Over the past several days Saudi Arabia’s brutal war against Yemen has taken an even more grim turn, as hospitals and schools have been hit. US weapons sales to the Saudis provide the firepower that kills Yemeni civilians. The military-industrial complex profits. And Saudi Arabia’s strongest ally in Yemen? al-Qaeda.
Ron Paul: Hello everybody and thank you for tuning in to the Liberty Report. Today with me is Daniel McAdams, our co-host. Daniel, good to see you.
Daniel McAdams: Good morning Dr. Paul.
Ron Paul: Looking at the news coming from the mainstream media and trying to keep up to date on what they are talking about, looks like the big issue is that Trump is getting some new personnel for his campaign. That was all over the TV. But, guess what? I don’t want to talk about that, but there is some other issues that are very important and somewhat in the news, but I don’t think the average person even that it’s looking at the Internet, I didn’t find a whole lot on the Internet, but to you and me of course this is very significant. This has to do with Yemen and what is happening over there.
I think some significant events have happened. There has been a recent violent escalation, as well as a political change has happened here in the last couple of months and I think it’s a hotspot that we’ve addressed before, but it looks like it’s getting a little hotter now and who knows what time will bring, but I would like to get your assessment on exactly the political changes, as well as this incident that happens routinely, but just recently there were some civilians being killed.
Daniel McAdams: This is a one-and-a-half year Saudi war on Yemen. The Saudi started the war, they invaded Yemen, they have been bombing Yemen. They want to restore the former President Hadi to power. He is the one who actually had overthrown Saleh in the Arab Spring, who was a US ally and then Hadi became a US ally. Now, the Saudis want to put him back in and in the middle of this it’s essentially a proxy war in a way, between Saudi Arabia and Iran, with the US on the side of the Saudis and in the middle of this is the poorest country in the region, they don’t have any resources, they don’t have any oil, they don’t have anything and they have suffered tremendously, I think 6,500 of them have been killed, most of them civilians.
But, recently what has gotten our attention is that the Saudis once again have started bombing within the last few days, a hospital, a school, a potato chip factory. They won’t even let them have potato chips. But, this is a slaughter of citizens, civilians and it is done, as you know, with US weapons. The US has been very strong about not wanting slaughter of civilians, but guess what happens when US State Department spokesperson is asked about whether the US will condemn this Saudi slaughter of civilians. I just happen to have a handy clip that we can show their reaction when they are trying to get him to condemn it.
State Department Spokesperson: We are deeply concerned by reported strike on a hospital in northern Yemen. We are gathering more information. As we said in the past, strikes on humanitarian facilities, including hospitals, are particularly concerning. We call on all parties to cease hostilities immediately. Continued military actions only prolong the suffering of the Yemeni people.
Reporter: Yeah, but this was apparently done by Saudi coalition that you guys are big supporters of. Have you raised this issue? This is not the first time that hospitals are targeted there.
State Department Spokesperson: We remain in close contact with the Saudis on this and we would note that the Saudi committee that was designated to look into civilian casualties. The previous ones we have discussed from this podium and did share its findings with the UN. We believe that is a step forward in transparency and as we previously underscored we are also calling them to publicly release those reports.
Reporter: Is there any consequence to this?
State Department Spokesperson: What I’d say is I am not going to get ahead of any decision that US officials have regularly engaged with Saudi officials, as well as other coalition members, the importance of mitigating harm.
Daniel McAdams: There you have it, they are gathering more info about it.
Ron Paul: Let me tell you Daniel. She hasn’t reassured me, I doubt it she has reassured you that they even care. Of course, the big question is for most Americans that know just a little bit about it, the Saudis are fighting with the Yemeni and that is a border dispute and not much else, but we are very much involved. We are involved financially, we provide the weapons. The weapons are flowing in there. It is estimated that probably in this past year the Saudis have gotten 50 billion dollars worth. They just had a recent vote in the Senate for over a billion dollars of weapons going there, so we are very much involved. We provide intelligence gathering for them.
It’s amazing that the Houthis, the locals who they are fighting and trying to hold off on the Saudis, they are not doing badly. They haven’t been pushed out to the sea. So, this to me is very amazing that they can handle this, but we have a moral responsibility for this. There is no way you can justify under our constitutional that we should do this. Most people would say it is not a war, why would we have to declare war. The Congress is complicit, they provide all the money and they never even ask the question. Just think how many votes did it take to vote these numerous times over these last several years on how much money that gets voted for this weapons industry.
And it’s bipartisan. Oh, it’s bipartisan, then it must be OK. That is what is disgusting to me is that we can’t build a coalition against this kind of stuff. There is a few people on each side, but unfortunately it seems like the financiers and the military industrial complex and that is a huge industry. The industry is over 70 billion dollar a year of weapons. I bet the mark-up could be a 100 percent or more billions and billions of dollars made.
It’s something we should know about, the practicalities of this, the one thing that is pretty interesting is in spite of all that, the Saudis have not had a military victory there and it’s shifting around, but then again I understand a lot of their allies have sort of deserted them and I read their only close ally that is hanging in there is Al-Qaeda.
Daniel McAdams: I wonder how Americans would feel if they knew that, that our weapons are going to the Saudis to slaughter the Yemenis and the Saudis only ally there is Al-Qaeda. It’s amazing and you touched on it, why are the Houthies doing fairly well. By the way, the rain is coming.
Ron Paul: There we go, we will survive the rain.
Daniel McAdams: But, why are the Houthies doing very well and you said this many times, they are fighting for their homeland, they are not mercenaries. The Saudis are bringing in African mercenaries, they don’t have an army to speak of. But, this really gives you a window on what fuels the Washington war-machine. What fuels the neocon think-tanks. All of this Saudi money buying all of these weapons. We saw from Hillary’s emails that they gave her between 10 and 20 million dollars for their foundation, the Saudis throw money around and they buy people’s silence and that is why not many people are talking about this.
Ron Paul: One thing I found terribly frustrating and it’s annoying because it’s a mixed bag. When we want to sell stuff overseas, I like free trade, the least regulation possible and the least licensing. Under Obama, and there has been over 200 billion dollars worth of weapons sold under Obama. Under Obama it’s been made easier to sell. You would think the Republicans would do that. They have gotten rid of licensing, gotten rid of oversight, so there is probably more free trade in the distribution of weapons at great profits, than anything else in the world, food or things that aren’t as nearly as important as these weapons and yet these are the people, the very people who do this, to make all this money and the political power, they are the ones who want to take the guns away from us. It is so terrible that this is why an incident like this and what is going on like this, because it’s just another place.
We talk about Syria, we talk about Ukraine, we talk about Iraq and Afghanistan, we don’t talk a whole lot about this, but there is I am sure other places, just recently we opened up the doors to selling weapons to Vietnam. It’s always money involved and the old saying about follow the money might be a pretty good idea about sorting out our foreign policy.
Daniel McAdams: Yeah and look at the, going back to the State Department spokesperson, look at the moral blindness of her, she says we call on all parties to cease fire. There is clearly one party that is defending its country and clearly another that is the aggressor. The idea that you can’t defend yourself, would that be a US policy if we were being attacked. Imagine if the Chinese started invading us through Mexico and Russia said we encourage all sides to stop fighting. How would we listen to that?
Ron Paul: And they are saying that the people trying to preserve their homeland should live within the Constitution. of course the person they are trying to defend and put back in was elected in a corrupt election. There were no opponents and he won. Of course, right now, he is in Saudi Arabia, because he is on the run and they are not doing well. So, I think this is very, very significant, but I think when you are fighting for your homeland there is a special thing that happens there, when you think about just think about the tragedy of Vietnam, how the French and the Americans suffered the consequences of doing something we didn’t want to do. And you don’t even have to sort it out, you can set aside who they are and what they are fighting for, whether they are communist or socialist or what, they are fighting for their homeland and that puts them on a moral high-ground and that would be like us fighting to keep the intruders out of our house or something like that.
This goes on, but it just digs a bigger hole for ourselves, financially, this is a cost to us and we don’t gain friends by this, there is no movement toward peace and also one of the articles that we looked at, explain a little bit about how the UN enters into this. Did you gather from that that the UN will help us in our struggle for peace or do you think the UN could be complicit in some of this?
Daniel McAdams: They have been white-washing a lot of what the Saudis have done in Yemen. They’ve been bribed or paid or what have you to white-wash.
Ron Paul: They do it and of course they are on our government’s side, they are not on the side of the people here or the people over there.
Daniel McAdams: Yeah and you make a good point that Hadi did leave, did depart the country, he left the country, his term of election has expired, but the US is determined with the Saudis to put him back in power. Now, contrast this with what happened in Ukraine. When Yanukovich left they said his term is up, he left office, he left the country, it’s all over, so we are going to put our guys in, so look at the hypocrisy.
The other thing I was thinking about, you want to talk about fueling radical Islam. Talk about how US foreign policy fuels radical Islam. Imagine if you are an Arab and you are looking at what is happening in Yemen, you are looking at civilians being slaughtered with US weapons, US-provided weapons. How are you going to feel? You are going to have a sense that you want to have revenge. Out policy is directly threatening us and making terrorist attacks on America more likely.
Ron Paul: And it makes a mockery out of this whole notion that we are spreading American exceptionalism and that we care about civil liberties, like our State will check this out and find out what is going on. Here, Saudi Arabia might be one of the worst, if not the worst. They do 50 beheadings a year and some are for religious crimes, it’s not even for violent crimes and yet we continue to do it, so it’s all about money and a lot of times I think it’s, the people who chanted when we were leading up to the Iraq war, it’s all about oil. It’s a lot about oil and it’s a lot about oil pipelines, maybe not in this particular case. But, I am sort of a little bit surprised and you might have an opinion on this, why is Yemen so important to the Saudis because, of course, the Yemens are not a military threat to the Saudis?
Daniel McAdams: They ginned up this whole idea that this is Iran’s proxy army in Yemen and that is what they sold to the US, that the Iranians are coming, they are going to take over, they are going to overthrow Saudi Arabia, so therefore we have to fight them on Yemen territory, rather than there.
There is almost a silver lining and that is why I think you do what you do in trying to shine the light on these things, because I think when it comes to attention, I think we start seeing some movement and a little bit of good news I think, two things. One is that there are a couple of Senators who are pushing back against this extra 1.1 billion dollars in weapons and that is Senator Murphy and Senator Rand Paul and they are both trying to block these sales, so we can root for them in this particular instance.
The other thing is just today the New York Times came out with an editorial saying we should stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia until they stop slaughtering Yemeni civilians, so there is some movement. I think it has become even so grotesque that Washington has to start taking notice.
Ron Paul: Ideas are important and ideas whose time has come, they can’t stop them, so maybe the ideas of a more peaceful solution and more diplomacy and less of this aggressiveness and less of this preemptive war stuff and less of the war profiteering, the better. Eventually, I think we will win this for a mixed reason. We will have more enlightenment, like you were pointing, but we are also going to have an economic enlightenment, because you can’t afford this. This is an Empire and we are involved everywhere, all over the world and it provides no security as far as I am concerned, it incites many more enemies, it contributes to our bankruptcies and it contributes to our economic problems that we have in this country.
When we were citing some of these huge numbers that are involved in this war profiteering, just think if some of that was just left in this country, there’d be such a difference and of course I think we’d live more peacefully too. I think that is the main goal and that is why we have a little organization called the Institute for Peace and Prosperity, because that should be our goal.
I want to thank everybody for tuning in today to the Liberty Report and we certainly wanted to make a sincere effort to call attention to you what is going on, on the borders and within Yemen and dealing with Saudi Arabia. We are complicit explicitly so in involvement with the Saudis and they are no angels, they are one of the worst offenders on civil liberties and here we are providing huge amounts of weaponry for them, so we are morally and politically responsible for a lot of what is going on.
Saudi Arabia would not be doing what they are doing if they did not have the full support of this administration and of course full support, bipartisan generally speaking, for many, many decades and it’s time we call them out on this, for the American people to wake up and say entangling alliances and getting involved in the internal affairs of other nations and deciding to get involved in every so-called revolution, is bad policy for us. The world will not come to an end if we don’t get involved in all these revolutions that are going on. Believe me, I would feel much more secure and the world would be much better off. We should continue to strive for peace and prosperity and that should be our goal.
I want to thank everybody for tuning in today and I want to hope you come back to see us.