I admire Amy Goodman. She is plain-spoken, hard-working, fair-minded, idealistic, undeterred, reporting important, often otherwise unreported, stories every day. I am informed by her reporting, learning things you never hear from the wealthy talking heads of the main stream media, the consolidated, advertising-driven corporate mass media even our president reviles. Watching her update for today just now I noticed this by the side of the video:
I know about this story from Democracy Now! and the reporting of people like Jeremy Scahill (a one-time protégé of Amy’s, if I’m not mistaken). Yemen, one of the poorest countries on earth, is being assaulted by Saudi Arabia as the wealthy oil producer seeks to keep Shia militants from taking over control of Yemen, an impoverished country bordering Saudi Arabia. Our president, moments before doing a sword dance with leaders who behead heretics and protesters in their nation, announced the great deal he made with the Saudis. We are giving them a very good deal, we learn, on $110,000,000,000 of America’s best armaments, munitions, weaponry, planes, drones, bombs, missiles.
The Saudis are putting state of the art American weapons to good use against their Shia rebel enemies in Yemen. Saudi ordnance is killing the Houthis, and anyone else within range, as the Saudis lead a coalition of other wealthy Arab nations intervening violently in the civil war in Yemen. Meanwhile, in Yemen, the poorest country in the Middle East, there is what the United Nations calls a massive humanitarian catastrophe underway. Among other horrors, people are dying of cholera, an ancient disease that today mainly effects those living in poverty.
Cholera, google tells us, is an infectious and often fatal bacterial disease of the small intestine, typically contracted from infected water supplies and causing severe vomiting and diarrhea.
With all the problems we Americans have at this moment, is it any wonder that only six people have watched the Democracy Now! report on the cholera deaths in Yemen? After all, nobody knows that doomed child staring out of the youtube hero frame, one of countless poor brown children doomed to die today in dozens of war zones all over the world. It’s not as if the anonymous child is an American kid from Connecticut, a young individual with a name, a cute school photo, a bright future and grief stricken parents, caught in a preventable but, for him, deadly epidemic. Yet Amy Goodman persists in reporting the “anonymous” kid’s terrible story. God bless her.
Amy followed up on the ongoing Saudi white phosphorous war crime issue today. What is white phosphorous?
In September 2016, The Washington Post reported that Saudi Arabia “appears” to be using US-made white phosphorus munitions against Yemen, based on images and videos posted to social media. Under US regulations, white phosphorus is only allowed to be used to signal to other troops and to reduce visibility in open ground, creating a smoke-screen. It is not to be used to attack humans as it burns human flesh down to the bone, which is considered excessively cruel. A United States official said the department was looking into whether the Saudis used white phosphorus improperly.
Look, I get it. We can all agree that using a weapon, even one made in the U.S.A., that burns flesh down to the bone is excessively cruel. War crimes are horrible, whether allegedly committed by our allies, by our troops or by our hated enemies. Who wants to read about that kind of thing, an atrocity we are utterly powerless to stop in any case, when we can all rally around even a foolish American president who drops a gigantic bomb that is magnificently filmed as it falls and fills the night with majestic flames?
If, as Amy reports, an armed U.S. Reaper Drone in the skies over Somalia rained down several Hellfire missiles yesterday, and reportedly killed a bunch of Al Shabaab militants in a camp, isn’t that something to celebrate? We are killing the terrorists over there before they can kill us here. This is the War on Terror that Bush and Cheney started, and it will take more than the rest of our lifetimes to finish the job. It would take Jesus Christ himself, punching out the American president on live TV during prime time, to change anything about this sacred and lucrative war against religious maniacs who want us all dead.
And still Amy Goodman reports, and endures, and finds hope wherever it is to be found.
In other news she reported this morning, the attorney generals of Maryland and Washington D.C. have sued the president for alleged violations of the Emoluments Clause, a provision in our Constitution which makes it illegal for a president to take money, or anything else that could be counted as a bribe, from foreign governments. The suits center on the millions this president has allegedly received so far from foreign governments who were paying guests at the president’s hotel in Washington D.C., including dignitaries from Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Kuwait who have all paid to stay at the hotel since the inauguration. I’m sure the Grey Lady reported that one today, too. I see that within the last hour or so many mainstream news services have jumped on this story. God bless the press.
Here’s an inspirational moment from today’s Democracy Now! broadcast.