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The U.S. Strikes Houthi Targets in Yemen

The U.S. has directly attacked Houthi targets in Yemen for the first time today:

An American warship stationed off the coast of Yemen fired cruise missiles on Thursday at radar installations that the Pentagon said had been used by Yemeni insurgents to target another American warship in two missile attacks in the last four days.

Since the missile attacks failed and caused no damage, responding with cruise missile strikes seems unnecessary and foolish. By attacking the Houthis in this way, the U.S. has directly entered the war that it has been enabling for a year and a half, and it risks being pulled in even deeper at a time when it ought to be looking for a way to withdraw its support from the Saudi-led coalition. Thanks to an indefensible Obama administration policy of backing the Saudi intervention, the U.S. is stumbling into an expanded role in a disastrous war in a country where the U.S. has little or nothing at stake. The Navy called them “limited self-defense strikes,” and I hope there is no occasion for them to be repeated. Whoever was responsible for the failed attacks earlier this week has certainly done Yemen no favors, since this has diverted attention away from last week’s funeral massacre and reduced pressure on the Saudi-led coalition when it ought to be intensifying. Until now, the risk of greater direct U.S. involvement in Yemen has been minimal, and the best way to eliminate that risk is to end U.S. support for an unnecessary and atrocious war.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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