The U.S. should halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia

Published 6:01 pm Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Dear Editor,

We Kentuckians should be proud of our Senator Rand Paul for his efforts to halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia at a time when the Saudi government is waging a merciless war against rebels in Yemen. Last Tuesday, Senators Paul and Chris Murphy of Connecticut introduced a measure to block a $500 million dollar sale of precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia — part of a much larger $110 billion proposed deal. The measure was defeated 53-47.

Senator Paul made a compelling case on the Senate floor last Tuesday. His argument was rooted solidly in humanitarian concern and common sense. Every American should take a look at it on Youtube “Rand Paul’s Speech on Saudi Arabia Arms Deal,” posted June 13.

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Saudi Arabia has been waging a brutal campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen, creating one of the worst humanitarian catastrophes in the world today. The Saudi military has targeted civilians. One airstrike in October of 2016 targeted a funeral, killing 100 plus people. One United Nations estimate puts the death toll at 10,000 at this point.

The Saudi military has also attacked civilian infrastructure, including infrastructure related to food production. Airstrikes in August of 2016 destroyed a World Food Program warehouse, as well as cranes used to unload ships at Yemen’s only major port. The Saudi government has imposed a naval blockade, further cutting off the population’s access to food. Millions are at risk of starvation, and now cholera.

How can we Americans allow our government to arm Saudi Arabia in this brutal war with sophisticated weaponry developed using our tax dollars?  It’s blood on our hands.

Furthermore, American involvement in this brutal war will come back to haunt us. This humanitarian nightmare of slaughter, starvation and disease will create new terrorists. And these terrorists will never forget what role the U.S. played.

­— Harry Fogler III