Yemeni tribes are generally quite pragmatic and are by no means a default option for radical religious groups seeking a safe haven. However, the increasing civilian toll of drone strikes is turning the apathy of tribal factions into anger.
The strikes have created an opportunity for terrorist groups like Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and Ansar al-Sharia to recruit fighters from tribes who have suffered casualties, especially in Yemen’s south, where mounting grievances since the 1994 civil war have driven a strong secessionist movement.
The events in Libya of late have had the not so pleasant effect of distracting us from a great deal of other important things. Like, I dunno, the still failed economy, the devastation of Japan, the continued oil leaks in the Gulf of Mexico, the new government of Egypt, the wars we’re already fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan and a whole host of others.
I am wholeheartedly behind the efforts of the Libyan protestors, not being particularly fond of any government especially dictatorial ones. I rather wish we could gather that sort of enthusiasm here in the US against a government that is scarcely less corrupt than Libya’s; merely better at concealing it. At any rate, I support them.
But once we started raining tomahawk missiles and pouring smart bombs across their cities I felt a little at odds. Of course I supported the Libyans. Of course I hated that Gaddafi was killing the opposition. But at least we were targeting military targets right? I mean, even being vehemently anti-war I could kind of sorta support that given all that was at stake. We are just protecting innocents.
But then the reports started coming in; the inevitable had happened. Our bombs were of course directed at military targets, but a bombs a bomb. They are made for killing, and even “smart” bombs miss. Dozens of civilians have been killed by our efforts to stop innocent and senseless deaths. And of course the inevitable terror of being under constant threat from the sky: an unforeseeable, unpredictable threat. Sure, the bombs aren’t aimed at them but if you were stuck in the middle of a firing range I doubt the fact that the bullets were aimed for the targets and not you would make you feel that much better.
I might be able to ignore it, if we weren’t always doing just this. We stand with the innocent, but more often than not our purported efforts to protect end up killing them. I mean how stupid are we? Do you really think you can drop something designed to blast a bunker to all hell and back in the middle of a city and not kill innocents?
But this is all tangential from what I meant to say. Which was simply this: maybe we ought, as this article points out, stop bombing dictators and merely stop giving them bombs in the first place. We give millions to dictators all around the world, Egypt, Yemen, and, yes, Libya included. Hell, we put both the Taliban and Saddam Hussein in power in the 80s when they were involved in very similar fights to establish “freedom” in their respective nations. We created our own enemies.
So maybe it’s time we finally stopped meddling in other countries. Maybe it’s time we stopped killing in the name of life. Maybe it’s time to stop wars for peace.
(Photo from Boston’s Big Picture.)