The Weekly | How the Promise of American Jobs Became Entangled in a Faraway War

Producer/Director Alyse Shorland

U.S. defense contractors used the promise of new jobs to persuade the government to approve billions of dollars’ worth of arms sales to foreign allies with little regard for how the American-made bombs, jets and other weapons are used.

The Trump administration has repeatedly cleared the way for lucrative contracts with Saudi Arabia, building on a 2015 decision by the Obama administration to support the Saudi-led war in Yemen — a conflict that’s killed thousands of civilians and led to a dire humanitarian crisis with no end in sight. “We found ourselves locked into this terrible situation, unable to wrap it up, and handing it off to an administration that was going to handle it even worse than we did,” Stephen Pomper, a former special assistant to President Barack Obama, told “The Weekly.”

New York Times investigative reporters Walt Bogdanich and Michael LaForgia wanted to know why the war in Yemen continued despite reports of massive civilian casualties. Their reporting led them to look at the role of American defense contractors, including Raytheon, which makes precision-guided bombs that the Saudis have been using in Yemen. Raytheon, which has close ties to the Trump administration, depends on Saudi Arabia for 5 percent of its annual revenue, and needs U.S. government approval to sell its weapons overseas.

“Everybody in Yemen knows that the bombs causing this suffering are made in the United States,” said Representative Tom Malinowski, Democrat of New Jersey, who served as a senior State Department official during the Obama administration.

“The Weekly” investigates the decision to sell arms to Saudi Arabia even as the war in Yemen intensified, and our reporters ask who benefits from these sales and why they are allowed to continue.

[Join the conversation about @theweekly on Twitter and Instagram. #TheWeeklyNYT]

Producer Lora Moftah
Senior Story Editors Dan Barry, Liz O. Baylen, and Liz Day
Directors of Photography Andreas Burgess
Video Editors Marlon Singleton and Pierre Takal
Post Producer Lizzie Blenk
Associate Producers Brennan Cusack and Wesley Harris

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