The New York Times calls on the Obama administration to stop arming the Saudis and their allies:
Mr. Obama has also supplied the coalition such indispensable assistance as intelligence, in-flight refueling of aircraft and help in identifying appropriate targets. Experts say the coalition would be grounded if Washington withheld its support. Instead, the State Department last week approved the potential sale of $1.15 billion more in tanks and other equipment to Saudi Arabia to replace items destroyed in the war. Congress has the power to block this sale; Senator Chris Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut, says he is discussing that possibility with other lawmakers. But the chances are slim, in part because of the politics.
Given the civilian casualties, further American support for this war is indefensible. As Mr. Murphy told CNN on Tuesday: “There’s an American imprint on every civilian life lost in Yemen.”
I agree with all this, but I would add that U.S. support for the war was always indefensible because the war was unnecessary and reckless. The Saudis and their allies were not defending themselves when they starting bombing Yemen, and no U.S. interests were being served by helping them attack their neighbor. The war on Yemen has been a wanton, unprovoked attack on one country by a group of others, and the U.S. has helped make it possible. The careless and criminal way that the bombing campaign has been conducted has made things even worse, but the U.S. would have been wrong to enable the Saudi-led campaign in any case.
It should be clear by now that the Saudis and their allies “do not care about killing innocent civilians,” which shouldn’t come as much of a shock to anyone considering that the coalition includes the likes of Sudan. The coalition made this clear when they illegally declared all of Saada a military target and they proved it again when they dropped cluster bombs in civilian areas. The quick succession of outrageous bombings of civilian targets in the last few days has been a sharp reminder of what the Saudis and their allies have been routinely doing during the last sixteen months. I hope it does finally spur more criticism of and opposition to U.S. support for the war, and perhaps these latest attacks have received enough attention that the administration won’t be able to avoid scrutiny for its terrible role in this intervention.