Tuesday October 31, 2017
Wars that the United States is waging around the world undermine our security by turning entire populations against us and diverting our attention and resources away from urgent needs at home. No, the opposite is true: the United States faces serious threats, and can only protect itself by confronting them wherever they emerge. This debate has divided Americans for more than a century. Congress may soon have a rare opportunity to take one side or the other.
The battleground is Yemen, the poorest country in the Middle East. For nearly three years, Yemen has been under relentless attack from the region’s richest country, Saudi Arabia. Saudi bombing has created what the United Nations calls “the largest humanitarian crisis in the world.” More than half the population is hungry. Cholera is raging and may afflict 1 million people by the end of this year. A child dies from preventable causes every ten minutes. Saudi forces have blockaded Yemen’s main port, so almost no humanitarian aid can reach the victims.
This war could not proceed without American help. Missiles and bombs raining down on Yemen are made in the United States. American intelligence officers help Saudi pilots pick targets to attack. Most important, American tanker planes refuel Saudi fighter jets in flight, allowing them to carry out many more raids than they could if they had to return regularly to their bases. At the UN, American diplomats work to water down condemnations of Saudi Arabia, and to block investigation of possible war crimes.