Imperial Human Sacrifice in Yemen

Is America the World’s Worst Girlfriend?

Dan Sanchez
Apr 4, 2016 · 4 min read

Stand-up comic Louis CK recently did this bit where he characterized America as “the world’s worst girlfriend”:

The bit is really funny and perceptive. But in actuality, the average American would respond with, “We’re bombing Yemen? What’s Yemen?” While the average American foreign policy official wouldn’t cite 9/11, but would feign innocence. “We’re not! That war belongs to Saudi Arabia. Whaaatt? I didn’t do anything!”

These veils of ignorance and deception parted ever so slightly recently, when, after a whole year, the war on Yemen finally received some major coverage in the mainstream media. A March 29 Associated Press “Big Story” exposed mainstream readers to the war’s horrific human toll. The article, titled “An infant’s 5-month life points to hunger’s spread in Yemen,” frames the story by delving into one of the war’s innumerable tragedies.

The story also featured a harrowing photo of the emaciated little baby shortly before his death. The picture has not yet gone viral, as the photo of drowned toddler Aylan Kurdi did. If it does, it could cause a breakthrough in public awareness of the Yemen war, just as Aylan’s picture did for the Syrian war and refugee crisis.

The AP also quantified the tragedy (although these figures may drastically underestimate the magnitude of the calamity):

Try to imagine a child you love starved to emaciation. Now realize that your government is complicit in causing 160,000 children to suffer that.

On March 13, a front page article went into some detail about American support for the war. The story, titled “Quiet Support for Saudis Entangles U.S. in Yemen,” stated that the U.S. provided the assailants of Yemen, “with intelligence, airborne fuel tankers and thousands of advanced munitions…” This was already reported elsewhere earlier in the war, and the American role is probably far greater than that. But what was remarkable was the story’s exposure of the rather cynical reasoning for this support. During the high level deliberations over whether to intervene (emphasis added throughout all subsequent quotes):

The further reported that:


So there you have it. The U.S. enabled the Yemen war as a reassuring gesture for the Saudis and a “tough message” for the Iranians. Thousands killed and hundreds of thousands of children being starved, all to send various signals to allies and adversaries: war as a geopolitical messaging app.

President Barack Obama, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, couldn’t negotiate a partial detente with Iran without offering up a mass human sacrifice in Yemen to propitiate the Saudis. Such are the dismal prospects for peace through politics.

The war has also enabled Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to thrive and conquer in Yemen. “America, why are you providing the bombs being dropped on mortal enemies of Al Qaeda?” “Because nine-eleven!”

Empire is a harsh mistress. But is America the world’s worst girlfriend? I don’t know about that. But, from starving babies to breeding terrorists, the U.S. government is definitely building a reputation as the world’s worst “security” force.

Essays by Dan Sanchez

For Peace and Liberty

Dan Sanchez

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Essays by Dan Sanchez

For Peace and Liberty