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“Why 55 U.S. Senators Voted for Genocide in Yemen”

That’s the headline of a blog. It’s a good question. There are six factors involved: Iran, sales of arms, Israel, the CIA, indifferent cruelty, and the system of empire. These are all bad reasons that shouldn’t persuade right-thinking and honorable U.S. senators, but votes for genocide do not come from right-thinking and honorable senators.

Iran. The idea is that Saudi Arabia is thwarting Iran in Yemen. The evidence for this is very, very thin, but even if the Saudis want to thwart Iran somehow in Yemen, that doesn’t justify either a war initiated by Saudi Arabia, a war of the type and scale being waged by the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, and a U.S. presence in that war.

Sales of arms. Huge sales to the Saudis are being made by U.S. companies who influence senators.

Israel. Israel is anti-Iran and in league with Saudi Arabia. Senators are influenced by the Israel lobby.

Notice that in none of these factors or those to follow does the American public play a part. The Senate is only remotely under the control of Americans on this issue, and why would it be? Americans are little affected by what their government does in Yemen, and the U.S. role is kept quite hidden. The visible and well-heeled Israel lobby is more influential than the invisible “pro-American public” lobby.

The CIA. The CIA operates an anti-al Qaeda operation inside Yemen. The war has allowed al-Qaeda to expand. This justifies an expanded CIA presence there. This benefits the CIA.

Indifferent cruelty. The lives of Yemenis count for little to those who vote for genocide. This is a characteristic of fallen man that is sometimes ameliorated by moral teachings and the threat of punishments or worse blowback, but only now and then. The institutional customs and mechanisms to control this trait are not strong enough to stop genocides.

The system of empire. Habitual cruelty is a feature of the U.S. empire. Empires enforce “order”, actually control and dominance, over broad domains that they seek to extend. They use killing to accomplish their expansion in most cases. Their victims are not counted as costs.

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10:29 am on March 23, 2018