If someone takes an action he knows will cause the loss of thousands of innocent lives, would you consider him a mass murderer?
Would your answer change if his action was really good for his country’s economy?
Today, 71 Senators voted to dismiss a resolution that would have blocked the sale of $1.15 billion worth of industrial strength arms to Saudi Arabia. The sale now will go through. Saudi Arabia has been using its American supplied armaments to wreak havoc on the population of Yemen. How bad could the death toll get? Horrific. From Nika Knight of Common Dreams in “Indifferent to Yemen’s Misery,” Senate Approves Massive Saudi Arms Deal, quoting Ray Offenheiser of Oxfam America:
“Today, millions of Yemenis are on the verge of starvation and more than 10,000 children under 5 have died from preventable diseases. Every tank, missile, and gallon of jet fuel supplied by the U.S. to the Saudi-led coalition is a clear signal that the U.S. is indifferent to Yemen’s misery.”
In relative terms, those 10,000 dead Yemeni children would be the equivalent of 125,000 or so dead American children.
Why do 71 of our esteemed Senators want to be complicit in this?
Money, mostly, or so it seems.
During the floor debate, many of those in favor of the weapons sale echoed Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who declared: “This is a sale that benefits us.” Although even Corker admitted Saudi Arabia is not a “perfect ally” and that many civilians had been killed in Yemen, he argued that the massive sale of new weapons should be approved because it will benefit the U.S. economically.
Is there a strategic purpose for the sale? Arguably, yes, but it seems the economic upside is the real driver here:
Corker further claimed that arming the Saudi regime serves U.S. geopolitical interests by pushing back against the Iranians, who support the anti-Saudi Houthi factions in Yemen.
Is the concern regarding the Houthi factions in Yemen and their affiliation with Iran the motivating force for the sale of weaponry, as Corker suggests? No way. It’s window dressing and nothing more. Corker’s statement was an afterthought. This arms sale is about the money. You can bet some lobbyists for the manufacturers who stand to profit from this were working the Senate overtime in the days leading up to this vote.
And 71 Senators were so indifferent to Yemeni life that they voted for the profits of their defense industry sponsors, even though their votes likely will cost thousands, possibly millions, of innocent Yemenis their lives.
So there you have it. 142 bloodstained hands. All in the United States Senate.