US Kills 35 Women and Children in the Yemen 41

I remain grateful to emptywheel for the perception that the US defence of the Israeli killings is of a piece with its own claim to the right to murder anybody, anytime, anywhere.

This is starkly illustrated by the news that the US killed 35 women and children in a cluster bomb attack on the Yemen.

This policy is the apogee of what I named in “The Catholic Orangemen of Togo” the “Good Guy, Bad Guy” school of foreign policy analysis. In this view, conflicts are not born out of competition for resources or present or historical injustices, but simply by evil “bad guys”. Eliminate them, and the conflict goes away.

The tragedy is, of course, that the continued US massacre of civilians by these “targeted” attacks in Yemen, Pakistan and elsewhere will only make conflict more bitter, intense and of course longer. But then, that is good news if you are an arms manufacturer, mercenary, part of the security apparatus or a right wing politician. All of those people’s access to funds, resources and power is increased by continuing conflict.

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41 thoughts on “US Kills 35 Women and Children in the Yemen

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  • Ian M

    The related, and crucial, point of convergence between the two regimes is their justification of just about any of their lethal murderous actions as ‘terrorism’. Supposedly the aim of the US attack was an ‘Al Quaeda’ training camp – those women and children were obviously an imminent danger to the citizens of Milwaukee. The Gaza fishermen are ‘terrorists’, the peace activists are terrorists and jihadis. All Palestinians are terrorists etc etc.

    It is a reflex action – kill first, justify afterwards with ludicrous, overheated claims of ‘terrorism’ – except the evidence is hardly ever forthcoming.

    The point about this is that these remote killers in their comfortable offices in Washington and Jerusalem think that the use of the ‘terrorist’ justification excuses them from any legal or moral obligations. Treaties, conventions, agreements – all are ignored when it comes to ‘terrorism’.

    It follows, therefore, that the neocon, right wing, fundamentalist nature of these governments has a vested interest in the prolongation of the ‘terrorist’ threat, as it allows them carte blanche to push a global, political agenda. The US is not that keen to examine Israeli crimes, since it suits them very well to create an impression that all opponents can be branded as terrorists, and thus dealt with summarily and extra-judicially. The wild hype and exaggeration of the terrorist threat is manna to these people who can use it to justify just about any military action, including war on a scale which would dwarf any number of terrorist atrocities, ie Iran.

    That is one of the reasons why the appalling Israeli propaganda deluge is so dangerous to peace and a rational response to global issues.

  • me in us

    Not just emptywheel/firedoglake, also Glenn Greenwald:

    (wish you had block quotes)


    …ultimately, on some level, wouldn’t it have been even more indefensible — or at least oozingly hypocritical — if the U.S. had condemned Israel? After all, what did Israel do in this case that the U.S. hasn’t routinely done and continues to do? As even our own military officials acknowledge, we’re slaughtering an “amazing number” of innocent people at checkpoints in Afghanistan. We’re routinely killing civilians in all sorts of imaginative ways in countless countries, including with drone strikes which a U.N. official just concluded are illegal. We’re even targeting our own citizens for due-process-free assassination. We’ve been arming Israel and feeding them billions of dollars in aid and protecting them diplomatically as they (and we) have been doing things like this for decades. What’s the Obama administration supposed to say about what Israel did: we condemn the killing of unarmed civilians? We decry these violations of international law? Even by typical standards of government hypocrisy, who in the U.S. Government could possibly say any of that with a straight face?

  • Ed

    “Emptywheel” – or Marcy Wheeler – is one of the best of the best in terms of blogging.

    She is a former litigator, and for all her investigative abilities, what she is perhaps most famous for is being the first blogger to get media accreditation in a federal trial (that of Scooter Libby). An amazing lady, and when she sinks her teeth into an issue, you can be sure she will be as good a repository of information on that issue as anyone on the planet.

  • Arsalan

    Not everything the US does is for Israel, for example the invasion of vietnam and all the people tortured and killed in South America.

    They do those things for their own advantage.

    But I believe what it does for Israel is a liability for America and not an advantage.

    We have to admit, there are people in the American administration that are loyal to Israel and not America.

    And they make no secret of this loyalty.

    Instead they advertise it.

    If anything the few who state they are more loyal to America than to Israel risk political suacide.

  • Ishmael

    Killing of innocents is murder, regardless of U.S. excuses, like they was terrorists, fortunately for them the dead can’t plead their innocence.

  • mike cobley

    Been watching the TV series DEXTER (has a somewhat dubious premise yet has been consistently compelling television), and at the end of series two there is a scene between Dexter and Miguel Prado on a rooftop in which Prado perfectly encapsulates the Israeli situation as clearly perceived. Here’s the link:

  • writerman

    US missile ‘used in Yemen raid’. That’s the BBC’s spin on the AI story, amazing!

    Used by who exactly? Are the Americans in the habit of letting anybody use their cruise missiles? I hope not!

    What possesses the BBC to allow its editors to write this crap?

    Obama has authorised a massive expansion of the use of predator drone attacks along the Pakistan/Afghan border. Between 700 and 800 civilian deaths, a massive pile of dismembered corpses, and underneath this small hill of body parts what do we find, if one can stand the stench, a mere handful of real terrorists.

    Obama has also given permission for US special forces to greatly increase their presence around the globe, in order to fight ‘terrorists’, according to the New York Times special forces are now operating in close to 75 foreign countries.

    Obama, in his dubious constitutional role as Commander in Chief, is shredding the constitution and fighting illegal wars, and attacking foreign, sovereign states, and killing foreigners, illegally.

    If the United States was still a functioning democracy, with a system of government, laws and a constitution that people took seriously; Obama would be in the dock charge with numerous clearly impeachable offenses. Alas, the era of democracy is over, and the era of brazen and open imperialism, with no checks and balances has begun.

  • sabretache

    You really are getting close to the nub of the matter with your last paragraph. But why is it you seem unable to connect the dots to their glaringly obvious ‘elephant in the room’ conclusion?

    The bitter anger you speak of is precisely what is required to effectively prosecute the over-arching agenda of US lead ‘full spectrum dominance’ – and, in the near ancient history words of General Smedley Butler, war is indeed a racket.

    There are elements in our SIS moderated and controlled Establishment, whose entire raison d’etre is to cultivate, provoke, facilitate, and generally utilise that bitter anger for purposes that are simply unthinkable by our trusting, ever confused, frightened and confounded sheeple – and you too it seems – and the stakes are literally epoch-defining.

    You need to to take a good hard look at historical precedents and then reconsider the real nature of our domestic terrorist attack experiences. They are not unlike that of bitter, angry, hot-headed Guy Fawkes’ – which is to say largely the work of ‘useful idiots’ to the real Powers that be. Qui-bono? is the ever necessary question to be pursued relentlessly.

    Can’t do that honestly and thoroughly, then continue with a public, ostensibly rebellious, political career though I’m afraid – which is probably why most intelligent people simply cannot go there.

  • ingo

    Remote control weaponry needs to be controlled just as remote control nuclear warheads/missiles.

    The attack on yemen with hellfire missiles, the predator drone attacks in Pakistan and Afghjanistan and the frequent overflight of usurping powers with their own agenda is erradicating sovereignity and making it a mockery.

    If sovereignity cannot be claimed to be just that what use are the destinctions of borders?

    Full spectrum dominance is scary, it is George Orwell all over and with the current moral and politcal mistakes made by those who are its proponenets I cannot see how they could be possibly be trusted with running the world.

    China has thankfully exploded the myth that the last global common is therequisite and designation of US space weapons alone, it will not play ball if the US should try and cut off 20% of its oil supply.

    The US must be carefullnot to elevate the terrorist groups of this world to Robin Hood status by its dubious actions that undermine statehood and diplomacy at large. People always like a brave and god fearing underdog, they dislike our underhand tricks, torture abroad.

    This last week we seen a mockery made of international laws, scrutiny was uplifted to joke status by many media outlets and agencies with their ignorance of Israels guilt, their lack of questioning. We have had a NATO partner injured, ignored by its fellow members, so NATO doctrine and conventions got the finger as well.

    Whats next? more provocation with eventual break out of war?

    Two Israeli missile ships have been cruising around in the Gulf of Hormuz for weeks, now Iran is announcing that they will protect any naval aid flotilla asking for it.

    The book seems as if already written by a new global political movement that can only be described as Leviathanismn, a movement that creates its own Hades, sits in its own judgements as the Jury and dispenses justice in favour of itself.

    Vested interests are going into a feeding frenzy, whether it is over scant resources, oil, arms or water.

    Rather than adjust change that is technically perfectly feasible, by creating vast amounts of energy from the sun, in those oil producing countries who are currently gaining by squandering their oilreserves on our lifestyles.

    So to argue that we have not got the knowledge to live more sustainable, hence have to go to war to steal/control the stuff is naive and calling us stupid.

    What is lacking is interlect and a positive diplomatic revival amongst staff and fair minded people in administrations, one has to organise I suppose and thats were many ‘can’t do’ and switch off.

    The public political awareness is dumbed down according to necessity and situation, kept in perpetual political ineptness by the colluding media and those who fetter the vested interest first and themselves second.

  • mike cobley

    Craig, I have a question for you: I dont know what warships (UK or otherwise) regularly patrol the Med, but if the next aid flotilla is also assaulted by Israeli forces in international waters, would the captains of the attacked vessels be entitled to issue a distress call requesting assistance from any or all vessels within range? If a British vessel received such a distress call, what would be the likely response?

  • Craig

    Mike –

    Iff he Israeli vessels were not commissioned, it would be piracy and anyone should respond – there is a duty to suppress piracy. But as they are military, I don’t think there is an obligation to intervene except by military vessels of the flag state.

  • ingo

    What if the intercepted vessel is a NATO member and the naval escort for it does not come from a NATO country?

    but, is acting according to international rules and puts itself between attacker and victim, taking the flying bullets on to their armour?, acting as a shield.

  • Suahyl Saadi

    I agree, Arsalan, some of them have dual loyalties and some are ‘Israel-Firsters’.

    But we must remember that those (supposedly non-Israel-Firster) Americans who act in ways which seem of detriment to the USA actually are acting so in order to aggrandise themselves and their cadre. They are not interested in the national interests of ‘the US’, far less, the vast majority of the people of the USA, except where the USA acts as a vehicle for their ends – through its economy and its military, primarily.

    In other words, they are transnational corporate bastards who profit massively and on a sustained basis from the shiny ‘New Jerusalem’ military-industrial complex that is Israel, from the control of global resources and from a situation of perpetual war (in certain regions and with particular strategic goals).

    It’s not merely that they are afraid of the pro-Israel lobby in the USA – though the politicians who represent their interests most certainly seem to be, as do many commentators, journalists, etc. – it is also that the corporate cyborgs who run both the USA and Israel have identical interests, which are, effectively, of a colonial and neocolonial nature.

    This is not to disagree with your premise, for it forms a part of it. But if Israel didn’t exist – had never been created, say – it is likely that the USA would have constructed a state which would have played a similar role to that of Israel in its global hegemonic strategies. Hypothetical, of course, since Israel does exist, largely now as a concentrated embodiment – and epitome – of aggresive Euro-American C20th and C21st colonialism.

    Nonetheless, I do recall a Jewish American writer of European Jewish origin, who is a very vociferous anti-imperialist in every other way, leaning over and literally whispering to me that they, as a Jewish person, had to “very careful” what they said in the US about Israel. And we all know about what happened to Norman Finkelstein et al. So this does exist, obviously, but it’s one means of leverage in a bigger picture.

    On the ground, of course, the variegated niceties of imperial control, the struggles wihtin the ruling cadres, alter nothing.

    In other words, the song remains the same.

  • Seb

    What actually is the Con-Lib British Government doing about any of this, or the use of British passports by international murderers?

  • writerman

    This ghastly, inhuman, crushing, siege of Gaza, must be broken, one way or another. This of course, would be a tremendous defeat for both Israel and the United States. Which is why the situation is so dangerous and of colossal symbolic importance.

    Our actions have handed those states and groups that refuse to ‘compromise’ and ‘surrender’, or ‘make peace’ with Israel, on Israel’s terms, a ready-made Cause. A Cause every Arab and Muslim can relate to and understand. A simple cause, breaking the siege of Gaza. Feeding the hungry and providing medicine for the sick, giving books to children’s schools, and materials to rebuild their shattered homes.

    The West is really on the backfoot here and has lost the moral highground, if it ever had it? And now others are stepping into the spotlight on the world stage because we have chosen to vacate it and let the Israeli, hardline nationalist regime literally get away with murder and inflicting suffering on a massive and impossible to ignore, scale.

    Our ‘passivity’ in relation to our ‘friends’ a deliberate attempt to strangle an entire people in Gaza, is incredibly short-sited, dangerous and provocative; not to mention counter-productive. The siege of Gaza seems to be the symbolic straw that’s broken the camel’s back, after so many years.

    The puppet regimes we’ve installed all over the Arab world, our ‘friends’ the ‘moderates’ are all in big trouble, and are rapidly losing ground to the so-called ‘militants’.

    The cause of Gaza could be the fuse that ignites the gundpowder barrel that is the Middle East.

  • writerman

    What exactly are the interests that Britain shares with Israel? Why are we allied with Israel? Why do we support Israel?

    Why isn’t Britain a neutral player in the Middle East conflict? Why have we chosen sides, and the wrong side?

    Britain should change position radically and start by recalling its ambassdor to Israel and sending the Isreali ambassador home, until Israel agrees to take part in an independent international investigation into the military attack on the aide flotilla.

    The Britain should recognise Hamas as the democractically and legitimate government of Gaza and invite them to send a representative to London and we send a representative to Gaza. Britain should act like the large and influential country it is, and not some kind of timid, poodle, afraid of a ‘shitty little country’ like Israel, that frankly, is too big for its boots, and has become a danger not just to itself, and it’s neighbours, but to the whole world. This is because of its nuclear monopoly in the Middle East.

    Here Britain could lead the world by admitting that it knows that Israel has a vast nuclear arsenal and publish all historic documents relating to this open secret. This would really be new politics in action as compared to merely rhetoric. Britain showing that it was really an independent nation again and not just a lapdog ready to roll over and beg.

  • MJ

    Erdogan’s actions over the coming weeks will be critical. Turkey has seized the moral high ground. It has the military might. It is nearby. It is a member of NATO, so other NATO countries cannot stand in its way militarily without destroying NATO itself.

    He has the majority of the Turkish people behind him, but can rely on the Turkish military command? He is clearly confident that he can. Perhaps he has been quietly clearing out the ranks and replacing them with people he can trust. We shall see.

  • Ian M

    Good points, writerman. I am also mystified about our slavish attitude to Israel, and the contention that it is an ‘ally’ – although people say we rely on crap, or intelligence as some call it, from Mossad. To act as an honest broker would be one of the best things the UK could do – even Blair once invited the Palestinians to London for a conference to try and get things moving. He was quickly shouted down by the Zionistas of course, and watered it down. But in his naviety seemed to think he could do a Northern Ireland, which was not a bad idea – that was a long time ago, though, but it demonstrated the lengths to which Israel will go to prevent genuine negotiations which it cannot control. But, certainly, Israel is no ally of ours. It could care less what any country thinks. I think it probably has some contempt for most European countries, although it is first in line for handouts in trade agreements etc. It would be immensely refreshing if we stood by Turkey and denounced Israel as we would any other ME country carrying out lethal, aggressive policies of hatred and separation.

  • Clark

    Maybe Israel is used to destabilise the Middle East. Imperialism knows it is dependent upon liquid fuel – note: liquid fuel, more so than energy in general – so how long has it been known where the major reserves are located? Imperialism wouldn’t want that part of the world becoming organised and united.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Writerman and Ian M, I suspect the fact that UK (and the EU) but esp. the USA, are all aligned with Israel has to do with the arms industry and the other big corporate interests who invest in Israeli technology, weapons, etc.

    It’s also to do, I think, with perpertuating the longstanding British Empire’s policy (and now the US’s policy), extant since late-Ottoman times, of destabilisation of the Middle East in order to control, and profit massively from, their resources, to stop self-determination (whether in the form of/ under the banner of ‘nationalism’, socialism’, ‘monarchy’ or ‘Islam’) in that region which would definitely threaten that control.

    Any regime which the West sees as a threat to these interests will become an enemy. So, even if Iran was a secular liberal democracy with, say, Darius Danesh (!) as president, if it attempted, as Mossadegh did in 1953 and as Nasser in Egypt did in 1956, and as Castro in Cuba did in 1959 and as the Sandinistas did in Nicaragua in 1979 (not so much resources in those last two; more strategic military importance and domino effect), to wrest control of its resources from the West, it would become an enemy overnight.

    So, the theocracy in Iran is an enemy because to some extent it attempts to puruse an independent foreign policy and this is unacceptable to the West. Yet the USA deals wiht Iran in Iraq and in Afghanistan because it would not be able to hold the line in those countries without Iran’s acquiesence (it is not in Iran’s interests to have two chaotic countries on its borders).

    China, India and Russia are the big economic/ military rivals to the USA. The Middle East is important only because of its oil and its geographical position. The Israelis know this and know their role.

    The state, and the corporations which are the motors of the state, do not behave according to morality. They behave according to self-interest and in this context self-interest does not accord with the interests of either the people in the Middle East or those in the West, but only with those of a small elite in both/ all places.

    The only real way there will be a systemic, strategic change will be if the Middle East becomes militarily and economically powerful. Look at China. 100 years ago, a defeated basket-case and de facto colony with mountains of opium. Now…

    Meantime, we can do, only what we can do.

  • Anonymous

    ‘US Kills 35 Women and Children in the Yemen’

    Part of a far bigger picture. We should I think be keeping an eye on Saudi Arabia (as well as Iran) as control of middle east resources speeds up. They are all going to go down like dominos.

  • Seb

    Thanks Clark and Suahyl long established policy, oil, destabilize the middle east by stirring up trouble = now our host claims to be a long established insider at the Foreign office –it fits.

  • technicolour

    thanks MJ, Clark, Suhayl & Craig & Writerman for bloody good posts.

    Off topic: Cameron’s cuts speech. We are all going to suffer horribly. Except for people whose wives make millions from handbags, of course.

    Hope everyone noted the furious protests inside Israel against the regime’s behaviour, and for the liberation of Gaza. Yuri Avnery, Gush Shalom, and 15,000 others attacked by fascist mobs.

    Corporate interests in exploiting Palestine & the situation:

  • Seb

    P.S. of course it would’nt do to have all that lovely oil radioactive, would it?

  • me in us

    To Control above, re the IDF parody of We Are the World — I don’t see an Obama figure, maybe a Bob Dylan figure at around 3:20?

    Lyrics, plus interesting choice of ads that come with it:


    Flotilla Choir presents: We Con the World

    – Ad: Support our ally Israel

    Gaza flotilla radicals choose violence, not aid. Share the facts.

    – Ad: Free Registration

    The Wall Street Journal Online. Free Registration. Sign up now.

    – Ad: Summer Grad Study Arusha

    Study Law, Rights, Peace, Conflict Arcadia Graduate Institute Tanzania

    We Con the World

    Turkish ‘Aid to Gaza’ song

    with Captain Stabbing & Friends

    There comes a time

    When we need to make a show

    For the world, the web and CNN

    There’s no people dying

    So the best that we can do

    Is create the greatest bluff of all

    We must go on

    Pretending day by day

    That in Gaza there’s crisis, hunger and plague

    ‘Cause the billion bucks in aid

    Won’t buy their basic needs

    Like some cheese and missiles for the kids

    We’ll make the world

    Abandon reason

    We’ll make them all believe that the Hamas is Momma Theresa

    We are peaceful travelers

    With guns and our own knives

    The truth will never find its way to your TV

    Oooh, we’ll stab them at heart

    The soldiers, no one cares

    We are small, and we took some pictures with doves

    As Allah has shown us

    For facts there’s no demand

    So we will always gain the upper hand

    We’ll make the world

    Abandon reason

    We’ll make them all believe that the Hamas is Momma Theresa

    We are peaceful travelers

    We’re waving our own knives

    The truth will never find its way to your TV

    We con the world

    We con the people

    We’ll make them all believe

    The IDF is Jack the Ripper

    We are peaceful travelers

    We’re waving our own knives

    The truth will never find its way to your TV

    If Islam and terror brighten up your mood

    But you worry that it may not look so good

    Well, well, well, well, don’t you realize

    You just got to call yourself

    An activist for peace and human aid

    We’ll make the world

    Abandon reason

    We’ll make them all believe that the Hamas is Momma Theresa

    We are peaceful travelers

    We’re waving our own knives

    The truth will never find its way to your TV


    We con the world (Yalla, let me hear you!)

    We con the people

    We’ll make them all believe

    The IDF is Jack the Ripper

    We are peaceful travelers

    We’re waving our own knives

    The truth will never find its way to your TV

    Itback el Yahud! (slaughter the Jews)

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