In March 2015, Nobel Peace Prize winner former President Barack Obama dragged the United States into joining the euphemistic “Saudi-backed coalition” in order to help conduct a genocide in Yemen. When elected, President. Donald Trump joined in lockstep and continues the policy of fighting a war in Yemen, one of the poorest countries on the planet, who have never attacked nor posed any threat to the U.S.
While the government’s official stance is that it is only providing limited support to its Saudi Arabia ally by selling weapons, the truth is far more nefarious. In this war directed against the civilian population, American forces do everything but pull the trigger. They train the Saudi Air Force, maintain and upgrade armaments, and sit in warplanes flown by Saudi pilots. Hiding behind the phrase “Saudi-backed coalition” shouldn’t absolve the U.S. of responsibility, and yet itseems to do so, as hardly any media attention has been given to the least productive of the endless wars –Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen and Somalia– America is currently fighting abroad.
It was American-made bombs, missiles, jets and military technology that killed children on a school bus, innocents celebrating a wedding and shoppers at a market. Make no mistake this is a genocide. Coalition forces intentionally target agriculture, fishing, water sources and infrastructure – a strategy to starve the Yemeni people into getting fed up with their rulers and then embrace the U.S. and Saudi Arabia as saviors, a strategy that has historically never worked.
Of no concern to the U.S. is that this constitutes a war crime under the Geneva Conventions (Protocol I, Article 54). So far, the war in Yemen has caused the death of more than 100,000 children and tens of millions of Yeminis are on the brink of starvation.
For carrying out these atrocities, both Obama and Trump should have been impeached, tried for war crimes and thrown into a cell for the rest of their lives. We can hardly imagine a worse crime than murdering an innocent child. Why then are people so quick to make excuses when the victim is called “collateral damage,” the murderer called “commander in chief,” and mass murder called “war?”
Boeing, Raytheon, General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin are all laughing to the bank with the money made from government contracts and arms sales.
The war in Yemen has made clear the terrible sins of this once great nation: pillaging the oppressed to fuel corporate greed, imperialism, loss of Americans’ empathy, failure of the corporate press to inform the people and the collapse of democracy. So, what must be done to end this horrific and unnecessary violence?
Despite the canards on the importance of voting that populate this time of year, there is no way Americans can vote themselves out of this problem. The only options are either the right-hand man of the regime who started this war or the leader of the regime who continues it. The change must come from an honest cultural shift to relearn values that once defined Americans.
While liberals and leftists once held principles of international peace and egalitarianism, that time has long gone. What remains is the sanctification of Obama’s feckless decorum while overlooking his abysmal policy, and an obsession with Trump’s twitter and impropriety that lacks any critical thinking. From this group there is a greater call for ‘more female bomber pilots’ than bringing the troops home.
Prior to neoconservatism, the right wing stood for sound budgets and anti-imperialism. Now they’ve been reduced to ineffectually reacting to whatever social policy Democrats wish to enact that week, rubber-stamping whatever inanities Trump says in order to ‘own the libs’ and apparently holding contests to see who can spout the most mind-numbing, jingoistic rhetoric the loudest.
In the era of Black Lives Matter, where people of all walks of life have taken to the streets to protest against the murders of people of color by the state, alarmingly absent is the mention of the endless wars abroad. In addition to protesting George Floyd’s and Vanessa Guillén’s deaths, BLM has held demonstrations on issues as tangential as climate change. By omitting foreign policy, the movement could perhaps change its name to “American Black Lives Matter” in order to more accurately reflect the principal cause. If the protesters are livid at Americans killing POC domestically, then they should be absolutely enraged at Americans bombing people of color by the hundreds of thousands abroad. And yet, they seem not to be, or at before they do not make it known.
When was the last time anybody brought attention to or has heard about the genocide in Yemen? It raises an important question: do people actually care about Black and Brown lives, or is everything just second-rate performance art in the political theater?
Afsheen Mansoori (he/him/his) is a senior studying Biology and Philosophy. An avid iconoclast and cynic, Afsheen hopes to go to medical school and become a surgeon.