Omission of Sins: NYT Turns Away From Deeper Truth on Yemen

At last, the "paper of record" runs a long, detailed story about the death spiral in Yemen. However, it seems to be short a few details. It paints the Saudis as champions of freedom simply trying to restore a democratically elected leader to office. It neglects the detail that the leader was "elected" in a "vote" (backed by the US & Saudis) that allowed only one candidate: the one favored by the US & the Saudis. It is also scant of detail on the US involvement. A few short paragraphs from the very end, it allows that the US is "a primary supplier of arms to the members of the Saudi-led coalition" but reassuringly notes " the United States is not directly involved in the conflict," despite the fact that "it has provided military support to the Saudi-led coalition, and Yemenis have often found the remnants of American-made munitions in the ruins left by deadly airstrikes." Carefully omitted are details like US military intelligence providing targeting directions for the Saudis, US ships helping the Saudis' murderous blockade and other support which -- in throwaway paragraphs buried deep beneath layers of dutiful spin -- has been well-documented in the past two years by ... the New York Times.

It also leaves out the bombing raids and ground raids being carried out directly by US forces in Yemen, ostensibly against ISIS and al Qaeda. Here another fact is politely set aside: the fact that the US-Saudi war has vastly increased the power and reach of ISIS and al Qaeda in Yemen. The Yemen forces now under attack by the Saudis were sworn enemies of the extremists, and had pounded al Qaeda to a small remnant -- until the US/UK and the Saudis stepped in and drove them back. ISIS had almost no presence in Yemen before the war. Now, both groups are flourishing mightily in the chaos, with their enemies being devastated by the US/Saudi assault.

Two other details were lacking as well. You can read the whole long story and not see a single mention of Donald Trump or Barack Obama. The latter put the full weight of the US behind this war of aggression to install a puppet leader, while the former has expanded US involvement with more ground troops and many more air attacks, most of them blunderbuss bombings which have killed many civilians. So yes, the story does provide some moving detail about the human suffering being caused by the war; but the eminently savvy and well-informed readers of the New York Times could walk away from the story without the slightest clue of their own government's direct and deep complicity in this humanitarian crisis.