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Ignoring U.S. Complicity in the Destruction of Yemen

This weekend, 60 Minutes aired a report on the humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen. Unfortunately, U.S. involvement and complicity in that catastrophe went entirely unmentioned. Derek Davison comments [1]:

But by far the most egregious part of the 60 Minutes coverage was its total failure to identify one key element of “all those involved,” namely the role that the United States and Britain have played in arming and sustaining the Saudi war effort. The United States has been intimately involved in the Saudi intervention in Yemen going back to the Obama administration, but Donald Trump, in his zeal for all things Saudi, has significantly intensified that involvement.

There hasn’t been much Western media coverage of the war on Yemen, and often when there are reports the role of the U.S. in helping to make the war possible is minimized or left out all together. There is now more and better Western media coverage of the war than there used to be, but the coalition’s Western patrons often escape notice even now.

Ignoring U.S. and British backing for the Saudi-led war on Yemen matters for a few reasons. For one, it presents an incomplete and therefore inaccurate account of what is happening and why, and that allows Western audiences to think that their governments have nothing to do with the terrible consequences of the war. If the American and British publics remain largely unaware of their governments’ responsibility for helping to create the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, they are unlikely to demand that their governments stop enabling the disaster. Ignoring their role also lets those governments off the hook for appalling policies, and that in turn ensures that there is much less international pressure on the coalition governments that are destroying Yemen. Absent sustained international pressure and criticism, the coalition governments are able to wreck and starve an entire country without paying much of a price.

This Toronto Star report [2] on the war touches on this point here:

Salisbury agrees that what happens in Yemen does not receive the same scrutiny of military actions elsewhere.

“The lesson the Saudis have learned is they can get away with a great deal when it comes to Yemen,” he says, on the phone from London. “They can really do things that if another country were doing it in another context there would be international outcry, there would be action at the Security Council level, but in this case that’s just not happening because of the value western and other states place on their relationship with Saudi Arabia [bold mine-DL].”

The lack of international pressure on the Saudi-led coalition is one more reason why the coalition and U.S. and other Western support for it should be under much more intense media scrutiny. Several major Western governments are deeply complicit in the destruction of Yemen, and that fact cries out to be exposed and broadcast far and wide as often as possible. Our government’s enabling of despotic regimes to attack their impoverished neighbor while causing the worst famine in decades ought to be a major scandal and a leading story every day, which makes the failure even to mention U.S. involvement in creating the disaster unfolding in Yemen an inexcusable omission.

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11 Comments To "Ignoring U.S. Complicity in the Destruction of Yemen"

#1 Comment By liberal On November 20, 2017 @ 11:41 am

People don’t talk about it much, perhaps because it was (wrongly IMHO, but whatever) construed as partly an apologia for the Khmer Rouge, but Chomsky and Herman’s The Washington Connection and Third World Fascism (The Political Economy of Human Rights (a trilogy) has a very useful (if obvious) way of thinking about these issues.

They claim that, from the viewpoint of the US, “bloodbaths” come in three varieties: (1) nefarious (undertaken by states which are enemies, like, say Assad’s regime); (2) benign (where we don’t care one way or the other about the perpetrator), and (3) constructive (where the perp is an “ally”).

The horror of Yemen clearly falls into (3).

(Herman died on Nov. 11 of this year.)

#2 Comment By Donald (the left leaning one) On November 20, 2017 @ 12:18 pm

What liberal said, in every particular (except that it was two volumes, not a trilogy). “Manufacturing Consent” updates it.

But you don’t really need to read Chomsky and Herman to see the pattern they describe and nowadays I am happy to link to Daniel’s posts or those of others, because no matter what your political beliefs, left or right, a lot of us can see the utter hypocrisy in US foreign policy. It is simply an objective fact that our government denounces the terrorism and atrocities of our enemies while supporting similar crimes by our friends or even committing them ourselves. Those of us who oppose the bloodthirsty aspects of US foreign policy might disagree on other issues, but should be able to unite on this.

I just met someone in real life who didn’t realize the US was supporting the Saudis. He was expressing disgust at their behavior, is a very well educated and intelligent man, and he didn’t realize that the US was providing aerial refueling and weapons. That is the press’s fault.

#3 Comment By Stephen J. On November 20, 2017 @ 4:50 pm

Kudo toDaniel Larson he writes:
‘Our government’s enabling of despotic regimes to attack their impoverished neighbor while causing the worst famine in decades ought to be a major scandal and a leading story every day, which makes the failure even to mention U.S. involvement in creating the disaster unfolding in Yemen an inexcusable omission.”

A few days ago there was a “Security Forum” in Halifax Canada. There was “inexcusable omissions” about what numerous governments and NATO members are doing and this treachery is covered up by the media. See link below for lots of info on what is really happening.
November 18, 2017
Is There Hypocrisy and Hypocrites at Halifax Security Forum in Canada?
[3]

#4 Comment By On Inspection On November 20, 2017 @ 5:02 pm

“The United States has been intimately involved in the Saudi intervention in Yemen going back to the Obama administration, but Donald Trump, in his zeal for all things Saudi, has significantly intensified that involvement.”

I knew this would happen: an oblique exculpation of Obama by stressing Trump’s current ownership. The press are really disgusting. When it’s likely trajectory was clear and it would have been easiest to stop it, they said nothing, because Obama = Our Guy. Now that it’s Trump’s baby, they’re waking up to the horror of what Obama initiated, condoned, and facilitated for TWO YEARS.

#5 Comment By Clyde Schechter On November 20, 2017 @ 8:48 pm

“Those of us who oppose the bloodthirsty aspects of US foreign policy might disagree on other issues, but should be able to unite on this.”

Yes, this is key. The neonconservative grip on US foreign policy is strong, and it pervades both the Red and Blue teams. But there are minorities on both the Left and the Right who are opposed. I’m not saying that in our present numbers we could weaken the neocons’ hold, but when are busy fighting each other on other issues of far less importance, there is no hope. We are divided and conquered.

If we can come together over these issues, there is hope that we will be numerous enough to make our voices heard in more widely-read media, and that the whole thing will snowball up. I, for one, do not believe that the American people would be anything but repulsed by the situation in Yemen if they ever actually got to hear the truth about it. But you can’t even find coverage of it except in relatively obscure political fringe media on the Left and Right. It is interesting that just before coming to this web page, I read essentially the same story on The Intercept. Every once in a while the Guardian, too, will cover Yemen, though not with any persistence, nor with a consistent perspective that highlights US and UK complicity and responsibility. Forget about mainstream media.

Realists of the world unite! We have nothing to lose but our obscurity.

#6 Comment By liberal On November 20, 2017 @ 10:53 pm

Clyde Schechter wrote,

The neonconservative grip on US foreign policy is strong, and it pervades both the Red and Blue teams. But there are minorities on both the Left and the Right who are opposed.

One big problem is that the vast majority of voters know little about foreign policy, and care even less (unless American lives are at stake, of course).

#7 Comment By liberal On November 20, 2017 @ 11:00 pm

The interwebs say Donald is correct; it’s a two-volume set, not a trilogy.

Apparently, it was based on a text by the same authors entitled [4]. That earlier work already used the terms benign, nefarious, and constructive.

#8 Comment By a spencer On November 21, 2017 @ 5:53 am

We have the momentum. We can end this now.

#9 Comment By Stephen J. On November 21, 2017 @ 9:53 am

An excellent article by Ron Paul at link below.
————————————
Why Are We Helping Saudi Arabia Destroy Yemen?
written by ron paul
monday november 20, 2017
[5]

#10 Comment By Stephen J. On November 21, 2017 @ 10:50 am

Are the “Good Guys” really the bad guys?
————————————————–
December 7, 2015
The “Good Guys”

We kill innocent children with drones
We destroy their families and their homes
We bomb other countries that never invaded us
We murder and kill, so why all the fuss?
We’re the “good guys”

We ally with dictators who chop off heads
We are their partners, in making people dead
We consort with evil and spread it around
We are its allies and mass bombings abounds
But hey, we’re the “good guys”

We finance and train terrorists, we say, “we oppose”
We play this deadly game while helping our foes
We are “respectable” hypocrites, and have the power
We really are gangsters but an “honourable” shower
Still, we’re “the good guys”

We are the “leaders” who rule the masses
We peddle bullsh-t and are dangerous asses
We are the “warriors” that never fight in battle
We send the serfs, who obey like dumb cattle
But, we’re the “good guys”

We perform and parade on the world stage
We really should be in handcuffs and locked in a cage
We are dictators and despots and “statesmen” too
We all would look “impressive” in an animal zoo
Because we’re the “good guys”

We “bring democracy” and have a “responsibility to protect”
We bomb and blitz countries with hellish effect
We form coalitions with other war criminals
We devilishly succeed in making many countries unliveable
But, hey we’re the “good guys”

We spout words like “rule of law” and “democracy”
We are creative liars, and market and sell hypocrisy
We speak about “freedom” and “human rights”
We are bloody hypocrites whose forte is to incite
Hey, we’re the “good guys”

We are running amok and nothing will stop us
We are a deadly disease and we are filled with pus
We are Satan’s helpers and fiends from hell
We will eventually contribute to the Earth’s farewell
So goodbye: We are the “good guys”…
[ more info at link below]
[6]

#11 Comment By Stephen J. On November 21, 2017 @ 3:37 pm

The Horror of Yemen in Pictures. See link below.
———————————————
The Faces of Yemen – Where Is American “Outrage?”
By Brandon Turbeville
Global Research, November 20, 2017
Activist Post 17 November 2017

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