In recent days Saudi Arabia has bombed a Doctors Without Borders Hospital, a school, and a potato chip factory. They have done so using “Made in the USA” bombs from planes we sold them. We are reportedly providing them with targeting and intelligence support, which heightens the perceptions of American complicity.
According to the New York Times, the US has sent over $110 billion in arms to Saudi Arabia since 2009 and the State Department just approved the potential sale of $1.15 billion more. The conflict in Yemen “has killed more than 6,500 people, displaced more than 2.5 million others and pushed one of the world’s poorest countries from deprivation to devastation. A recent United Nations report blamed the coalition for 60 percent of the deaths and injuries to children last year. Human rights groups and the United Nations have suggested that war crimes may have been committed.”
My recent report with Open Society Foundations discusses the strategic costs of civilian harm to American interests and our ability to win wars. We outline ways the U.S. government can fix these problems. The recommendations work for allies and partners, too.
President Obama recently issued an Executive Order to improve civilian protection during military operations. It is time to act on it.