The War Nerd: A Brief History Of The Yemen Clusterf*ck

I’m reblogging this piece by my favorite Gary Brecher to remind myself to read it later tonight.

11 thoughts on “The War Nerd: A Brief History Of The Yemen Clusterf*ck

  1. // I’m reblogging this piece by my favorite Gary Brecher to remind myself to read it later tonight.

    May be, you’ll also be interested in the article I read today:

    Enough Said: The False Scholarship of Edward Said
    http://www.worldaffairsjournal.org/article/enough-said-false-scholarship-edward-said

    I haven’t read Said, only heard about him on your blog, so I can’t judge whether criticism of his ideas in the article is just. However, I was interested in the information regarding his connection to the Middle East conflict (it is in the last 2 parts of the article). Particularly, his changing view of Arafat and whose “decolonializing” voices Said acknowledges.

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    1. Said is one of the greatest scholars of literature in the world. His scholarship was absolutely outstanding.

      His political views are completely irrelevant to our evaluation of his scholarship. This article reminded me of people who come to my blog to ask me triumphantly, “So is this the way you write your scholarly articles?!?” And I never know what one could respond to such an obviously stupid query.

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    1. We’ve been pushed to use this kind of software to spot student plagiarism for years. But I find it creates more problems than it solves, so I don’t use it. It’s much easier to just create an assignment that makes plagiarism impossible.

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  2. Bretcher’s piece is interesting, thanks for the link, Clarissa. I wish those who commented under his blog piece showed more interest in Yemen and less in arguing amongst themselves. For a start Yemen has given coffee to the world!

    I have a special interest in Yemen, I lived in Aden, on the Yemeni south coast, in my childhood; OK I was part of a family in the British ‘occupying forces’ at the time, but that wasn’t exactly my fault and I loved the place, the people and the food. My father was a doctor and his patients were mostly Yemenis. I’m involved a group of ex-Aden services families and we’re all very concerned about friends and other residents in Aden, which is being bombed by Saudi Arabian forces, probably as I write this.

    Yemen is the second largest state in the Arabian peninsula and has a population of 24.5 million people, only 4 million short of Saudia Arabia. Most of the population live in the west of the country, the east consisting of the impossibly inhospitable Empty Quarter which has the beautiful Arabic name – Rub al Kahli.

    Yemen has no oil and the coffee has already bee exported, so the western world doesn’t really care.

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    1. “Yemen has no oil and the coffee has already bee exported, so the western world doesn’t really care.”

      • Exactly. And I didn’t even know about the connection between Yemen and coffee.

      Thank you, this is a fascinating story.

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  3. OK, I think I see why you zeroed in on the War Nerd’s article:

    You can rank armies by their aversion to KIA; the IDF clearly goes at the top (it’s their great, fatal har-har weakness), and the Soviets and Ottoman rank near the bottom for sensitivity to body bags coming home.

    This immediately reminded me of something else that showed up recently:

    This isn’t about power. No one doubts that the United States has the most powerful military in the world. But I’m not sure that people quite understand how costly was everyone’s idea of a just war: World War II. Conservative estimates indicate that the war directly cost the lives of 60 million people. The vast majority of those (especially civilians) were on the Ally side. I don’t think the Allies had much of a choice about World War II. We definitely have a choice about Iran. As Farley noted, “The United States has the capability to inflict grievous damage on the Islamic Republic, but cannot solve the problem of Iran by bombing alone.” So the question is: what is our pain threshold? I’d have to say that it is really low. And it is best to think about this now rather than after the bombs start falling.

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    1. I thought Clarissa zeroed in on the article because of this:
      Arabs are reduced to choosing which Allah and which Emir to support because a half-century alliance between the worst oligarchies in the West and the most reactionary elements in their countries wiped out the alternative. That’s why it’s so grotesque to hear right-wingers blaming the Arabs for the lack of commitment to democracy and even more ridiculous that Leftists demand respect for fascist thugs like Islamic State, as if they were the voice of the Muslim people.

      These sectarian wars are what’s left when you’ve killed everybody else who was attempting to provide Arabs with an effective, secular, modern existence.

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      1. I now feel even more embarrassed to confess that I haven’t read the article yet. But if I had read the article 🙂 , yes, I would have loved this quote. You know me well. 🙂

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    2. “You can rank armies by their aversion to KIA; the IDF clearly goes at the top (it’s their great, fatal har-har weakness), and the Soviets and Ottoman rank near the bottom for sensitivity to body bags coming home.”

      • All I know here is the reference to the Soviets, and it’s completely true.

      “So the question is: what is our pain threshold? I’d have to say that it is really low.”

      • All true.

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