HomeArticleReal Journalists Would Grill Biden On Yemen At Every Opportunity

Real Journalists Would Grill Biden On Yemen At Every Opportunity

During this whole stupid US presidential race I heard very few arguments in favor of a Biden vote that struck me as anything more than the product of ignorance, propaganda distortion and partisan hackery. He’ll probably be worse than Trump on war. His climate proposals are as much a band-aid on a sucking chest wound as his plans for economic justice. There’ll still be racism in America. The fact that Trump ended up deporting far fewer undocumented immigrants than Obama means Biden’s presidency probably won’t even help things on that front.

As far as real changes that affect normal people, the coming Biden presidency doesn’t offer many things to be especially hopeful about.

But there was one item on the Democratic Party’s platform this election season that especially conscious people sometimes point to which I absolutely could respect as a good reason to vote for Biden. It reads as follows:

“Democrats will end support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen and help bring the war to an end. This war is responsible for the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, and it amplifies threats to the region and to our interests. Democrats believe that the United States should support diplomatic efforts—not block them.”

Vice Pres­i­dent Biden believes it is past time to end U.S. sup­port for the war in Yemen and can­cel the blank check the Trump admin­is­tra­tion has giv­en Sau­di Ara­bia for its con­duct of that war,” Biden cam­paign spokesper­son Andrew Bates told the Wash­ing­ton Post last year.

Now, you can believe them or not; it doesn’t matter. The important point is that, while Trump vetoed congressional attempts to save Yemen (arguably the single most evil act of his entire administration), Biden campaigned on ending the war. He should therefore be pushed on that issue constantly, every time the opportunity presents itself.

The mass atrocity that is the Yemen war is without a doubt the single worst thing that is happening in our world right now. People don’t like to look at it, they don’t like to think about it, but it is. And it is entirely, and deliberately, man-made.

A coalition led by the US-aligned Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates has been hammering the poorest country in the Middle East with unbelievable savagery since 2015–armed and assisted by the US, UK, France, Australia, and Canada–in order to overturn a Houthi-led rebellion which ousted the previous US-backed central government. It’s an extremely uneven assault by an extremely powerful cluster of allies, and Washington sits at the head of that power alliance.

Tens of thousands have been killed by the endless rain of western-manufactured explosives dropped from the sky by the Saudi coalition, and hundreds of thousands more have died from starvation and disease due to Saudi Arabia’s inhuman blockades on imports and its deliberate targeting of farms, fishing boats, marketplaces, food storage sites and cholera treatment centers with airstrikes. The goal is to make Houthi forces so miserable and hungry that they give up, no matter how many civilians they need to kill in the process.

It’s hard to get accurate figures from an information ecosystem with so little interest in the matter–for years the mass media kept reporting that only 10,000 had died despite that statistical stasis being an obvious impossibility in an ongoing war. An analysis of United Nations data found that 85,000 children under five have died of extreme hunger and disease since the start of the war, but that was two years ago. Another UN report estimated nearly a quarter million people have died in the war, but that was a year and a half ago. Both numbers are necessarily much larger by now.

In an article titled “Joe Biden Said He’s Against the Yemen War. He Needs To End It on Day One.“, Sarah Lazare of In These Times argues that Biden is fully capable of ending the war in Yemen immediately upon taking office, and due to his role in the Obama administration when the war began, he has a special responsibility to do so. Lazare cites the analysis of two experts, Has­san El-Tayyab, lead Mid­dle East pol­i­cy lob­by­ist for the progressive organization  Friends Com­mit­tee on Nation­al Leg­is­la­tion, and Erik Sper­ling, exec­u­tive direc­tor of Just For­eign Pol­i­cy.

By exec­u­tive order, Biden could get the Pen­ta­gon to end intel­li­gence shar­ing for the Sau­di coali­tion airstrikes, end logis­ti­cal sup­port, and end spare parts trans­fers that keep Sau­di war­planes in the air,” El-Tayyab told In These Times. ​He could restore human­i­tar­i­an assis­tance to north­ern Yemen. He could use his pow­er as pres­i­dent to put pres­sure on oth­er nations that are sup­port­ing the Sau­di coali­tion — like France, the Unit­ed King­dom and Cana­da — and get them to fol­low suit. He could have the State Depart­ment put a stop on all arms sales to Sau­di Ara­bia unless they meet cer­tain benchmarks.”

With­out the moral cov­er from the Unit­ed States, they would be dis­in­cen­tivized to con­tin­ue the war,” adds El-Tayyab.

Biden has com­mit­ted to end U.S. par­tic­i­pa­tion in the war on Yemen as pres­i­dent,” Sperling told In These Times. “But he must make clear that it will include any kind of assis­tance — as Oba­ma offi­cials Rice, Pow­er, Rhodes and oth­ers have urged — includ­ing intel­li­gence shar­ing, logis­tics sup­port and spare parts for war­planes.”

“He should pub­licly and pri­vate­ly tell the Saud­is that he will do this on day one,” Sperling added. “This will pres­sure them into nego­ti­a­tions and may end the war before he even enters the White House.”

“President Biden doesn’t need a Senate majority to end the genocide in Yemen,” tweeted journalist Walker Bragman, who has reported on the conflict extensively. “He could end U.S. military involvement in Yemen and support for the Saudi-led coalition on day one. He pledged he would end arms sales during the campaign, but given who Biden is, gotta start making noise now. Yemen needs medical supplies, food, clean water, and humanitarian aid.”

If the United States had a real free press, this subject would come up every single interview and every single press conference that Biden does. If journalism actually existed in mainstream media, he would be grilled on this issue any time he’s near a camera. What’s the plan for ending the war? What steps has he taken to enact that plan? Has he called the Saudis yet? How about the other US allies who are backing the slaughter? What specifically is happening, and when?

There is no legitimate reason this should not happen. Yemen is the single most pressing issue in the world, Biden bears responsibility for it, and he said that he would end it. If there were an actual free press in America holding power to account and asking the important questions of their leaders, Biden would be interrogated on this subject with unrelenting urgency every time an opportunity presented itself.

And of course we know this will not happen. We know the United States of America does not actually have a free press holding power to account and asking the important questions of their leaders; it has plutocrat-owned royal court stenographers who cultivate warm relationships with power and regurgitate back to their gullible audiences whatever lines they’ve been fed. We know they’ll give the nice old man who they aggressively protected from scrutiny during the election as much comfortable space as he needs and let him say whatever he wants to say on his own terms when he feels ready.

But it should happen. And the most powerful government on earth should have a free press holding power to account. And the butchery in Yemen should be ended. Immediately.


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Latest comments

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  • Except for folks like you with their own alternative websites, there are no real journalists, which is why it will never happen.

    • Do you consider yourself willfully uninformed, unwillingly misinformed, or merely a hapless bystander unable to decide?

  • They won’t let any of the remaining real-journalists near Uncle Joe.
    They have to stay in the free-speech zone down the block until his motorcade leaves.

  • Most people want a decent paying job that allows them to support a family. The problem is that most people dont realize this until they are working at a dead end minimum wage job. They have poor communication skills since they pretty much blew off most of the free education when in school. With no such skills, trade schools are pretty much not available as well. You must be able to have basic learning skills. We are basically a nation of an illiterate underclass that knows how to use phone apps and little else. No government will correct this since it has been generations in the making.

  • Donald Trump was a big, ugly pimple on the face of America, and Joe Biden is the Clearasil that has been sold to us by the Coca-Cola Company, Mars, Hershey, Nestle, and Frito-Lay. Of course, our real problem isn’t acne – it’s heart disease.

  • Trying to get anyone to care about a backwater hellhole like Yemen is just a waste of time. Dont you wonder why America talks renewable energy while at the same time waging war to secure petroleum. That is the real quesyion people should bexasking

  • “There is no legitimate reason this (the immediate end of the war in Yemen) should not happen.” Surely so. But there may be one more illegitimate reason to go along with the others mentioned so far in these comments, at least as I’m writing this one. If the Saudis were in on the inside job of the World Trade Center Atrocity (WTCA please, not 9/11, the emergency phone number)–which, if we follow the perps and the money, seems likely–then the American government is foreclosed from putting any meaningful pressure on the Saudi government to do much of anything. Might this distinct possibility of blackmail at the highest level, preventing American pressure to end “the single worst thing that is happening in our world right now,” be enough to get Caitlin to change her mind about digging deeply into the WTCA?

    • Caitlin strikes me as an excellent inspirational journalist. I haven’t seen much sign of deep investigative journalism from her, and I doubt she’d have much to contribute to uncovering evidence of Saudi involvement in the September 11 2001 incidents. Several other websites have already compiled extensive data about this; why should Caitlin replicate it, taking time away from what she does so well?

    • Prince Bandar and Poppy were tight. Boy George, Dick, and the Prince enjoyed cigars on White House terrace 9/12.
      Bandar loves running terrorists and “according to a diplomatic leak detailing the Bandar-Putin meeting in Moscow on July 31 Bandar suggested that Putin’s agreement to abandon the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad would lead Saudi Arabia to restrain its Chechen terrorist clients who have been attacking Russia targets for years.”
      Pretty good shot that Bandar (Saudi Intelligence), Mossad, and CIA were all involved at certain levels.
      Israel must really have us by the balls on the blackmail thing—they know where all the bones are buried, and they have nukes to boot. I mean, hell, people don’t even know about the U.S.S. Liberty….

  • If Biden was so cool–he’s not–he could call the F___ING KING of Saud and tell h9m to stop the bombing NOW and get to the table. Or what? We’re gonna fly in from our bases in Djibouti check the map and Israel (check on their friendship also) and from a couple aircraft carriers nearby ALWAYS everywhere…and blow yer friggin palace into the next world; a-hole. murderer. and male chauvinist pig that you are.
    he could say it anytime: i’m sure he has the phone number. Or Obewan Oblama does and or he could just say it out loud in front of any mumbler of presstitutes who would be thrilled to misinterpret those remarks for him.
    And kamala staning beside her leader could flip the K. her skinny middle one. Then Obewon himself talking about hope audacity and true AMERDRICAN values could chime in and really cramp DT’s style there dont you think….aside from stopping a massacre. a 1,000 times worse then Wounded Knee. or Starved Rock for that matter.
    this one is historic. and it is NOW…M.F.

  • Lame duck Donald Trump is the deep state’s controlled opposition and Joe Biden is their alternative puppet. Anyone who expects politicians to bring justice, truth, prosperity, peace, and good health to everyone has been mesmerized by political theatricks.

  • Yemen is out of sight and out of mind for most Americans.

    • I live in America and even I don’t have any idea what’s out of sight (ok, like everywhere in the world, Yemen is not nightly news fare) or out of mind for most Americans. Your think I would, no? I just don’t know all of them. I guess I should get busy asking them if they care about Yemen and the world. I don’t know where you live, but I would never even begin to comment or guess what most of your country wo/men think about. I guess I really, really have my work cut out for me, so I can speak to the beliefs of most of your people. And, btw, the line about most blacks, chicken & watermelon…? That’s just an ugly, monstrous smear to label all blacks as less good than others and make those others feel superior.

  • I don’t believe Joe can stop the war in Yemen because he cannot risk pissing off the Saudis. The U.S. is still Absolutely DEPENDANT on Saudi Oil, and as production from fracking goes into decline, the U.S. will be even More dependent. If the Saudis want to keep up the war, for whatever reasons they have, it will continue, and it doesn’t matter who is in the white house one tiny little bit.

  • I seem to remember the king of SA declaring an end to the war a few weeks after they started it, resulting in a hasty visit from Biden. The same day Biden was leaving the king announced the war was back on. Im working from memory on this. I think the same thing happened in Ukraine

    • Doesn’t ring any bells with me. I tried Google, with no luck. Have you remembered any more details of this?

      • I got it Wrong ….

        It was Kerry who turned up to give orders to King Saud on 6th Mar 2015, SA then launched operation “Decisive storm” on the 26th March. On the 21st April they declared that the Houthis were no longer a threat and canceled of the campaign. Unfortunately the war was relaunched a few days later and we can guess why. I don’t think Biden had visited SA since the previous kings funeral.

        I had confused this with Ukrain.

        “Two weeks after Brennan’s stealth visit to Kiev and days after the failed crackdown, US Vice President Joe Biden turns up in the Ukrainian…That was April 22… The week after Biden’s visit to Kiev we then see the second crackdown… Biden’s visit points to a spine-stiffening mission to Kiev, where previously the CIA director John Brennan had not achieved the desired result…. It seems significant that the second military assault launched by the Kiev junta has thus shown more deadly resolve” From Finian Cuningham 04.05.2014

        The real killing started after Biden gave the order, Sorry I had mixed up my wars.

  • “If the United States had a real free press, this subject would come up every single interview and every single press conference that Biden does. If journalism actually existed in mainstream media, he would be grilled on this issue any time he’s near a camera. What’s the plan for ending the war? What steps has he taken to enact that plan? Has he called the Saudis yet? How about the other US allies who are backing the slaughter? What specifically is happening, and when?”
    The American press needs to start off with Biden with some easier questions. Like, what day is it? Do you know where you are? Do you know WHO you are? Do you need to sit down? Are these questions too tough? Just kidding with him, of course. The American press and the President-elect all work for the same people. And that is NOT the American people. We’re all in this together, you know.
    “And the most powerful government on earth should have a free press holding power to account.”
    The most powerful government on earth is not The Exceptional Nation nor That Big Eastern Giant. The most powerful government on earth is what rules you in between your own ears. One should never lose sight of that.

  • There is yet no reckoning for Australia’s SAS war crimes in Afghanistan, although details of horrendous atrocities are coming to light. A 2016 report detailing the extent of torture and extrajudicial killings by the Australian SAS forces in Afghanistan have been described as “fuelled by blood lust”, and compared on a scale to the infamous torture and murder practices at Abu Ghraib in Iraq.
    This fine article can be read here:
    Australias War Crimes and Culture of Impunity by Ramona Wadi!

  • Rather than a long commentary on the bulk of the article, I will restrict my comments to two, as follow:
    1. “As far as real changes that affect normal people, the coming Biden presidency doesn’t offer many things to be especially hopeful about.”
    Why should it? Or, perhaps I should say, why should we expect it?
    No politician is ever obligated to keep his campaign promises nor, after victory, to support his or her party-platform. Platforms and promises are nothing but attempts to convince the electorate that there really is a significant difference between the two sub-factions of our one-party system. To see the truth, all one need do is look at both the Obama and Trump administrations to see how huge were the lies of each of them.
    2. Asking for real journalists, to grill Biden on anything, is a societal gross misunderstanding, There are almost no real journalists remaining in the U.S. – not in the msm, nor in most of the alternative media either. the handful who are real, are continually given declining ways to contact the populace and even fewer ways for the people to discover new sources of real, unbialsed journalism.

  • Caitlin, the few remaining “real” journalists left in the western world, and especially in the US, are about to be crushed.

  • Promises only bind people who listen to them. Biden will only stop the Yemen war if he can simultaneously start another one elsewhere because the military-industrial complex, as the name indicates, is an industry and as such, has financial objectives to meet or shareholders get sore and give CEOs – who’ve got little children with big imploring eyes to provide for – the boot. That’s a fact. However the new Biden war will be for highly commendable ideals – with possible quotes from Mahatma Gandhi – and not, as Trump bluntly put it for Iraq and Syria, to “keep the oil”. How uncouth… Or gloss over the Khashoggi assassination because “the Saudis [had] just signed a four billion dollar arms deal”. Has the man ever even heard of vaseline? :o)

  • The disputed election, the gigantic economic downturn and an aggressive foreign policy will pave the way for a more effective populist:
    Make no mistake: The attempt to harness Trumpism—without Trump, but with calculated, refined, and smarter political talent—is coming. And it won’t be easy to make the next Trumpist a one-term president. He will not be so clumsy or vulnerable. He will get into office less by luck than by skill.

    At the moment, the Democratic Party risks celebrating Trump’s loss and moving on—an acute danger, especially because many of its constituencies, the ones that drove Trump’s loss, are understandably tired. A political nap for a few years probably looks appealing to many who opposed Trump, but the real message of this election is not that Trump lost and Democrats triumphed. It’s that a weak and untalented politician lost, while the rest of his party has completely entrenched its power over every other branch of government: the perfect setup for a talented right-wing populist to sweep into office in 2024. And make no mistake: They’re all thinking about it.
    While I would not have voted for Trump I rue what is following him.
    This great article can be read here:
    Regime Change In Washington Paves Way To More Nefarious Policies

    • I appreciate this article, until it fails, pretty much, at the end. Populism today is (oddly?) feared, but only by Republicans and Democrats, or wherever you are, the ruling class. Lincoln, FDR, MLKing, plenty of world leaders, were a type of (Hamiltonian, et al?) ‘populists’, and, perhaps the people of the world are basically ‘populists’. Despite an internet Tower of Babel, if we united worldwide for (not communism, scary for many-key roadblock-due to historical fear/panic so idk; raw socialism, same; not! free market crony capitalism, we’ve seen that misery; but a new type of) populism aka, here in US by too few, as the American System of Political Economy (no, not US arrogant exceptionalism, just an actual proven economic system), maybe we could ALL do this. Call it what you will.
      Sovereign nations, sovereign natl banks (control of $), regulators, GlassSteagall separation of commercial(development) & speculative banks, environmental safety but development (fusion?) without going to less life sustaining productive power (deadly), anti austerity, pro progress (meaning of progressive) etc. Anyone ever wonder, stop & think, question, how the environment and planet, certain emergency remedies, ‘expert’ assesments/interventions, shrill talk of mass calamity, discarding options, urgent bypass of scientific method & reason has been co-opted by the most revolting of the 1%?
      I wonder, myself. Great Reset?

  • Nobody cares about journalists but other journalists.

    Joournalism-compulsive disorder (JCD) features a pattern of unwanted thoughts and fears (obsessions) that lead you to do repetitive behaviors (compulsions). These obsessions and compulsions interfere with daily activities and cause significant distress.

    Journalists may try to ignore or stop obsessions, but that only increases their distress and anxiety. Ultimately, they feel driven to perform compulsive acts to try to ease their stress. Despite efforts to ignore or get rid of bothersome thoughts or urges, they keep coming back. This leads to more ritualistic behavior — the vicious cycle of JCD.

  • Yemen is of little strategic importance to Empire. Trump doesn’t care about brown people, and there was money to be made. Biden is a warmonger, and likely the focus will be on areas of more strategic importance. Venezuela and Bolivia had probably better watch out, and of course he’ll increase tensions with Russia, and keep upping the budget for the war machine.
    It’ll be interesting to see if he pursues reentering the JCPOA with Iran. Bibi wouldn’t like that. The fastest way for sleepy Uncle Joe to be put to pasture would be for him to butt heads with the war machine. Then watch out for Kamala and her new VP Killary.

  • Truthout has a chart showing the members of congress who supported medicare and those who opposed it.
    All the opposers lost. All the supporters won:

    They would have won the senate and many state governor-ships if they had had a program other than Beat Trump.
    The Democrats refuse to play politics because they don’t believe in doing anything but supporting inequality and the American civil war on the Underclasses in America, making colonies out of weak and socialist states outside America and giving the oligarchs and the genocidal Israelis whatever they want.
    These are the worst of the bad people who threw away a winning election all across the country, by not having a political program for what almost everyone wants: medicare, free education, freedom from war, want and fear: both economic and thought.
    They could stop the atrocities against Assange in a heartbeat – but will they ?

    Michael Fish

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