HomeIssuesForeign PolicyChris Hedges: It’s Our Bombs, Not Trump’s Comments, that Fuel Hatred Towards the United States
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When we sell Saudi Arabia billions of dollars worth of weapons, what do we think will happen with all those weapons?

Exclusive: As Saudis bombed Yemen, U.S. worried about legal blowback

The Obama administration went ahead with a $1.3 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia last year despite warnings from some officials that the United States could be implicated in war crimes for supporting a Saudi-led air campaign in Yemen that has killed thousands of civilians, according to government documents and the accounts of current and former officials.

State Department officials also were privately skeptical of the Saudi military’s ability to target Houthi militants without killing civilians and destroying “critical infrastructure” needed for Yemen to recover, according to the emails and other records obtained by Reuters and interviews with nearly a dozen officials with knowledge of those discussions.

U.S. government lawyers ultimately did not reach a conclusion on whether U.S. support for the campaign would make the United States a “co-belligerent” in the war under international law, four current and former officials said. That finding would have obligated Washington to investigate allegations of war crimes in Yemen and would have raised a legal risk that U.S. military personnel could be subject to prosecution, at least in theory.

For instance, one of the emails made a specific reference to a 2013 ruling from the war crimes trial of former Liberian president Charles Taylor that significantly widened the international legal definition of aiding and abetting such crimes.

The ruling found that “practical assistance, encouragement or moral support” is sufficient to determine liability for war crimes. Prosecutors do not have to prove a defendant participated in a specific crime, the U.N.-backed court found.

State Department lawyers “had their hair on fire” as reports of civilian casualties in Yemen multiplied in 2015, and prominent human rights groups charged that Washington could be complicit in war crimes, one U.S. official said. That official and the others requested anonymity.

During an October 2015 meeting with private human rights groups, a State Department specialist on protecting civilians in conflict acknowledged Saudi strikes were going awry.

A U.S. Navy guided missile destroyer was targeted on Sunday in a failed missile attack from territory in Yemen controlled by Iran-aligned Houthi rebels, a U.S. military spokesman told Reuters, saying neither of the two missiles hit the ship.

The attempted strike on the USS Mason, which was first reported by Reuters, came just a week after a United Arab Emirates vessel came under attack from Houthis and suggests growing risks to the U.S. military from Yemen’s conflict.

The failed missile attack on the USS Mason began around 7 p.m. local time, when the ship detected two inbound missiles over a 60-minute period in the Red Sea off Yemen’s coast, the U.S. military said.

“Both missiles impacted the water before reaching the ship,” Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said. “There were no injuries to our sailors and no damage to the ship.”

Saudi Arabia and the United States blame Shi’ite Iran for supplying weapons to the Houthis. Tehran views the Houthis, who are from a Shi’ite sect, as the legitimate authority in Yemen but denies it supplies them with weapons.

A U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the first missile triggered counter-measures from the USS Mason. It was not immediately clear whether those defenses may have helped prevent a direct hit on the ship.

I hope we don’t get drawn into this war too, more than we are already:

But the Houthis — a minority Shia group that has taken control of much of Yemen, including the capital — denied Monday that its forces had targeted the warship.

An official from the Houthi-controlled military said the reports were aimed at covering up a “heinous” Saudi-led coalition airstrike on a wake Saturday in the capital, Sanaa, that officials said killed at least 155 people, the Houthi-controlled SABA news agency reported.

“Reports that allege that Yemeni rockets targeted ships off the Yemeni (coast) are baseless,” the official said.


Yes. We’ve been drone bombing them for some time, now.


According to a report on Democracy Now The Yemeni bombing attacks have been carried out with warplanes and munitions sold to the Saudi-led coalition by the United States. The U.S. Air Force continues to provide midair refueling to Saudi warplanes that are bombing Yemeni.

When you participate in bombing a country you can expect that they will attempt to bomb you back, especially if you have war ships stationed right off their coast.

Remember what we (the Us) did after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.


Chris nails it here. It’s another elephant in the living room of America. As I’ve said so often, we go in and find a way to disrupt and start wars and feuds and fund them until they are out of control, and then act all shocked and decide we must go in and bomb some more to “protect” people.

And the we “wonder” why they hate us. TPTB don’t wonder, they know what’s good for their bottom line. As hard as that is to admit about the country that I love, I can think of no other answer for the insanity that is our “forever war” mentality. It’s truly dispiriting in its base meanness.

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