RSN Fundraising Banner
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment
Print

Boardman writes: "The US has been openly at war against Yemen for more than a year, in support of a genocidal Saudi coalition. Once again, the US is in a war undertaken without Constitutional consultation with Congress, and without Congress raising a peep of an objection."

At least five people lost their lives and many others were wounded after fresh Saudi airstrikes bombed a Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF). (photo: MEP)
At least five people lost their lives and many others were wounded after fresh Saudi airstrikes bombed a Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) hospital. (photo: MEP)


Saudis Should Kill Civilians More Slowly, Two US Senators Say

By William Boardman, Reader Supported News

25 April 16

 

How broken is American government? Other senators A-OK with current killing patterns, or prefer increase

t sounds a little like a joke (and in a sense it is): Two US senators introduce a resolution based on fraudulent representations of reality, seeking to make the president insist that the Saudis bomb fewer civilians in Yemen, and this darkly hilarious hoax is still better than anything the other 98 senators (and the whole House) are doing about the US illegal war in Yemen. Our would-be heroic duo in the Senate doesn’t actually oppose the US war on Yemen, even though they acknowledge its savage daily violations of international law (currently suspended during a tenuous ceasefire). Regardless, these two senators are simultaneously misrepresenting US participation in those ruthless crimes (which the rest of the Senate simply ignores and the State Department trivializes).

Following 15 years of special ops there, the US has been openly at war against Yemen for more than a year, in support of a genocidal Saudi coalition (mostly the Gulf Cooperation Council that President Obama met with privately recently). Once again, the US is in a war undertaken without Constitutional consultation with Congress, and without Congress raising a peep of an objection. This is a criminal war in which the US is at least accomplice to war crimes and crimes against humanity. The US drone war’s toll on civilians arguably makes the US guilty of committing both sets of crimes.

Most of this is acknowledged in Senate Joint Resolution 32, which the senators introduced on April 13, after which it was referred to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for further consideration possibly. Resolution 32 states in part:

Whereas the Panel of Experts established pursuant to United Nations Security Council Resolution 2140 (2014) reported on January 22, 2016, that the military coalition led by the Government of Saudi Arabia in Yemen ‘‘had conducted air strikes targeting civilians and civilian objects, in violation of International Humanitarian Law, including camps for internally displaced persons and refugees; civilian gatherings, including weddings; civilian vehicles, residential areas, medical facilities, schools, mosques, markets, factories and food storage warehouses, and other essential civilian infrastructure such as the airport in Sanaa, the port in Hudayadah, and domestic transit routes’’…. [emphasis added]

The same UN Panel of Experts cited in Resolution 32 also reported attacks on civilians by the Houthi-Saleh forces (usually referred to as the “rebels”) in Aden and Taiz, but the panel did not accuse the Houthi-Saleh forces of a systematic, countrywide campaign in violation of international humanitarian law. Yemen has been engulfed by civil war time and again in recent decades, but the current civil war is overwhelmed in brutality and carnage caused by the international aggression of the US/Saudi coalition. Theirs is the only bombing campaign in a largely defenseless country. The US/Saudi allies are responsible for most of the war’s 3000-plus civilian deaths and the destruction of at least three Doctors Without Borders hospitals among other atrocities.

Resolution 32 fails to acknowledge that this is a war that could not have begun without US blessing. The resolution obliquely acknowledges that this is a war that could not be fought without US weapons, or certainly not fought as easily and devastatingly. But the resolution does not oppose the war. The resolution seeks to leverage the Yemen war in favor of a preferred war elsewhere, in places where civilians might be more easily disregarded as would-be “enemy combatants.”

Senate response to criminally murderous war: use fewer bombs, maybe

There is no peace movement in the US Senate. There is no anti-war movement in the US Senate. There is no anti-criminal-war in Yemen movement in the US Senate. There is no active anti-war-crimes movement in the US Senate. But there are two senators who have co-sponsored Resolution 32, the gist of which is to put pressure on Saudi Arabia to drop fewer bombs on Yemeni civilians unless they start dropping more bombs on ISIS, the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. Resolution 32 is not a proposal designed to save lives, merely to take different lives in different places, and not necessarily fewer lives. Fortune Magazine reported the resolution with standard, unexamined foreign policy clichés and an appropriate emphasis on the weapons business:

A major U.S. ally is in the crosshairs.

The U.S. defense industry has sold at least $33 billion worth of weapons to its Persian Gulf allies over the past year as dual bombing campaigns against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and Houthi rebels in Yemen have depleted stores of aerial bombs and other munitions. But as civilian casualties mount in Yemen in particular, a bipartisan duo in the U.S. Senate is working to tighten the free-flow of weapons and cash between the U.S. and one of its most important Gulf allies. Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) introduced legislation on Wednesday [April 13] that would restrict the sale of U.S. aerial bombs and missiles to Saudi Arabia unless certain conditions are met.

Fortune has a funny way of seeing things: Saudi Arabia, without significant military risk, bombing civilians to the point of running out of bombs, is somehow seen as “in the crosshairs.” These so-called crosshairs are merely an empty threat by two senators to sell them fewer bombs. So long as the Saudis get the president to certify that they’ll bomb ISIS more, then everyone involved can go on about the business, the very lucrative business, of random killing as usual, even if the Saudis don’t bomb ISIS more. There is no purpose here beyond more killing, with little regard for who gets killed. Well, that’s pretty much a summary of the post-9/11 American zeitgeist, isn’t it?

Is the United States capable of governing honestly about anything?

Senators Murphy and Paul falsely describe the American role in the war on Yemen this way in Resolution 32:

Whereas the United States Armed Forces provide dedicated personnel and assets to the armed forces of Saudi Arabia to support their military operations in Yemen, including over 700 air-to-air refueling sorties, and to assist with effectiveness and reduction of collateral damage….

This is true as far as it goes, but it minimizes complicity: how much bombing would be possible without air-to-air refueling? The answer to that question would provide a measure of direct US responsibility for bombing at will in a country with no air defenses.

The senators refer in deceitfully benign language to US personnel who “assist with effectiveness and reduction of collateral damage” the US/Saudi bombing raids. In reality, US personnel work side by side with Saudi counterparts in Riyadh, planning, authorizing, and assessing the bombing missions that began over a year ago and have produced a world-class humanitarian crisis. That result suggests that any effort to reduce collateral damage has been limited, incompetent, or both.

But the senators also deceive by omission. Resolution 32 omits the moral (if not legal) war crime that the US commits every time it supplies the Saudi coalition with a cluster bomb, a devastating anti-personnel weapon, that leaves explosives littered around each bomb site, where they remain lethally dangerous, especially to children. That’s why most of the rest of the world has banned cluster bombs, while the US and other rogue states have not. Senators Murphy and Paul, like their 98 peers, lack the courage even to admit they’re on the wrong side of the law of war on this.

And while the senators acknowledge “the systematic and widespread blockade” that has substantially deprived Yemen of food, fuel, medicine, humanitarian aid, and commercial goods, they omit any hint of US participation in that blockade by land, air, or sea. The US Navy in the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean reinforces the Saudi-dominated blockade. Yemen, the poorest country in the region, has long depended on food imports to feed its population of some 25 million. The result of the blockade, not unexpected, is that Yemen has been brought to the verge of mass starvation by the US/Saudi coalition. And the blockade further heightens the crisis by preventing Yemenis from leaving this nation-sized prison purgatory.

An elaborate, meaningless charade is better than nothing, right?

The US has been militarily engaged in Yemen since 2000, when suicide bombers attacked the US Navy destroyer Cole while refueling at port in Aden. The attack killed 17 crew members and wounded 39. US counter-terrorism operations in Yemen since then have included Special Forces, an extended drone campaign, and the current US/Saudi war. In that time, the al Qaeda presence in Yemen has increased to control much of the eastern part of the country, including the port of Mukalla, where Saudi battleships control access from the sea. As of April 23, Saudi coalition forces, including a large contingent from the United Arab Emirates, were massing for an attack on Mukalla, according to UAE official media.

In almost identical press releases from Sen. Murphy and from Sen. Paul, they define the intent of Resolution 32 as a means

to prevent the United States from continuing to support Saudi-led military campaigns in places like Yemen where Saudi Arabia’s year-long campaign has led to a devastating humanitarian crisis and a security vacuum that has empowered our terrorist enemies al Qaeda and ISIS. The Murphy-Paul bipartisan legislation will require the President of the United States to formally certify that the Government of Saudi Arabia is demonstrating an ongoing effort to target terrorist groups, minimize harm to civilians, and facilitate humanitarian assistance before Congress can consider the sale or transfer of air-to-ground munitions to Saudi Arabia.

In other words, Resolution 32 is a Rube Goldberg contraption designed to give the impression of moral decency while leaving the reality of the US/Saudi war unlikely to be affected even in the unlikely eventuality that this proposal becomes law. (A companion resolution has now been introduced in the House, where it too will be sent to committee to await further action, if any.)

We pay senators $174,000 a year (plus their perks and staff) and this is the best any of the hundred of them can suggest “to prevent the United States from continuing to support Saudi-led military campaigns in places like Yemen”? Seriously?

The conventional beltway banalities, the bipartisan deceits, the continuing failure of business as usual are worthless. We need someone who will stand up and say, simply: US OUT OF YEMEN NOW



William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

e-max.it: your social media marketing partner
 

Comments   

A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

 
-38 # Shades of gray matter 2016-04-25 09:25
It is time for a preliminary report. To demonstrate their "Movement" creds RSN Commenters & Readers were going to FLOOD RSN with thousands upon thousands of $27 contributions, to finance the tirades against the Hated One, "Bitch" Hillary, H(ateable)RC. So how is that going for you, revolting cadre? You can't fight the MSM, capable of aiding & abetting a JFK cover-up, with 'I HATE Hillary more than you do" tweets. Show US exactly how seriously you are to be taken. We're watching.
 
 
+34 # JudyBG 2016-04-25 10:01
You do realize that this rant is completely incomprehensibl e, and possibly even quite mad?
 
 
-27 # rocback 2016-04-25 10:11
It's pretty clear to me.
 
 
+19 # reiverpacific 2016-04-25 10:36
Quoting rocback:
It's pretty clear to me.


Birds of a feather-----!
 
 
+4 # Ralph 2016-04-26 06:21
Or "sock puppet of a feather...". Some rarely seen poster pops up out of the blue in support of a troll. These guys actually think they fool people.
 
 
+21 # Texas Aggie 2016-04-25 11:33
Which says more about you than it does about the totally incomprehensibl e message.
 
 
+8 # banichi 2016-04-25 18:01
These two are clearly trolls for the Brock SuperPAC, so answering them seriously is a waste of time. Just give them a down check and let it go at that.
 
 
+18 # reiverpacific 2016-04-25 10:35
Quoting Shades of gray matter:
It is time for a preliminary report. To demonstrate their "Movement" creds RSN Commenters & Readers were going to FLOOD RSN with thousands upon thousands of $27 contributions, to finance the tirades against the Hated One, "Bitch" Hillary, H(ateable)RC. So how is that going for you, revolting cadre? You can't fight the MSM, capable of aiding & abetting a JFK cover-up, with 'I HATE Hillary more than you do" tweets. Show US exactly how seriously you are to be taken. We're watching.


Eh???
What hallucinogen are you on?
 
 
+21 # Caliban 2016-04-25 10:56
Hello Shades--If you have a message worth communicating, that means it is worth communicating well. Please bring some calm to your rhetoric even if you cannot do so to your private feelings.

Simply put -- even a worthy policy position gets lost in the fog of angry unfocussed sarcasm. So if you wish to be read thoughtfully by people, please write in a thoughtful style.

Caliban
 
 
+18 # WBoardman 2016-04-25 11:15
Does Shades of gray matter know something
that the rest of us don't
about how Hillary is actually
manipulating Sens Murphy and Paul,
or is it something else NOT in the piece? ;-)))
 
 
+14 # elizabethblock 2016-04-25 09:37
This is by Andy Borowitz, right?
 
 
+7 # Polisage 2016-04-25 12:46
As one of our great actors used to say: Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk!
 
 
+15 # JohnBoanerges 2016-04-25 09:59
Another great article from WILLIAM BOARDMAN (AB is a rah, rah statist). "Is the United States capable of governing honestly about anything?" echos the late and greatly missed Izzy Stone who titled one of my favorite books All Governments Lie (All the Time as I append to it). Thanks Mr. Boardman and God bless you as you bless us.
 
 
-12 # Shades of gray matter 2016-04-25 10:36
It's elementary, my dear astute readers. You can't fight something with nothing. Anti-Trump ranting is not enough. Anti Hillary ranting is NOT ENOUGH. Showing Bernie verbal love is not enough. MANY understand, pitch in. Now demonstrate COMMITMENT with thousands of those $27 contributions to RSN. Empower alternatives to MSM. Give the resistance to Deep State fascist control MORE INFORMATIVE VOICES. Don't be a Bridge- Burner, a flaming Bern-out. Dig deep.
 
 
+3 # Dion Giles 2016-04-25 17:16
Better than Shades' "suggestion" which looks more like a sarcastic sneer, put RSN on a financially sustainable basis in a democratic readership/staf f discussion on how to do it. No more exhortatory emails from "No-reply" addresses - they're not working.
 
 
+14 # reiverpacific 2016-04-25 10:42
This (Good) article can be stated in précis form.
Any discussion of "reduction" or "modification" of any arms deal by Congress, the Senate or the so-called "Department of Defense" on the subject of war-making, should be taken "con grano salis" -with a grain of salt.
We have NO say in any of it!
 
 
-6 # Shades of gray matter 2016-04-25 10:44
Show the world that Hillary Haters are not just puffed up smoke blowing hate mongers. 10,000 X $27 for RSN would be a good START. One million protesters in Philly, plus one million in DC & SF, would help. Maybe 5 million nation wide during BOTH conventions. Share "I was there" selfies. Save for grandkids.
 
 
+12 # reiverpacific 2016-04-25 12:45
Quoting Shades of gray matter:
Show the world that Hillary Haters are not just puffed up smoke blowing hate mongers. 10,000 X $27 for RSN would be a good START. One million protesters in Philly, plus one million in DC & SF, would help. Maybe 5 million nation wide during BOTH conventions. Share "I was there" selfies. Save for grandkids.


Fer Gawd's sake, get off the "Hillary-Hater" kick; you're obsessed with it and manage to infest every article response with it, whatever the subject. Do you sleep snuggled up to a signed photo -or a teddy bear facsimile- of Clinton Mk#2?
 
 
+9 # bbaldwin2001 2016-04-25 10:48
What is Trump going to do when he has to make a decision regarding the Middle East. Trump:" I am going to send an army over there to wipe them all out". We had two Presidents who wage war in the Middle East and we are still paying for it. 2 Bushes - 2 wars...
 
 
+14 # jdd 2016-04-25 10:56
It may all change soon. Bernie Kerik, the NYC Police Commissioner at the time of 9/11, delivered a body blow in an April 23 interview on "Newsmax Now," saying that the issue of the 28 pages (the redacted chapter of the 911 Joint Commission Report revealing the Saudi hand behind that mass murder) "is just not about the families of the victims of 9/11... This could have worldwide ramifications and legal issues, lawsuits, countries that would go after Saudi Arabia. I think there's a good chance that it could topple the House of Saud." Indeed, and perhaps with it the presidency of Barack Obama, who has continued the coverup begun by George W. Bush, and who is actively attempting sabotage the effort Saudi butchers.
 
 
+16 # WBoardman 2016-04-25 11:25
Clearly we should have had those 28 pages as soon as
they were available,
which was possible if Sen Bob Graham had the courage
of Rep Gravel who put out the Pentagon Papers back in the day.

Instead, Graham gave us a provocative tease with no substance,
worth just as much as speculation from corrupt Kerick
and everyone else who's thrown sand around this playground.
 
 
+7 # jdd 2016-04-25 10:59
to sabotage the effort to sue the responsible Saudis.
 
 
+16 # Archie1954 2016-04-25 11:18
And yet, there are millions of Americans who gladly support the murder and mayhem that the US creates in the World. They are so morally, socially and ethically deficient that this kind of violence is simply entertainment to them. That the President revels in such destruction is another matter entirely. His own soul is now forfeit!
 
 
-10 # Shades of gray matter 2016-04-25 12:09
Aha! A monumentally important & complex set of problems to seek help in understanding. But before turning to the Saudis & 9-11, let me express the hereabouts unpopular notion that Barack H. Obama has willingly given up his ability to sleep at night SO THAT we can sleep at night. He doesn't get to create simple black & white allies and enemies of his own design in the Middle East. He inherited over 2000 years of powerful stuff. Some of it ill of our own making, some of it hundreds, thousands, of years in the making. No U.S. President can possibly be a clean handed Mighty Mouse there. Nor can we butt out. Remember, the actors there have enough resources to make THOUSANDS of NUKES, for YOU!! And would "HATE" to deliver them upon US infidels. The fact that they slaughter each other on such a grand scale shows they're NOT just out to deter or punish "Western Aggression." Never have been.
 
 
+8 # dbrize 2016-04-25 13:25
Quoting Shades of gray matter:
Aha! A monumentally important & complex set of problems to seek help in understanding. But before turning to the Saudis & 9-11, let me express the hereabouts unpopular notion that Barack H. Obama has willingly given up his ability to sleep at night SO THAT we can sleep at night. He doesn't get to create simple black & white allies and enemies of his own design in the Middle East. He inherited over 2000 years of powerful stuff. Some of it ill of our own making, some of it hundreds, thousands, of years in the making. No U.S. President can possibly be a clean handed Mighty Mouse there. Nor can we butt out. Remember, the actors there have enough resources to make THOUSANDS of NUKES, for YOU!! And would "HATE" to deliver them upon US infidels. The fact that they slaughter each other on such a grand scale shows they're NOT just out to deter or punish "Western Aggression." Never have been.


Thank you Condi,

McCain, Graham, Clinton and Neolibs/Neocons United for War are grateful. As I'm sure is Barack.

Fondly,

Shrub
 
 
+1 # dsepeczi 2016-04-27 13:05
Quoting Shades of gray matter:
Aha! A monumentally important & complex set of problems to seek help in understanding. But before turning to the Saudis & 9-11, let me express the hereabouts unpopular notion that Barack H. Obama has willingly given up his ability to sleep at night SO THAT we can sleep at night. He doesn't get to create simple black & white allies and enemies of his own design in the Middle East. He inherited over 2000 years of powerful stuff. Some of it ill of our own making, some of it hundreds, thousands, of years in the making. No U.S. President can possibly be a clean handed Mighty Mouse there. Nor can we butt out. Remember, the actors there have enough resources to make THOUSANDS of NUKES, for YOU!! And would "HATE" to deliver them upon US infidels. The fact that they slaughter each other on such a grand scale shows they're NOT just out to deter or punish "Western Aggression." Never have been.


Yes, that's the ticket. Make them all out to be animals and marginalize them for their "savagery". I do fear those THOUSANDS of bombs meant for me, though. They clearly must be saving them for me. Why else would they have not used even one of them yet ? But I see where you're going with this. Now that they're just violent people that just slaughter each other, we can claim we're doing the right thing by introducing them to our American "exceptionalism ". Straight out of the neocon playbook.
 
 
-2 # Shades of gray matter 2016-04-25 12:36
9-11 needs to be re-opened, as does JFK, for that matter. Start with the overblown "28 pages," the thousands of associated documents. Then the disappearing Florida Saudis. Then the mysterious Israeli-Saudi Alliance that protects Israel from SERIOUS terror attacks while we experience 9-11. Maybe something should belatedly be done about the Too Big to Flail banks in Riyadh. Complexity overwhelms. No time for righteous (over-)simplifi cation. No time for FAUX analysis, FAUX indignation, FAUX "revolution." These are SERIOUS times, requiring serious thinking. Sarcasm is meant to scuttle interference with massive LIFE SAVING careful reasoning, once crapola is discouraged. These are times that try women's BRAINS.
 
 
-6 # mmc 2016-04-25 14:13
Boardman needs to learn the definition of "false" and "deceit" before he uses them again. Any valid points he has are obscured by the inaccurate exaggerations he uses. You can't say "John/Joan 'faslely' said x", and then follow up with "x is true as far as it goes, but he/she should have said y as well". That's just crappy writing.
 
 
+3 # WBoardman 2016-04-26 17:52
Does mmc have any specific example?

Ad hominem umbrage is not an argument. ;-)))
 
 
+3 # Radscal 2016-04-25 17:43
If this or similar Resolutions caused the US to stop funding and arming this Saudi "led" war on Yemen, even without admitting to the foundational role of the US, then I'd say it was worth it.

End the murdering first, then we can discuss why and how we were behind it.
 
 
+1 # WBoardman 2016-04-26 17:54
Radscal seems to miss the inherent fraudulence
of Resolution 32, which is offered almost surely
in the anticipation that it will never become law,
or even be seriously considered by either house.
 
 
+3 # lfeuille 2016-04-25 17:50
Thanks for the information. I hadn't realized this act had so many holes.
 
 
+7 # futhark 2016-04-25 18:05
Senator Rand Paul's papa Dr. Ron Paul has his say on these matters, calling for an end to default American support for Saudi military actions and to the immunity from prosecution their citizens have enjoyed in connection with their activities related to the 9/11 attacks:

Ron Paul: No More Entangling Alliances With Saudi Arabia!

http://www.ronpaul.com/2016-04-25/ron-paul-no-more-entangling-alliances-with-saudi-arabia/
 
 
-6 # Shades of gray matter 2016-04-25 18:19
The casual arguments and unstated assumptions in the article need to be very carefully examined. Some points are very appealing, but the overall situation is enormously complex, with villains aplenty, and some countries trying to avoid WMDs, even nukes, in their homelands. There are a LOT of things decision makers will do to try to avoid those WMDs. Terrorists are only inches away from them. Imagine what they could trigger.
 
 
+4 # WBoardman 2016-04-26 17:56
Does Shades of gray matter have any particulars to offer?

Vague generalizations are not a critique. ;-)))
 
 
+8 # heiko12 2016-04-25 19:40
One way to look at this: the military-indust rial complex is investing in its future! Yemen will now (and forever) supply endless streams of people who hate the USA. Unless they actually go door-to-door and kill every single person.

It is sad (and amazing) that the US backed war on Yemen is not covered at all in our "news" media. But they are too busy talking about the latest inanity from Trump's mouth, or some other nonsense.
 
 
+2 # dbrize 2016-04-25 20:57
A conservative publication tells us how bad it is:

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/how-wartime-washington-lives-in-luxury/

There are those on the right who "get it".
 
 
0 # jimmyjames 2016-04-26 18:25
http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/35790-hillary-clinton-s-business-of-corporate-shilling-and-war-making
 

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.

RSNRSN