Why quit now?


My fellow Americans, while we were all gasping and laughing at Donald Trump and the Republican Party today–and I’m not knocking anybody, I spent most of the day doing it too–here’s what our government was doing:

More than 140 people were killed and more than 525 wounded when airstrikes hit a funeral ceremony in Yemen’s capital, Sana’a, a senior UN official has said, as Houthi rebels blamed the attack on the Saudi-led coalition.

The dead and wounded include senior military and security officials from the ranks of the Shia Houthi rebels fighting the internationally recognised government of president Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi as well as their allies, loyalists of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

In the aftermath of the strike on Saturday, hundreds of body parts were found strewn in and outside the hall. Rescuers collected them in sacks. “The place has been turned into a lake of blood,” said one rescuer, Murad Tawfiq.

The death toll may be higher than 140–CNN is reporting 155, but as far as I can tell they’re the only ones and anyway even that may be too low when the counting is done–so let’s say 140 for now. And, yeah, I know this was a Saudi airstrike (apparently a double/triple tap strike, or, to put it another way, a “war crime”) conducted by Saudi aircraft as part of a Saudi military operation. But we’ve long since blown past the point where the systematic annihilation of Yemen could be blamed on anybody but the Obama administration and the fine folks in Congress.

In a move that would be hilarious if we were watching it all happen in a dark fictional comedy film, the administration is reportedly “reviewing” its support for the Saudi operation in Yemen after today’s atrocity, and my question is: so what? After enabling the Saudis to kill thousands of Yemenis, to leave millions more at risk of starving to death, and to commit rampant war crimes in the process, all the while knowing that it could have stopped this operation at pretty much any time, why would the administration decide that this attack is a bridge too far? Don’t get me wrong; I hope they do decide to pull their support for this ongoing crime against humanity. But I’m not holding my breath. Protecting Yemeni civilians is clearly far down on the Obama administration’s list of priorities, well behind “make nice with Riyadh so they’ll keep buying our weapons and in the hope that maybe, someday, they might actually do more to stabilize the world than they do to destabilize it.”


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