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Ending the Shameful War on Yemen

The New York Times editorializes on the need to hold the Saudi-led coalition responsible for its crimes in Yemen, especially those committed against children:

But the war is at a stalemate, and the Saudi coalition — and its American enablers, who provide military equipment, aerial refueling and targeting — simply cannot be allowed to continue killing civilians and destroying what little is left of Yemen. That is why it is imperative to publicly identify the unconscionable slaughter of innocents for what it is, and to hope that this will shame Saudi Arabia and its American backers to search for a humane end to Yemen’s hell.

I agree with all of this, and I hope that the Saudis and their allies won’t be able to blackmail the U.N. into keeping them off the blacklist this time. All that I would add is that there has to be more than public shaming of the perpetrators and their accomplices in a U.N. report if they are going to change their behavior. The coalition and its Western backers haven’t been so embarrassed by numerous other reports on war crimes committed in Yemen that they have stopped the war, and they haven’t been so shamed by their role in creating the world’s worst humanitarian crisis that they have lifted the air and sea blockade.

Including the coalition on the blacklist of forced that harm children is a good start in putting more pressure on them. However, until there is a significant political price for its continued support, the administration will keep backing the coalition, and the coalition will assume that it can act with impunity because of that support. Unless the coalition governments believe their relationship with the U.S. is jeopardized by continuing the war, they will persist in their failed campaign. U.S. support for the war on Yemen has to be made politically toxic in this country before it will be ended, and one way to do that is to focus much more attention on the war and its horrifying consequences than we have seen over the last two and a half years.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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