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The Ongoing Disgrace of U.S. Support for the War on Yemen

The U.S. has identified itself as a supporter of a cruel and unjustified attack.

Civilian casualties continue to increase in the Saudi-led war on Yemen:

U.S. officials worry mounting civilian casualties will undermine popular support in Yemen and in other Sunni Arab countries backing the campaign. At least 648 civilians have been killed since the intervention began [bold mine-DL], and Saudi-led strikes have hit hospitals, schools, a refugee camp and neighborhoods, according to U.N. officials. The Saudis have blamed the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels and their Yemeni allies for civilian casualties and said they were doing their best to limit them.

This is all depressingly familiar. Here we have a U.S. client embarking on a bombing campaign that isn’t likely to achieve anything except to inflict suffering and death on the civilian population of the targeted country. The campaign is not necessary for the security of that client, and even its U.S. backers can’t see how the campaign will achieve anything. Not only is the war an unnecessary one, but it is very likely that the war will work to the political advantage of the group officially targeted by the client government. While the U.S. expresses generic concerns about the needless deaths of civilians caused by the bombing, it nonetheless provides the client with more or less whatever the client wants so that it can continue an intervention whose goals no one in Washington fully understands. Instead of calling on its client to account for its recklessness, the U.S. keeps expanding its support at the same time that it becomes impossible to miss that the client’s military action was a dreadful mistake from the beginning. In this way, the client has made many new enemies and made itself less secure than it was, and in the process the U.S. has identified itself as a supporter of a cruel and unjustified attack.

When a government attacks a neighboring country, no one should ever credit its protestations that it is trying to “limit” the number of civilians that it kills in the process. If this government were so concerned not to kill civilians in that country, it wouldn’t be bombing that country’s cities and stoking the country’s internal conflict while creating the conditions for a major humanitarian crisis. Once a government has launched an entirely unjustified attack on a neighbor, it doesn’t get to blame the people it’s trying to kill for the civilians that their forces are killing along the way. We should recognize the Saudis’ attempt at shifting the blame for their actions for what it is, and our government should withdraw any support it is providing for the current operation.



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