Yemen Yes! Now Afghanistan!

By David Swanson, World BEYOND War, February 4, 2021

If the U.S. government follows through on what President Joe Biden said today about Yemen, that war’s days are numbered.

If the rest of us learn the appropriate lessons, the war on Afghanistan should start picking out a tomb stone.

Biden said the U.S. military was ceasing to participate in the war on Yemen, and that the United States would be ending any “relevant arms sales.”

Making sure those statements are held true in the ordinary sense of the words will take ongoing vigilance. One can expect attempts at exceptions for particularly desired drone murders, which is a large part of what created the war on Yemen in the first place. Ending a war needs to mean ending a war. That sounds obvious, but it never has meant that before. Both Obama and Trump were given credit (by different people) for years for “ending” wars they didn’t end. This one has to be real. That includes making sure “relevant” arms sales doesn’t rely on a new definition of “relevant” crafted by a lawyer for Raytheon.

“Ending the war” is shorthand for ending U.S. participation of all sorts in the war, of course. But this is a war that cannot last without U.S. participation.

There are reasons to think this ending can be made to stick. Biden has not informed journalists of deceptive meanings in his statements (yet, to my knowledge). Lying this prominently and early on this topic would hurt this president. In addition, this is the first war ended by Congress. Sure, Congress ended it when Trump was president and he vetoed that, but very clearly Congress was going to be compelled to end it again — compelled by the public — if Biden did not act. So, Biden knows this wasn’t a choice left up to him. It was also something that he (and the 2020 Democratic Party Platform) had already been obliged to promise.

The most important lesson here is that public pressure on and through numerous governments worked. Italy just blocked weapons shipments for this war. Germany had already blocked weapons to Saudi Arabia. World BEYOND War activists in Canada just blocked shipments for this war by standing in front of trucks on a global day of action for Yemen. Neither Joe Biden nor Antony Blinken wanted to end this war. Biden announced his support for Saudi Arabia, his plan to keep all troops in Germany, and his intention for the United States to “lead” the world — all in the same speech with the ending of the war on Yemen.

Now, here’s what we’ve got: Democratic Party majorities in both houses of the U.S. Congress, and a Democrat in the White House, a Democratic Party Platform that also promised to end the war on Afghanistan (though Biden has already announced breaking that promise), Congress Members who were prepared to do lots of work to end the war on Yemen who now don’t have to, a war on Afghanistan that (relatively speaking) the U.S. public has actually heard of, a war on Afghanistan that numerous nations are still playing bit roles in (the abandonment of which would be of some influence on the others), and the proven success of using the War Powers Resolution to end a war.

Raise a glass to the activists who made that law happen in 1973!

Now, I know we’re up against the supreme idol of partisanship. I know the Democrats in Congress only ended the war on Yemen because a Republican was president, but Republicans ended it too. What could be a better opportunity for the much lauded Unity and Bipartisanship than getting together and ending the war on Afghanistan? “Ending the war” is shorthand for ending U.S. participation in the war, again, of course. But ending U.S. participation ends NATO participation. Ending weapons sales severely restricts everyone else’s participation. And ending all violence in Afghanistan is only possible — not guaranteed, but possible — if the U.S. military makes like a tree and leaves.

Of course it will be said that once we end two wars we’ll just want to end a third and a fourth and never be satisfied. To which I say, any culture that equates peacemaking with selfish greed ought to have about as many things ended as possible. Let’s get to work.

PS: Please address your announcements of the futility and hopelessness of opposing wars to:

WEJUSTENDEDTHEWARONYEMEN
PO BOX SNAPOUTOFIT
Washington DC 2021

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8 Comments

  1. Michael Carano says:

    Yes, let’s make this only a beginning and continue ending all of the wars and sanctions that cause death and destruction. There is only building on victories since those pushing war and profit will never stop, Nor shall we.

  2. Edward S Green says:

    Joe Biden, please continue your great works of ending Wars, especially in Yemen and Syria. Cut weapon sales, training, and all assistance to Saudis and UAE that continue these Wars. Pull the 2500 US Troops from Iraq, like their Congress has requested. Cut aid and embargo military in Burma, it’s the law, they are responsible for the present coup. Take all these savings and create good jobs, like the Green New Deal. Thank you Joe and Kamala for all you do for peace, justice and inequality.

  3. Edward S Green says:

    oe Biden, please continue your great works of ending Wars, especially in Yemen and Syria. Cut weapon sales, training, and all assistance to Saudis and UAE that continue these Wars. Pull the 2500 US Troops from Iraq, like their Congress has requested. Cut aid and embargo military in Burma, it’s the law, they are responsible for the present coup. Take all these savings and create good jobs, like the Green New Deal. Thank you Joe and Kamala for all you do for peace, justice and inequality.

  4. Carolyn Johnson says:

    You might also address the U.S. government sending Israel $10 million A DAY for its military. They are presently bombing Libya,
    Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon/Gaza on and off. One in 5 Americans is out of work We can’t afford to support Israel and its genocide. It has the 4th strongest military in the world and an economy equal to Great Britain.

  5. S. L. Metheny says:

    Ending US participation in War, is achievable in the human lifespan.

    Ending WAR is not.

    Adjust the focus,
    allocate time,
    and resourses accordingly.

  6. Myrna Fabrizio says:

    Just learned of the $10 million a day being given to Israel for war. That should be given to people in this country who have suddenly lost their income and need $$ to pay for food, rent and utilities. It can be used to provide free healthcare for everyone in this country. Other countries do that. There is a lot of money in the US Budget designated for war. Yes, we need a military but not to be used for war purposes. There could be fewer people in the military and more people working near home to repair our infrastructure, roads, bridges, waterlines and more. Our taxes can be reduced and money should be provided for public education and private schools should be outlawed. A lot of changes need to be made in our education system from K-12. The 99% are paying the bulk of the taxes and the 1% are profiting from our country’s war budget.

  7. Richard Wildner says:

    Hello,
    I agreed in one point with Donald Trump, viz. his intention pulling out the American troops from Germany. We do not need them and the atomic bombs either. President Biden should reduce the number of American soldiers in Gernmany or still better close all military bases. Worldwide there are more then 700 US-bases – too expensive in the long run. To my and others regret, due to the pressure from NATO/USA the German government has just increased the military budget by 3 billions amounting now to 53 billions. A crazy development! regs Richard

  8. I think that Biden is serious about ending support for the Yemen war. It means a less friendly relationship with Saudi Arabia. I’m glad that’s happening. Trump’s butt-kissing with the Saudi sheiks fit his friendliness with the worst of the world’s dictators.

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