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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 9/4/16

The Red Wet Children of Yemen

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Message Michael Galli


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Why should we care about the American tax dollar being spent in Yemen? Shakespeare knew, and thus he put these words in the mouth of his character Shylock in The Merchant of Venice:

If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that " The villainy you teach me I will execute--and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.

Last April, the United Nations released a report stating that of the 1,953 children maimed and killed in 2015 in Yemen's civil war, 60% (510 deaths and 667 injuries) were attributed to the U.S. supported Saudi Arabia coalition bombing campaign.1 The United States has been providing the Saudi coalition with logistical support and bombs, including the internationally banned cluster bomb.2 For example, the American made CBU 58A/B, a missile-shaped shell containing around 650 bomblets the size of a baseball, was used on Yemen's largest city Sanaa on January 6, 2016.3 One CBU 58A/B is capable of flooding an area the size of a football field with 169,000 metal fragments and 1,300 five-gram titanium incendiary pellets.4,5,6 Need you imagine what this does to flesh?

see 49 seconds of this weapon at work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebtzJueqiyA

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Another common U.S. cluster bomb used in Yemen is the CBU-105 manufactured by the Textron Corporation in Wilmington Massasschuttes.7,8 To learn how this weapon functions, watch Textron's three minute sales video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HkauuIyDsM

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Click here to see 56 seconds of the CBU-105 being used near a northern Yemeni village: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TI8BcHofWdw&feature=youtu.be

Since 2011, Saudi Arabia, a dictatorship that publically tortures and beheads its citizens and is the home base of the jihadist Wahhabi Islam practiced by the Taliban, al-Qaeda, and Isis, has been the leading recipient of U.S. arms.9,10,11

Following the UN report on child casualties, the White House "quietly placed a hold on the transfer of cluster bombs" to the Saudi kingdom.12 A month later, however, the U.S. Congress voted against an amendment that would have blocked the transfer of cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia for fear that such a ban would "stigmatize" the weapons.13 Never mind that majority of the international community already "stigmatized" cluster bombs in 2008 by signing a treaty banning their use.14 It goes without saying the U.S. refused to ink the document.

And then there is the pressure that the Saudi kingdom put on the UN upon release of its Yemen report. Threatening the peace institute with a "total rupture" of relations and the cessation of massive financial support, along with the suggestion that its clerics "could meet to issue an anti-U.N. fatwa declaring the organization 'anti-Muslim,'" Ban Ki Moon et al removed Saudi Arabia from the UN's "blacklist of groups violating children's rights in armed conflict."15

Consider the following. The average Yemini family consists of seven persons.16 A U.S. supported Saudi bombing casualty rate of 1,177 children has a direct impact upon tens of thousands of family members and an exponential impact upon an untold number of acquaintances. Never mind the United States' direct bombing of the Yemenis via drones (150 strikes and counting).17 In a recent interview with NPR's Scott Simon, David Goldfein, a former drone pilot who is the new chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force, announced that the largest percentage of pilots in the Air Force are now flying drones. "We have far more mission than we have air force today," Goldfein lamented, "Which is why you are seeing us trying to build the force back up." 18

And so the war of terror marches on educating an increasing number of Shylocks. How long before one of them strikes again at the heart of empire?

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Sources

1. Children and Armed Conflict: http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=s/2016/360&referer=/english/&Lang=E

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Michael Galli is the Dean of Students at Rivendell Academy, a small 7-12 interstate public school on the New Hampshire / Vermont border, where he teaches classes on media and U.S. foreign policy.

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