Three Years Late, Has CNN Finally Discovered the U.S. Role in the Saudi War on Yemen?

Has CNN finally discovered the U.S.’s complicity in the brutal, horrific war being waged largely upon Yemeni civilians by Saudi Arabia? Previously they’ve appeared well-aware of the war, but painfully, willfully ignorant of the U.S. role in it. A recent report on the network may be cause for some encouragement.

Screen shot of CNN Situation Room graphic showing recent massacres of Yemeni civilians and the makers of the bombs which killed them.

President Barack Obama signed off on the war before it began as a means of placating a Saudi regime wary of the Iran nuclear accord, which it opposed. The agreement was the signature foreign policy achievement of the Obama administration.

The U.S. has provided the regime with billions of dollars worth of ammunition, bombs, missiles, and F-15 warplanes. In the ultimate of expensive war-fighting conveniences, we also provide the Saudis with Boeing technicians to load those bombs and missiles on those F-15s, and then we provide air-to-air refueling to allow them to make their long journey.

The Yemenis have long been aware of where those bombs and missiles were made, as they keep digging up pieces of them from the rubble they’ve created, the fragments helpfully labeled by their U.S. manufacturers. U.S. bombs have recently demolished a fish market, killing 26 civilians and a school bus, killing 40 children, amongst many others.

MK82 500 lb. bomb fragment

The bomb that destroyed the school bus was a MK-82 manufactured by Lockheed Martin.

Did the U.S. provide targeting for that school bus, or just the intel and weapons to destroy it? This question remains unanswered. The United States has claimed it played no role in this attack or its planning.

If CNN has finally discovered the U.S. role in this ongoing atrocity, as the CNN graphic above might indicate, that should improve its coverage of the war considerably, but will it? The network is traditionally loath to criticize the U.S. military industrial complex and has rarely shone a light on the death and destruction caused by U.S. weaponry used by our allies upon civilians.

Wolf Blitzer’s previous interest in the subject of Yemen seemed to revolve primarily around how reigning in the Saudi-led death and destruction there might adversely affect jobs at U.S. weapons manufacturers.

Interviewing Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky in 2016, Blitzer expressed alarm over Paul’s opposition to a major arms sale to Saudi Arabia. His concern was not for Yemen.

“So for you this is a moral issue. Because you know, there’s a lot of jobs at stake. Certainly if a lot of these defense contractors stop selling war planes, other sophisticated equipment to Saudi Arabia, there’s going to be a significant loss of jobs, of revenue here in the United States. That’s secondary from your standpoint?” asked an incredulous Blitzer. That interview occurred over a year and a half after the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen began.

This turn toward better contextualized news coverage could be a very positive development.

We’ll see.


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