Just What We Need: Another Secret War

This one is in Yemen. It is not really new. Here’s a sample of it:

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration has intensified the American covert war in Yemen, exploiting a growing power vacuum in the country to strike at militant suspects with armed drones and fighter jets, according to American officials.

On Friday, American jets killed Abu Ali al-Harithi, a midlevel Qaeda operative, and several other militant suspects in a strike in southern Yemen. According to witnesses, four civilians were also killed in the airstrike. Weeks earlier, drone aircraft fired missiles aimed at Anwar al-Awlaki, the radical American-born cleric who the United States government has tried to kill for more than a year. Mr. Awlaki survived.

The recent operations come after a nearly year-long pause in American airstrikes, which were halted amid concerns that poor intelligence had led to bungled missions and civilian deaths that were undercutting the goals of the secret campaign.

Officials in Washington said that the American and Saudi spy services had been receiving more information — from electronic eavesdropping and informants — about the possible locations of militants. But, they added, the outbreak of the wider conflict in Yemen created a new risk: that one faction might feed information to the Americans that could trigger air strikes against a rival group.

(Boldface added.)

How many midlevel operatives has al Qaeda got, and how can any of them still be alive, after all those that America claims to have killed? And “Mr. Awlaki,” by all reports no nice guy but still an American… unless he is actively involved in acts of war against the United States, shouldn’t he receive a trial? And what about those dead civilians, and the others we’ve read about despite the “secret” nature of the war? Here we go again, “winning hearts and minds,” one dead civilian at a time.

America has been militarily involved in Afghanistan for 10 years. It’s been in Iraq for eight years. It’s been in Pakistan and Yemen and maybe Iran for… well, we don’t actually know, do we? And for some other unspecified period of time, America has actively gone after Qaddafi-of-the-many-spellings in Libya. Just how many wars, open and allegedly secret, do our presidents need to prove they are macho badasses toward terrorism and supporters of “democracy”? Wasting civilians with drones does less than nothing for our security.

I have never been to war myself, but I am almost unbearably war-weary.

UPDATE later June 9: reports are coming in that the administration is intensifying the air strikes in Yemen. Great… just great.

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