Home/Daniel Larison/The U.S. Endorses Saudi Propaganda for the War on Yemen

The U.S. Endorses Saudi Propaganda for the War on Yemen

The Secretary of Defense offered a justification for U.S. support for the war on Yemen. It is nonsensical:

OK, well, with respect to the — the first part, the United States has indicated that we want to support our longstanding partner Saudi Arabia in defending its own borders [bold mine-DL]. And in conducting activities to restore stability in Yemen [bold mine-DL], we are providing them with intelligence information, surveillance and reconnaissance information to assist them in their operations.

The Saudis can pretend that their bombing campaign is aimed at “restoring stability” if they want, but there is no good reason for our government to endorse this obvious falsehood. Attacking Yemen certainly isn’t going to make it more stable. Outside intervention in Yemen’s internal conflict is much more likely to prolong and intensify the fighting, displace and kill many more people, and make it even harder to reach a political settlement. Few things could be more damaging or destabilizing than bombing an impoverished country and cutting its people off from basic necessities.

The Saudi war also obviously has nothing to do with defending its own borders. It is common for aggressors to claim self-defense for their unnecessary attacks on others, but this is a transparent lie that a government tells when it is engaged in doing something that it cannot honestly defend. Thus a reckless and destabilizing intervention is recast as a defensive operation intended to “restore stability” to a country that is already much worse off because of the intervention. If a government with a non-U.S. patron were doing the same thing, our government would presumably be denouncing the campaign as needlessly destructive and cruel. As it is, our officials are recycling preposterous propaganda lines to defend the indefensible.

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.

leave a comment

Latest Articles