Stop Letting Yourself be Distracted

Before reading this article, ask yourself three questions:

  1. Who are the major players in the Yemeni civil war?
  2. How many civilian casualties have been suffered?
  3. What role does the United States play in the war?

If you can’t answer at least one of those questions, don’t worry, you aren’t the only one. While writing this, I asked several family members if they had even heard of the Yemen civil war and they just shrugged their shoulders.

It’s not totally their fault. For the most part, the media is silent on the matter. Instead of covering significant world events and reporting on actual humanitarian crises, major media outlets prefer to obsess over a couple hundred tiki torch wielding wanna-be Nazis and deranged “anti-fascist” communists.

Obviously, I’m speaking of the tragic UTR rally held in Charlottesville, VA. The violence that took place that weekend must be condemned, and we should mourn the death of Heather Heyer. But the rally, and its proceeding backlash, has dominated the news cycle for nearly a week now. The whole thing wreaks of distractionism (a gambit played time and time again). Remember when we used to talk about Trump-Russia (another nothing-burger) every day? And just last week the topic of choice was the controversial google memo.

Predictably, we watch and read very little on the role the US has in the complicated conflicts that are ripping apart the middle east.

I call it distractionism because the alt-right and antifa are not significant movements, and only have whatever traction the mainstream media allows them. The two groups don’t deserve our attention because neither are a real threat to American society. I firmly believe that if we ignored them, they would writher and die.

Keith Preston lays out my thoughts exactly, in this great episode of the Tom Woods Show.

What We Should be Focused On

The Yemeni civil war is a full-blown humanitarian crisis.

The Shiite rebel group known as the Houthis and the internationally recognized Yemeni government have been battling it out since 2004, but the recent (2015) intervention by the Arab-nation military coalition formed by Saudi Arabia, has exacerbated the situation. The coalition includes nations such as Qatar, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan and Senegal. These countries hope to retake the Yemen capital of Sanaa, quell the Houthi rebellion and re-implement the previous government.

The empirical results of this war are staggering.

  • Since March of 2015, the Yemeni civil war has claimed the lives of 4,971 civilians and injured another 8,533. The UN humanitarian office based in Yemen says these estimates are likely lowballing reality, considering the increased difficulty in casualty tracking. To put that into perspective; since 2001, the US has suffered 5,078 servicemember deaths from the Global War on Terrorism.
  • Already in 2017, more airstrikes have been performed in Yemen than in all of 2016. In 2016, 3,936 airstrikes were conducted, and as of June 2017, 5,676 airstrikes have been launched. This is one reason there is such a high rate of civilian casualties, as weapons with a wide blast radius do not discriminate between combatants and non-combatants.
  • 462,000 children are suffering from acute malnutrition because of a Saudi-led, US-backed blockade. Because of airport closures, humanitarian organizations are forced to travel 10-20 hours and cross several fronts before reaching the Yemen capital. To put it simply, the blockade makes relief efforts unnecessarily difficult. This has also contributed to a severe cholera outbreak. Since the outbreak began approximately 4 months ago, 2,000 people have been killed by the disease. Regions controlled by the Houthis are disproportionally effected by the outbreak. It seems the Saudi-led blockade is effective at blocking aid.
  • As of January 2017, 2 million Yemenis are internally (within Yemen borders) displaced. Interpreted; Yemen has a refugee crisis on its hands, mostly in western Yemen. Refugee has become a bit of a buzzword in the US after the Syrian refugee crisis, so just replace refugee with ‘someone who had to leave their home or face the risk of being blown up’ and the stat suddenly has a greater impact. Aside from being sporadically shelled by US produced arms, being a refugee in the current Yemen atmosphere is about the worst thing that can happen to you. Poverty was already an issue in Yemen, so not having sufficient shelter makes you even less food-secure and even more susceptible to the cholera outbreak.

What Role Does the US Play?

Prior to 2015, and the fall of Sanaa to the Houthis, the US had boots on the ground in Yemen. As the Houthis made their way into the capital, the doors of the US embassy were closed, and the Marines that guarded the embassy boarded a chartered flight and got the hell out of dodge.

The US has returned to Yemen soil in of the form of small unit special operations forces. These servicemembers are operating on the ground as militants, as made evident by the death of Navy SEAL, Ryan Owens, in a US conducted ground raid.

Beyond a presence on the ground, the US has conducted over 80 airstrikes in 2017 alone. Along with that, the US and UK together have authorized the transfer of more than $5 billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia.

It’s no mystery what those arms are being used for.

To give some context to the $5 billion figure; in the past two years, the US and UK defense departments have spent just $450 million on humanitarian aid to Yemen.

Disclaimer

None of this is meant as an endorsement of the Iran-backed Houthi Rebels. They are just as complicit as other nations are in these crimes against humanity. However, I hold no allegiance to the Houthis. They are a NGO, of which, I have zero affiliation. I have stake in only one actor involved in this conflict; the United States, which is why I took the time to write this article. I do not wish to see my home nation involved in these nefarious matters. My preference is that the US leave the middle east all together, and abandon our failed 16-year long campaign against global terrorism.

The US should take a 100% hands-off approach to the conflict in Yemen. To continue on inserting ourselves into the matters of middle eastern countries, would be to engage in a fallacy of epic proportions. We must cut our losses. A sunk cost mentality cannot be allowed to overtake our natural inclination towards peace, which is what I hope to have enthused with this piece.

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