Life is full of surprises in all things – we see it many times in politics, personal health, historical data, etc.. We’ve all had moments where we’ve said something like: “I just did not know that!” A couple of surprises like this, for me, were the discovery that Che Guevara, the Cuban hero, had an Irish father and that Columbus was discovered by the American Indians and not vice versa.
My guess is that most Americans do not know that Obama unilaterally declared war on Yemen three years ago in order to support the Saudi government’s political objectives in the region, and that this military operation has been continued by Trump, despite his promises to end our involvement there.
We could consider Yemen as the Vietnam of the Saudi government. While there are no Saudi soldiers on the ground in Yemen, they are up in the skies piloting fighter planes sold to the Saudis by the Americans. Those same planes are refueled regularly by American tankers so that they can continue bombing Yemeni hospitals, schools and market places. A reported 10,000 Yemeni civilians have died due to air strikes conducted by Saudi planes and drones. Saudi naval blockades keep food and water out of Yemen’s ports, resulting in thousands of Yemenis suffering famine and disease. A shattered infrastructure and the corresponding lack of clean water in Yemen spreads cholera quickly, viciously killing the young and the old first.
The big surprise may be that this war started out as a civil war. The minority Houthis overthrew the Yemeni government. Shortly after that, ISIS invaded the north of the country and the two factions were locked in conflict to determine the fate of the country. Neither the Americans nor Saudis should be in this civil war, placing their thumbs on the scales. Furthermore, for the Americans, there is no practical gain from being involved in this war apart from supporting the Saudis’ political agenda. A good deal for the Saudis in Yemen is a bad deal for the Yemeni.
Why is the United States participating in the destruction and suffering of 10 million people in Yemen? Yemen has done nothing to the U.S.. There is no oil there and precious little in the way of other resources. The U.S. media provides almost no coverage of the Yemeni war. Over the last three years, it has rarely been addressed on any of the numerous talks shows that cover other mundane topics over and over and over.
The human suffering of the Yemeni is immense. Organizations that work in the Middle East are trying to rally the world in order to combat the famine, starvation and cholera that is destroying that nation and creating another failed state. Failed states are not new to Americans. Efforts by the United States helped to create South Sudan – which seems to have become a failed state just five years after its founding - and Haiti has been foundering for decades despite U.S. efforts to stabilize that country.
What would be a decent thing for the United States to do now? My answer is this: get out of Yemen and stop supporting the Saudi efforts to destroy that country. Americans do not belong in that war. It is illegal and immoral to conduct a proxy war, one that was not authorized by Congress, and let the starving and cholera spread there like a fire through a dry forest. Let the Saudis have their Vietnam. They, too, will learn like we Americans did in Vietnam. The future could be bright for Yemen if the foreigner war mongers leave. Go to Vietnam today and see for yourself how that country has rebounded and become a thriving economy after decades of foreign orchestrated conflict. My prayer is that Yemen will do the same, if the war lords leave.