Since March, 2015, the war in Yemen has killed at least 5,159 civilians and injured 8,761. Millions of people lost their homes. Cholera has ravaged the region at record speeds, with an estimated 822,000 cases currently reported; 600,000 children will likely be infected by Christmas. An estimated 2.2 million children are malnourished, with 385,000 of them requiring medical treatment to survive. According to UNICEF, every 10 minutes a child dies in Yemen. A staggering 18 million people are need humanitarian aid in the region.
Much of the destruction is the result of attacks from the Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi militias. The coalition has been raining down airstrikes for over two years. They’ve bombed funerals and schools and hospitals. And the recently instituted blockade has made things far worse. 64 human rights organizations urged the UN Human Rights Council to do something about the war crimes being continually committed in the region.
Yemen is dying.
And yet, since the war began the United States has been selling the Saudi coalition weapons, we’ve been providing them with intelligence and we’ve been refueling their planes. The Obama administration blocked some weapons sales last December after news hit of the aforementioned funeral bombing, which killed 140 and wounded 600 civilians, but did not stop supporting the Saudis outright. In June, the Senate approved $500 million more in weapons sales to Saudi Arabia.
Remarkably, some of the weapons we’ve sold to Saudi Arabia were cluster bombs. These particularly vile war tools are banned in 119 countries and are still killing kids in Laos over five decades after we blanketed the country with them during the Vietnam War. The unexploded ordnance these bombs leave behind look like metallic baseballs and are often picked up by children.
The United States is complicit in the destruction of Yemen, and it’s high time we pulled our support entirely. As The Intercept reported, there was a bi-partisan house bill, (H.Con.Res.81) introduced which was formatted to use the War Powers Resolution to stop U.S. involvement in the war. The severely compromised bill that was eventually passed however, does absolutely nothing to stop or slow the U.S. role.
So, on and on it spins. The United States has been abetting war crimes in Yemen for 32 months. And with each passing day the death toll grows, more children starve to death, more are infected with Cholera or are killed by a U.S. made missile. Our continual involvement here is disgraceful, and it needs to receive far more coverage.
Written by Jesse Mechanic
Jesse Mechanic is the editor in chief of The Overgrown.