To the editor:
(re: “Engel is strong on Yemen,” Aug. 8)
In his Aug. 8 letter to the editor, Isaac Evans-Frantz applauds U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel for his leadership on House legislation seeking an end to the war in Yemen.
While it is good and proper that Mr. Engel has decided to oppose this horrendous war, I wonder about two statements made by Evans-Frantz.
In the first, he said that Mr. Engel took action on Yemen “after meeting with a group of activists from multiple progressive groups in Riverdale and Westchester — and receiving dozens of letters, calls, emails and visits from constituents throughout his district.” Why, I frequently find myself wondering, does Mr. Engel take leadership positions on issues as ethically obvious as the war in Yemen only after so many of his constituents have had to exert extensive time, resources and energy to persuade him to do so?
Secondly, Mr. Evans-Frantz cites the fact that without U.S. sales of F-15 fighter jets and Apache helicopters, among other weapons, the Royal Saudi Air Force would be a paper tiger. Who makes the F-15 and the Apache helicopter? Boeing. Who received $10,000 in campaign donations from Boeing in 2016? Eliot Engel.
Scan Mr. Engel’s top 20 campaign and Leadership PAC contributions in recent elections cycles, and you will find $10,000 donations from Northrop Grumman, General Atomics, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, in addition to Boeing.
In 2016, Mr. Engel received $50,000 from these manufacturers of the weapons of war. Last year, he received $40,000 from U.S. arms merchants. These are only the largest contributions, there may be smaller ones beyond the top 20.
How are we to square Mr. Engel’s recent support for the Yemeni people with the enormous financial backing he has received from the corporations that manufacture the weapons that kill Yemeni civilians and other innocents around the world?