The U.S. predator drone warfare in Yemen — an artificial nation cobbled together from the ruins of the Ottoman Empire — illustrates the lunacy of the American Empire. War is the visceral response to every imagined danger.
Last September, President Obama declared the United States military intervention in Yemen would be war model that would be employed to degrade and destroy the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
But Yemen has been no more a success for the United States than the Battle of the Little Bighorn was for Gen. Custer.
It is convulsed by a savage civil war in which all the participants are despotic, tribal, sectarian, and contemptuous of human rights. None deserve our support. None are capable of commanding the popular legitimacy necessary for stable government and the rule of law.
Yemen is indistinguishable from the 1975-1990 Lebanese civil war in which President Reagan’s foolish military intervention precipitated an attack on our marine barracks in Beirut killing 241. He then withdrew our naval and land forces in recognition that we were clueless as to how to reconcile a bewildering array of rival Christian, Sunni, Shiite, and Druze factions.
In Yemen, Shiite Houthis from the North comprising one-third of Yemen’s population are ascendent. They ousted a corrupt and widely despised Sunni regime headed by President Abdu Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who has fled to exile in Saudi Arabia.
The Houthis are supported to a greater or lesser extent by Iran. They are also collaborating with Yemen’s erstwhile President Ali Saleh. He was formerly an ally of the United States because he permitted us to conduct drone killings without attribution.
We orchestrated Saleh’s replacement by President Hadi when our drone warfare was threatened by domestic chaos and strife. Hadi predictably proved worse than the disease, and Yemen’s upheavals worsened under his short-lived administration.
Saudi Arabia recently launched an indiscriminate bombing campaign in support of President Hadi that has killed innocent civilians in violation of international law. The Saudi government is notorious for religious bigotry, despotism, beheadings, and its unrivaled subjugation of women.
A witches’ brew of Arab nations has also recently pledged to dispatch combat soldiers to defeat the Houthi rebels without thinking about what would follow.
The Houthis are doing the Lord’s work, at present, by attacking our Sunni enemies in Yemen: ISIS and al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula (AQAP).
There is nothing constructive the United States can accomplish by continuing drone or other warfare in Yemen. We create more enemies than we kill because of targeting errors and our encroachment on Yemen’s sovereignty.
This does not mean that we should stick our head in the sand. A muscular policy of aggressive self-defense dictates that we collect intelligence on international terrorist organizations operating in Yemen; that we apply our criminal laws extra-territorially there against conspiracies to launch attacks against the United States; and, that we dispatch special forces to apprehend indicted conspirators located in Yemen for prosecution in civilian courts similar to the case of Fawaz Younis, who was captured in the Mediterranean in 1985 and prosecuted in the the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for hijacking a Jordanian airliner.
Experience teaches that criminal law enforcement is the optimal model that should be used for thwarting international terrorist threats against the United States in the Middle East and elsewhere.
it is not perfect. But it is superior to the post-9/11 war model that has and continues to diminish our safety.