The New York Times has the sad duty of informing us that President Obama is engaging in a “secret” war in Yemen:
The extent of America’s war in Yemen has been among the Obama administration’s most closely guarded secrets, as officials worried that news of unilateral American operations could undermine Mr. Saleh’s tenuous grip on power. Mr. Saleh authorized American missions in Yemen in 2009, but placed limits on their scope and has said publicly that all military operations had been conducted by his own troops.
Mr. Saleh fled the country last week to seek medical treatment in Saudi Arabia after rebel shelling of the presidential compound, and more government troops have been brought back to Sana to bolster the government’s defense.
“We’ve seen the regime move its assets away from counterterrorism and toward its own survival,” said Christopher Boucek, a Yemen expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “But as things get more and more chaotic in Yemen, the space for the Americans to operate in gets bigger,” he said.
That’s four wars, for those keeping score at home, and if that doesn’t qualify as World War III then I’d like to know what the cut-off is. And I guess it’s not a closely guarded secret any more, is it? But at least it’s not framed as “President Obama’s mad rush to illegal war – for oil!” which is a kind of progress, albeit one that may or may not be affected by the outcome of the 2012 presidential election, depending upon the breaks.
The “space to operate” getting bigger language is a euphemism for “more bad guys to kill.” Which seems to be borne out by this headline in the LA Times: Militants said to gain ground in south Yemen
Hundreds of Yemeni and foreign fighters, including members of an Al Qaeda affiliate, are pouring into a provincial capital after government forces fled in chaos, according to a local official and a fighter who described himself as an Al Qaeda member.
The situation in Zinjibar, capital of the southern coastal province of Abyan, reflects the paralysis in Yemen’s security and political structure as President Ali Abdullah Saleh struggles to remain in power.
Our strategy seems to be the use of antiseptic drones to bomb the militants back to the stone age, uninformed by the fact that the militants are mostly already there.