Biden’s War on Yemen

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The unspoken premise for U.S. airstrikes against the Houthis’ is that an active genocide should be permitted to continue, argues Caitlin Johnstone.

U.S. Navy vessel firing Tomahawk missiles in Houthi-controlled Yemen, circa Jan. 12. (U.S. Navy, Wikimedia Commons, Public domain)

By Caitlin Johnstone

Listen to Tim Foley reading this article. 

On Monday the U.S. launched its eighth wave of airstrikes in its new war against Yemeni forces, which it has now formally titled “Operation Poseidon Archer.” 

The strikes are aimed at breaking a Red Sea shipping blockade which the de facto authorities in Yemen have implemented to pressure Israel and its allies into ceasing the genocidal onslaught in Gaza. 

At a press briefing on Monday, Principal Deputy State Department Spokesperson Vedant Patel uttered a now-familiar Biden administration line when asked if the war would escalate to involve US boots on the ground.

“First, as it relates to the Houthis, the United States is not interested in any escalation, but it is never acceptable for malign actors to target international vessels, to target legitimate commerce that is flowing through the Red Sea,” Patel said.

“We’re talking about international waters that allow 30 percent of global container shipping to flow through those waters — 15 percent of seaborne trade. This is a waterway that is vital. And we will always take appropriate steps to hold those accountable that put things like legitimate commerce, civilians, U.S. personnel, in harm’s way.”

Ever since the Biden administration began bombing Yemen, its official spinmeisters have been babbling about commerce and global container shipping to justify it. The unspoken premise behind this justification is that an active genocide should be permitted to continue with zero economic repercussions of any kind, for Israel or anyone else.

It’s just taken as a given by empire managers and their defenders that the money must keep flowing and the gears of capitalism must keep turning at the same rate they were turning before Israel began massacring tens of thousands of Palestinian civilians, if not faster. That the horrors being unleashed in Gaza should have no material impact on the rest of the world whatsoever.

The empire will permit you to think thoughts and feel feelings about the butchery in Gaza quietly in the privacy of your own head, and under the right circumstances it will even permit you to attend pro-Palestine demonstrations and share your opinions on social media. But as soon as it comes to physically interfering with the gears of the imperial machine, they’ll blow your guts out.

This is of course absurd. The horrors in Gaza should be affecting the whole world. Our lives should not be proceeding normally, and it’s freakish and obscene that they do. It’s a sign of a profoundly sick civilization that so many of us in the west are able to lose ourselves in idle entertainment and laugh and stuff our faces with snacks and go out on the town while the nightmare in Gaza continues to unfold. 

Gaza should be stopping us in our tracks. Hell we should be disrupting the economy ourselves?— we shouldn’t have to wait for impoverished Yemenis to do it for us. 

We should be holding general strikes and stopping ships and disrupting everything we can possibly disrupt in order to force Western civilization to look at what it’s supporting in Gaza and bring this mass atrocity to a screeching halt. Instead we’re just sleepwalking through life like we always do while people in the poorest nation in the middle east bravely fight our battle for us.

The empire is not entitled to expect that all commerce keep flowing normally during an active genocide. Israel is not entitled to have zero consequences for its actions, and its trading partners are not entitled to be unaffected by those consequences. The idea that it’s normal and appropriate to use any and all measures to prevent Israel’s atrocities from having any material impact on commerce?—?up to and including starting a new American war?—?is self-evidently ridiculous.

It’s been an incredibly draining past 100 days for those of us who’ve been following events in Gaza. There’ve been days when I couldn’t believe the sun dared to shine. The premise that there shouldn’t even be a slight economic downturn as a result of this madness, and that it’s fine to start a war to make sure there isn’t, deserves to be dismissed with extreme disdain.

We live in a dystopian world where it’s completely normalized to subvert human interests to commercial interests, to toss tens of thousands of lives into the incinerator for wealth and convenience.

Where war profiteers rake in vast fortunes for selling instruments of mass murder to genocidal governments, and where the most powerful empire in history declares a war to defend shipping containers at the cost of human life.

Caitlin Johnstone’s work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following her on FacebookTwitterSoundcloudYouTube, or throwing some money into her tip jar on Ko-fiPatreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy her books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff she publishes is to subscribe to the mailing list at her website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything she publishes.  For more info on who she is, where she stands and what she’s trying to do with her platform, click here. All works are co-authored with her American husband Tim Foley.

This article is from and re-published with permission.

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