Originally appeared on The American Conservative.
The Senate didn’t go for Pompeo and Mattis’ sales pitch for the war on Yemen on Wednesday. That’s because it was filled with dishonest nonsense like this:
Iran’s regime has no interest in easing Yemeni suffering; the mullahs don’t even care for ordinary Iranians. Saudi Arabia has invested billions to relieve suffering in #Yemen. Iran has invested zero.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) November 28, 2018
The truth is that Saudi Arabia and the UAE have used their donations as another weapon of war while doing everything in their power to worsen the humanitarian crisis that their policies created. Saudi “aid” efforts have been denounced by humanitarian organizations as a “war tactic,” and the Saudi government has used its donations to buy good publicity from aid agencies and silence criticism. The “investments” that the Saudi coalition governments have made are little more than poorly-concealed bribes to relieve international pressure, and these same governments have used their donations as leverage to blackmail the U.N. in the past.
The absurdity of Pompeo’s position becomes clear when we remember that Yemen would not be suffering from the world’s worst humanitarian crisis were it not for the Saudi coalition’s intervention, blockade, and interference in Yemen’s economy. The governments responsible for causing the displacement of millions of people and creating famine conditions potentially affecting up to 14 million do not merit praise for throwing a little money at the catastrophe they have unleashed. Iran’s interest in assisting suffering Yemenis or lack thereof is truly beside the point when it is the Saudi coalition backed by the U.S. that has caused so much of that suffering. War criminals do not get credit when they throw some cash at the wreckage of the country they have destroyed, and Pompeo’s attempt to give Saudi Arabia credit for “relieving” suffering in Yemen is as perverse and disgusting as it gets.
Daniel Larison is a senior editor at The American Conservative, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and is a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Dallas. Follow him on Twitter. This article is reprinted from The American Conservative with permission.