The day was supposed to be joyous. On December 12, 2013, the al Ameri and al Taisy families joined together in Yemen’s al Bayda province to celebrate the marriage of Abdullah Mabkhout al Ameri and his new wife Wardah al Taisy. During the traditional wedding procession from the bride’s home, a United States drone launched four missiles and killed 12 people. Seven members of the al Ameri family and five members of the al Taisy family were killed; six more were injured.
“Everyone here was shocked,” Ahmed Mohamed al Shafe’ee al Taisy, whose 25-year-old son was killed in the strike, said later in a witness statement. “Those drones don’t only fly, they kill people.”
Over the next five years, members of the al Ameri and al Taisy families, and their neighbors, were victims of six more attacks. The year 2017 was particularly brutal: they say that 15 members of their families were killed on January 29 after an on the ground raid, two distantly related neighbors died on March 6, one family member was killed on November 23, three died on November 26, and one died on December 22, during drone strikes. Less than a year later, on September 18, 2020, two more family members were killed. Over seven separate attacks by the United States—six drones strikes and one raid—36 members of the al Ameri and al Taisy families were killed. A quarter of them were children between the ages of three months and 14 years old. The families lost loved ones, homes, livestock, and neighbors, as 12 other people were killed by the strikes as well. Though U.S. government authorities have claimed throughout the years that the targets were terrorists, investigators and the families have consistently said that is untrue. While it has been seven years since the first strike, they still haven’t received any answers; instead, they live in fear.
Trump’s base has been forcefully pushing the narrative that the previous president didn’t start any new wars, which while technically true ignores his murderous actions like vetoing the bill to save Yemen from US-backed genocide and actively blocking aid to its people, murdering untold tens of thousands of Venezuelans with starvation sanctions, rolling out many world-threatening cold war escalations against Russia, engaging in insane brinkmanship with Iran, greatly increasing the number of bombs dropped per day from the previous administration, killing record numbers of civilians, and reducing military accountability for those airstrikes. Trump may not have started any “new wars”, but he kept the old ones going and inflamed some of them. Just because you don’t start any new wars doesn’t mean you’re not a warmonger.
Rather than a throwback to “new wars” and the old-school ground invasions of the Bush era, the warmongering we’ll be seeing from the Biden administration is more likely to look like this. More starvation sanctions. More proxy conflicts. More cold war. More coups. More special ops. More drone strikes. More slow motion strangulation, less ham-fisted overt warfare.