Forty-five years after Congress passed the War Powers Resolution over Richard Nixon’s veto, the Senate finally invoked its power to end a war. This past December, 56 senators voted to cut off all US support for Saudi Arabia’s horrific military campaign in Yemen, which began in the final years of the Obama administration, sharply escalated under Donald Trump, and has led to the deaths of an estimated 85,000 children due to starvation.
The morning of the vote, Bernie Sanders addressed his Senate colleagues next to a photo of an emaciated Yemeni child and urged them to pass the resolution, which he’d introduced along with co-sponsors Mike Lee, a Republican, and Chris Murphy, a Democrat. “We have been providing the bombs the Saudi-led coalition is using, refueling their planes before they drop those bombs, and assisting with intelligence,” Sanders said. “In too many cases, our weapons are being used to kill civilians.”
As the Vermont senator spoke, a 6-foot-5, bespectacled bear of a man sat quietly beside him. Matt Duss, 46, has recently become one of the most significant figures reshaping progressive foreign policy in the Trump era. Since February 2017, when Sanders hired him as his foreign-policy adviser, Duss has played a key role in advancing the Yemen resolution and has deeply informed Sanders’s growing emphasis on international affairs.
“I give Matt an extraordinary amount of credit on Yemen,” says Representative Ro Khanna, who introduced the joint resolution in the House. “He’s the principal reason that Sanders took this huge risk in introducing the War Powers Resolution in the Senate and agreeing to [support] what we had introduced in the House.” [Continue reading…]