By J. Michael Springmann
In some ways you might make a comparison with Vietnam and the Saudi activities in Yemen, but I think it’s a stretch to really try and compare it closely.
Back in the Vietnam War era in the United States, you had the general acceptance of the war based on the political ideology of the domino theory of dealing with communism. If the communists got one country, the next country would fall, and the next country after that would fall through the activities of the Communists and it was like a line of dominoes, that when one country went, you had a whole row of countries like dominoes being knocked down. That, of course, has been since disproved.
And it was by and large ignored by the American people until Lyndon Johnson, the president, raided the privileged sanctuaries, and by that I mean college campuses.
The middle class and the upper class were quite happy to let the high school educated, or dropouts, or people who are of a different race than the majority Caucasians in the country be drafted and go off to be killed in rice paddies. When Johnson started drafting college students there arose a great outcry in the United States and demands that the war end and helping with this of course was some less than good reporting, less than good analytical reporting from the news media about IndoChina.
And I think additionally, they put it on television, and all the Americans saw at dinnertime when they’re eating their TV dinners, in front of the set was the war in Vietnam with murky camera angles and cameras flopping around and people dropping after being shot.
So, this is not happening though in Saudi Arabia. I hear nothing at all I read nothing at all about the people in the country demanding that Mohammed bin Salman stop sacrificing their children in Yemen now. What they’re doing – the Saudis, are recruiting child soldiers from Sudan, for example, paying $10,000 to the family, and taking their kid off to be shot and killed in Yemen.
You can make the comparison I think only if you talk about outside forces at work. For example, the Americans and the British, and other European countries are selling arms to the Saudis for use in Yemen, and they are encouraging the Saudis.
They’re giving aid to the Saudis, much as the United States did to South Vietnam, and much as Russia and China did to North Vietnam. of course the main difference is that I don’t think Iran is as deeply involved in the war in Yemen as the Americans maintain they are. I think the Iranians are helping with advice. They are helping with technical issues. But Iran isn’t acting like Russia and China and sending pilots, sending that many military advisors, trying to provide weapons and ammunition and things like this. And they’re not working as the Russians and the Chinese did on world public opinion.
Unfortunately, I think if Iran could do that, and held up the mirror, a mirror to the American and British activities and Saudi activities in Yemen it might change the world’s opinion. But by and large, the rest of the world just doesn’t care.
Yemen is a small, out of the way country filled with brown people. And it is the poorest country in the Arab world. And in addition, of course, the country is riven by diseases, like cholera.
And about half the population now is in severe need of proper nutrition and sustenance. So I think that it’s halfway comparable to the war in Vietnam, but nowhere near the way things were back then.
Things could change, of course, in the future, Iran might be able to provide more aid to Yemen in terms of military weapons. But I think if the Iranians really wanted to intervene in the war they could feed the Yemenis, get food past the blockade and strengthen them, thus increasing the Yemeni resistance to the Saudi and Emirati attacks on their country for no reason other than they (the Saudis and UAE) think they can do it.
Iran’s role in this is not quite what the Americans claim or the British claim. Iran’s role is to advise and to assist and take up the cause at the United Nations as Foreign Minister Zarif has done.
Iran has repeatedly drawn attention to the plight of Yemen, as it’s done with Palestine, but unfortunately, this falls on the deaf ears of the megalomaniacs of Washington and London and Iran is doing its best, with its limited means and resources to call attention to the situation in Yemen, to starvation, to diseases running rampant in the country, and the murder, war crimes, human rights violations committed by the Saudis and the Emiratis, but regrettably Iran is just one country, and the rest of the world just simply ignores the situation, because they prefer to believe American lies, American propaganda and have no real knowledge of the situation.
J. Michael Springmann is an American political commentator, author and former US diplomat in Saudi Arabia. He is based in Washington. He recorded this article for Press TV website.