FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The World According to Mad Dog: US Support for Saudi War in Yemen Reduces Civilian Casualties

Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis claimed on Tuesday that US support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen is helping to reduce civilian casualties in a conflict in which tens of thousands of innocent men, women and children have perished over the past three years.

Appearing at a Pentagon press briefing, Mattis was asked about reports that he did not raise the issue of civilian casualties during a meeting last week with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Washington, DC. The defense secretary called those reports “incorrect” and insisted he and the crown prince “talked about the humanitarian aspect and desire to end the war.” Mattis then argued that US aerial refueling of Saudi coalition warplanes helps pilots make better decisions about when to drop their bombs:

“When you look at such things as air refueling, when you’re a pilot in the air and you’ve got bombs on your wing and you got somebody calling on you to drop and you’re watching your fuel gauge go down, you say, ‘No you don’t. We’re going to refuel you. There’s no need for a rash or hasty decision there.’”

Mattis then said that the United States is teaching Saudi war planners how to avoid killing civilians by designating “no-strike zones,” which include “schools and hospitals.”

Perhaps the Saudis are slow learners, for they have bombed schools, hospitals, homes, markets, mosques, weddings and funerals in an air strike campaign the United Nations says has killed some 5,000 civilians. Additionally, a Saudi-led blockade has led to widespread famine and the worst cholera outbreak in recorded history. Last year, over 50,000 Yemeni children are believed to have died from disease or starvation.

Or perhaps the Americans are bad teachers. To borrow a phrase from President Donald Trump, the US has, after all, been been “bombing the shit out of” civilians in half a dozen predominantly Muslim countries, including Yemen, over the course of its 16-year so-called war on terror. More than a million men, women and children are have died.

Mattis, who earned the “Mad Dog” moniker while commanding the atrocity-laden battle for Fallujah, Iraq in 2004, surely increased civilian death and suffering when he announced last year that the US was shifting to a policy of “annihilation” in the war against Islamic State, and warned that “civilian casualties are a fact of life in this sort of situation.” Civilian deaths soared as US air strikes pounded MosulRaqqa and other cities, towns and villages then controlled by IS militants. They’re still pulling bodies from the ruins of Mosul and Raqqa six months after IS was driven out.

“We’re not the perfect guys, but we’re the good guys,” Mattis asserted last year, and again at Tuesday’s press conference. This, just weeks after the “good guys” launched a series of drone strikes in Yemen that killed seven civilians, including a 13-year-old boy who was blown to bits as he returned home from visiting relatives in Hadramout province.

Last week, the US Senate narrowly defeated a bipartisan resolution introduced by Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Mike Lee (R-UT) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) that would have ended US involvement in the Saudi-led war. Instead of cutting back on US support, Trump touted the sale of $12.5 billion worth of US weapons to Saudi Arabia during the crown prince’s visit. The United States is the world’s number one arms dealer. Saudi Arabia is the world’s second-biggest weapons importer. US support for Saudi war crimes in Yemen is all but sure to continue until the war’s last bomb has fallen, and innocent Yemenis will continue to pay the heaviest price.

Brett Wilkins is editor-at-large for US news at Digital Journal. Based in San Francisco, his work covers issues of social justice, human rights and war and peace. (brettwilkins74@gmail.com

More articles by:

Brett Wilkins is editor-at-large for US news at Digital Journal. Based in San Francisco, his work covers issues of social justice, human rights and war and peace. 

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

April 22, 2019
Melvin Goodman
The NYTs Tries to Rehabilitate Bloody Gina Haspel
Robert Fisk
After ISIS, a Divided Iraq, Wounded and Grief-Stricken
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange as Neuroses
John Laforge
Chernobyl’s Deadly Effects Estimates Vary
Kenneth Surin
Mueller Time? Not for Now
Cesar Chelala
Yemen: The Triumph of Barbarism
Kerron Ó Luain
What the “White Irish Slaves” Meme Tells Us About Identity Politics
Andy Piascik
Grocery Store Workers Take on Billion Dollar Multinational
Seiji Yamada – Gregory G. Maskarinec
Health as a Human Right: No Migrants Need Apply
Howard Lisnoff
Loose Bullets and Loose Cannons
Ricardo Alarcón de Quesada
Dreaming in Miami
Graham Peebles
Consuming Stuff: The Polluting World of Fashion
Robert Dodge
Earth Day: Our Planet in Peril
Weekend Edition
April 19, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
What Will It Take For Trump to Get His Due?
Roy Eidelson
Is the American Psychological Association Addicted to Militarism and War?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Time is Blind, Man is Stupid
Joshua Frank
Top 20 Mueller Report “Findings”
Rob Urie
Why Russiagate Will Never Go Away
Paul Street
Stephen Moore Gets Something Right: It’s Capitalism vs. Democracy
Russell Mokhiber
Why Boeing and Its Executives Should be Prosecuted for Manslaughter
T.J. Coles
The Battle for Latin America: How the U.S. Helped Destroy the “Pink Tide”
Ron Jacobs
Ho Chi Minh City: Nguyen Thai Binh Street
Dean Baker
Fun Fictions in Economics
David Rosen
Trump’s One-Dimensional Gender Identity
Kenn Orphan
Notre Dame: We Have Always Belonged to Her
Robert Hunziker
The Blue Ocean Event and Collapsing Ecosystems
Theodore C. Van Alst, Jr.
Paddy Wagon
Brett Wilkins
Jimmy Carter: US ‘Most Warlike Nation in History of the World’
John W. Whitehead
From Jesus Christ to Julian Assange: When Dissidents Become Enemies of the State
Nick Pemberton
To Never Forget or Never Remember
Stephen Cooper
My Unforgettable College Stabbings
Louis Proyect
A Leftist Rejoinder to the “Capitalist Miracle”
Louisa Willcox
Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic and the Need for a New Approach to Managing Wildlife
Brian Cloughley
Britain Shakes a Futile Fist and Germany Behaves Sensibly
Jessicah Pierre
A Revolutionary Idea to Close the Racial Wealth Divide
George Burchett
Revolutionary Journalism
Dan Bacher
U.S. Senate Confirms Oil Lobbyist David Bernhardt as Interior Secretary
Nicky Reid
The Strange Success of Russiagate
Chris Gilbert
Defending Venezuela: Two Approaches
Todd Larsen
The Planetary Cost of Amazon’s Convenience
Kelly Martin
How the White House is Spinning Earth Day
Nino Pagliccia
Cuba and Venezuela: Killing Two Birds With a Stone
Matthew Stevenson
Pacific Odyssey: Guadalcanal and Bloody Ridge, Solomon Islands
David Kattenburg
Trudeau’s Long Winter
Gary Olson
A Few Comments on the recent PBS Series: Reconstruction: America After the Civil War
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail