Attacking Yemen

Houthi fighters fire anti-tank grenades during a military manoeuvre near Sanaa, Yemen, October 30, 2023. Houthi Media Center/Handout

The recent attacks on Yemen by US and British military forces are not about protecting international shipping lanes. Nor are they about protecting imperial troops in lands where they are not wanted and don’t belong. Simply put, they are about supporting Israel’s murderous slaughter in Gaza and maintaining US imperialism’s faltering control of the region the empire calls the middle east. If Washington and London were truly interested in protecting the shipping lanes in question, they would demand a ceasefire in Gaza and work towards implementing it. If Washington was interested in protecting US forces, it would remove those forces from Iraq, Syria and every other nation they are not welcome.

Instead, Washington is doing the exact opposite. It’s boisterous support of the Israeli slaughter in Gaza and rejection of any and all ceasefire calls is the most obvious evidence of this. Likewise, the pentagon’s refusal to withdraw its forces from Iraq and Syria in direct rejections of those countries’ governments demands proves Washington does not seek peace; it seeks control. Of course, that control is neither likely or possible. As long as Washington denies Israel’s illegal occupation of the West Bank and its siege of Gaza, so is almost any kind of peace. Just as it is in the rest of the world, the way to peace is through negotiations, not military conflict. As long as Washington’s approach to negotiations is one that issues ultimatums and demands surrender, it remains clear Washington is not genuinely interested in peace.

Neither the Yemeni fighters nor the Palestinians are the enemies of the people of the US. They are, however, opposed to Washington’s political and military high command and its insistence on manipulating their fates. The imperial mindset represented by that manipulation has been consistently challenged by those who are targeted. Domination of the region by Washington and its clients remains elusive despite the millions killed, wounded and displaced by Washington’s forces. Reasonable men and women would acknowledge this historical fact and realign their goals in a manner that respects and accommodates all peoples in the nations involved, not just those in Washington’s service.

Escalating the war in the so-called middle east is not in the interests of most US residents. Looking at history, it’s reasonable to say that any further escalation on any front in the region will bring higher commodity prices for residents of the US and the rest of the globe. It also suggests a potential for greater shortages of goods. Furthermore, the greater any potential escalation becomes, the greater the likelihood of deeper US involvement. In other words, an increased chance of more boots on the ground and the likelihood of a bloody conflict encompassing the region and perhaps the world. As is usually the case in such circumstances, the beneficiaries of a greater war will be limited to those who profit from arms sales and the fossil fuels industry. Their profits, like the shekels paid to Judas before his kiss in the garden of Gethsemane, can never make up for the blood spilled and yet to be spilled. They can never be justified and they never should be.

The armchair military experts in Congress and the media expose their ignorance almost every time they open their mouths. Joe Biden’s pimping for the war industry is evidence of an unimaginative policy and an ever more cavalier attitude towards human life and the environment. Those media personalities cheerleading for the Israeli massacre in Gaza and their calls for attacking Iran prove their ignorance and a reprehensible disregard for human life. Those of us with a more critical understanding (and not on the payroll of the war machine) know that expanding military operations will not create peace, only more devastation. The quiet of the dead is an illusory peace. The revenge of their ghosts is both foolish and dangerous to dismiss. One would think this would be the commonly held understanding. It’s up to the antiwar to make certain that it is.

Ron Jacobs is the author of Daydream Sunset: Sixties Counterculture in the Seventies published by CounterPunch Books. He has a new book, titled Nowhere Land: Journeys Through a Broken Nation coming out in Spring 2024.   He lives in Vermont. He can be reached at: