According to a new YouGov survey, most Americans oppose U.S. support for the war on Yemen:
A majority of Americans oppose US support for the ongoing Saudi-led war in Yemen, with 58 percent of respondents in a recent survey wanting lawmakers to curtail or halt the supplying of arms for a conflict considered the world’s worst ongoing humanitarian disaster.
Only 13 percent of Americans say they want to lawmakers maintain or increase arms sales to the US allies in the conflict, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, according to the survey conducted by the polling firm YouGov and commissioned by the relief group International Rescue Committee.
There has been no regular polling of public opinion in any country about the war on Yemen, and this is the first poll I can recall seeing that asked Americans about U.S. support for the war. It is a measure of how little coverage the war has received that there have been virtually no polls commissioned to find out what the public thinks about it. The results from this survey are encouraging, and it shows that most Americans reject the policy when they are made aware of what their government has been doing to back the war on Yemen. Americans that have an opinion on the subject are overwhelmingly against U.S. policy:
Among those who had an opinion on the conflict, the survey found 75 percent of Americans oppose US involvement in the war.
If there were consistent, regular coverage of the conflict and U.S. involvement in it, I would like to think that opposition would be even greater. U.S. backing for the war has been indefensible from the start, and it is telling that there is virtually no positive public support for what the government has been doing without Congressional authorization for more than three and a half years.
Thanks in part to the sporadic news coverage of the war and the lack of debate over the U.S. role, many Americans remain completely ignorant of the war even after all this time:
But of 1,000 people surveyed earlier this month, a third said they had never even heard of the Yemen war.
The fact that so many Americans have still never even heard of the war is an indictment of news coverage in this country. While there has been some excellent reporting on the war and major media outlets have been paying more attention to Yemen’s humanitarian crisis in recent months, it shouldn’t be possible for the world’s most important story to be so badly neglected that a third of the population doesn’t even know that it is happening. The media’s general inattention to the war has made it much easier for the Saudi coalition and their U.S. and other Western backers to escape scrutiny:
Of those contacted in the YouGov survey, 58 percent said they did not know the US sells arms and provides intelligence to the Saudi-led coalition and 64 percent did not know about civilian casualties.
In fairness to the respondents, how would they have known these things? Unless they are making a determined effort to track down information about the war, Americans would have rarely heard about the conflict and they would have heard even less about U.S. support for the Saudi coalition. When people in this country find out about the disaster that our government has been enabling, they are naturally disgusted by the policy. That is why the war’s supporters have been so desperate to avoid having a debate or a vote on a policy that most people immediately reject when they hear about it.
The Senate is expected to vote later this week on S.J.Res. 54. If it passes, the resolution would require the administration to end all U.S. support for the war, and that is exactly what most Americans want.