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Saudi Arabia is slaughtering civilians in Yemen, and the US is footing the bill

Khaled Abdullah Ali / Reuters
A Saudi airstrike (sent with blessings from the U.S.) sends a missile into an ammo dump near Sanaa, Yemen.
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NORMAN, Okla. -- Saudi Arabia is currently waging war against Yemen. It began on March 26th of last year, with the goal of influencing the civil war that had been raging in Yemen between a religious/political group known as the Houthis and a more Saudi-friendly government.

The Houthis took a couple of cities, shooting broke out, etc. It might sound like some internecine, regional war that has nothing to do with the United States.

But the complication, one of many, that should make it the concern of American citizens is this: Saudi fighter pilots fly American-made jets, and drop American-made bombs on their targets. Those targets are comprised of a Third World enemy that lack the advantage of a First World patron. They get slaughtered, as the Houthis have in Yemen.

But it’s not just the Houthis dying by the hundreds from Saudi airstrikes, not even close. The UN estimates that over 3,000 civilians have died from Saudi airstrikes. 2.5 million civilians have been displaced due to the protracted war.

Reports from inside Yemen indicate that Saudi Arabia doesn’t care in the slightest as to the danger to civilians. Key civilian infrastructure, such as hospitals and sea ports, have been specifically targeted as well.

Despite this, the United States continues the flow of billions of dollars’ worth of military gear to Saudi Arabia. Until very recently, this also included the sale of cluster bombs, which the Saudis employed with enthusiasm. These murderous abominations are created specifically to target civilians.

They break apart mid-air and disperse tiny bomblets that lie unexploded, creating a de facto mine field, waiting for a civilian to come along and pick them up, triggering the bomb. It’s a filthy weapon employed by a filthy government. They have been sold by the US to Saudi Arabia en masse until Obama decided it was bad PR and halted the sales of cluster bombs in late May of this year.

It’s a sign that those in government are very aware of how uncivilized the government they make weapons deals with actually are.

An embargo has also been imposed on Yemen, with the apparent goal of starving the dirt-poor country into submission. 14 million Yemenis are at risk for starvation, according to the UN.

And yet...to say that the United States is merely footing the bill for the Saudi war of attrition against Yemen’s civilian population is a bit of an understatement. The US has footed the bill for Saudi military tech for decades, nothing new. Indeed, the United States is, by far, the largest arms dealer in the world.

The role of the United States in this current war is far more extensive, in that our government is giving full support, both material and tactical, to the Saudi military in their war on a poor Third World country. The Saudis are enjoying the aid of U.S. military advice, with as many as 45 U.S. military advisors developing strategy for the airstrikes.

All the while, the Yemeni branch of Al Qaeda grows throughout the region, benefiting from the chaos induced by the Saudi war.

Why should we, citizens of the United States, care? Aside from the obvious fact that innocent civilians are being slaughtered wholesale by the weapons from our government and with full support from our government, the main reason is this: this is a textbook example of how terrorism is created. Yemenis aren’t stupid, they know who makes the bombs killing their friends and families, and destroying the infrastructure of their dirt-poor country.

They know who’s funding the government that’s raining death upon their heads. They aren’t going to forget when they crawl out of the rubble. Should it really come as a surprise when some crazed person commits a mass murder of innocents while screaming about Yemen?

Most Americans have no idea what crimes their government commits in their name. How many have even heard of the US support for the Saudi destruction of Yemen?

Who can find those countries on a map? But even though most haven’t heard, who do you think will be the ones to die in the terrorist counterattack? It won’t be those in government who instigate the conflicts, start the wars, and fund terrorist states such as Saudi Arabia.

Terrorists aim for soft targets, regular citizens going about their day.

We become the human shields of the Political Class. So yes, it is in our interest to know what is done in our name. Our government arms sides in Third World conflicts almost like it’s a game, believing they know with certainty the outcome.

But the outcome is never as it’s planned, just look at the inferno created in Iraq, the blazing dumpster fires of Libya and Syria. Third World countries armed with First World weapons is a recipe for a mountain of innocent dead, but the survivors won’t forget who supported the side that murdered their family and destroyed their country.

Blowback is a real phenomenon, but one inconvenient for those Western governments intent on beginning these wars. But we pay the price in tax dollars and lives, not them.

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Shane Smith

Shane Smith is an accountant and freelance writer with a bachelor's degree in economics from...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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