Home/Daniel Larison/The Terrible Cost of the War on Yemen

The Terrible Cost of the War on Yemen

IRIN Photos/Flickr: The UN-administered camp at Mazrak, north-west Yemen, seen on 12 November 2009 is now stretched beyond capacity after a Saudi military offensive against the Huthis starting early November uprooted a fresh wave of IDP families.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazettepublished a scathing editorial denouncing U.S. support for the war on Yemen:

Apart from what seems to be an irresistible urge on the part of the United States to meddle in every struggle on the planet, the only reason for U.S. involvement in the war in Yemen — which involves pounding the life out of poverty-stricken, starving Yemenis — is the long-standing U.S. alliance with the Saudi monarchy, one of the most justice-free regimes on the face of the Earth. That argument might hold water if the war in Yemen represented any threat to the Saudis. It does not, and, apart from substantial sales to Saudi Arabia by the U.S. arms industry, linking its armed forces to ours, there is no reason for continued U.S. involvement in this truly inhumane war against a pathetic victim [bold mine-DL].

The editors ably make many of the points I have been making for the last sixteen months. I would just add a few things. Remember that the damage being done to Yemen goes beyond the destruction directly wrought by the Saudi-led intervention and the fighting on the ground between the warring parties. The conflict that the Saudis and their allies escalated last year has pushed the country’s health care services to the brink of collapse, driven many medical specialists to flee the country, wrecked the country’s infrastructure, cut the country off from the imports on which the civilian population relies, and created near-famine conditions in much of the country. More than seven million are at risk of starvation, and millions more are suffering from severe food insecurity that grows worse daily. Yemen’s children are suffering from severe malnutrition. Yemen’s economic and social development has been set back by decades, and the people of Yemen will be living with the deleterious effects of this campaign long after the fighting ends. Unfortunately, the conflict and its horrific consequences continue to be mostly ignored by the rest of the world.

The U.S. should not only have no part in this atrocious war, but should be actively pressing the Saudis and their allies to halt their campaign and blockade. Instead, the Obama administration continues to back the Saudi-led coalition as it has from the beginning. There is no good reason why the U.S. has made itself party to this conflict, and our government’s support for the intervention is an indelible mark of shame in the annals of U.S. foreign policy.

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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