Saudi Arabia and the other Arab states that form the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have been brutally bombing Yemen for more than a year, hoping to drive Houthi rebels out of the capital they overran in 2014 and restore Saudi-backed President Abd Rabu Mansour Hadi.

The United States has forcefully backed the Saudi-led war. In addition to sharing intelligence, the U.S. has sold tens of billions of dollars in munitions to the Saudis since the war began. The kingdom has used U.S.-produced aircraft, laser-guided bombs, and internationally-banned cluster bombs to target and destroy schools, markets, power plants, and a hospital, resulting in thousands of civilian deaths.

Despite all that, U.S. officials have done little to explain this support, have failed to explain the U.S. interests in the campaign, and have made scant mention of the humanitarian toll. In the absence of an official response, The Intercept raised those concerns with half a dozen former senior diplomatic officials, including U.S. ambassadors to Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

But rather than defend or explain the U.S. involvement, most of the former diplomats we interviewed said that the war harms U.S. interests.

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