilization. Saudi Arabia’s intervention in the Yemeni civil war is a chilling example of the cruelty of warfare by starvation. According to the United Nations, five million people are one step away from succumbing to famine and disease, and ten million more are right behind them.
But, this week, the Senate can start the process of ending this crisis by passing my legislation to cancel an American arms sale to Saudi Arabia that aids and abets the subjugation of the Yemeni people.
The children of Yemen who survive Saudi Arabia’s barbaric blockade will inevitably tell their sons and daughters of the horrors of their youth. And those sons and daughters will tell their sons and daughters. Through oral tradition, a thousand generations of Yemenis will know of the crown prince’s ruthlessness. And they will also know that it was the Americans that sold him the weapons to wage his murderous campaign.
The reports from Yemen describe a nightmare. The Washington Post reported of a three-year-old boy who could not walk or speak; the Post described his face as “skeletal” and arms and legs as “thin as twigs.” He weighed ten pounds, and his father said that he sometimes goes two days without eating because Saudi import restrictions have made food prohibitively expensive, as if mere sustenance was a luxury. The New York Times told the story of a mother who, after three days of failing to find a ride, carried her 8-month-old son while walking two hours to reach medics to treat acute malnutrition. Even after a week of treatment with enriched formula, the boy still lay motionless on his hospital bed.