The Washington Post has an article out titled “As Houthis vow to fight on, U.S. prepares for sustained campaign,” with “sustained campaign” being empire-speak for a new American war.
“The Biden administration is crafting plans for a sustained military campaign targeting the Houthis in Yemen after 10 days of strikes failed to halt the group’s attacks on maritime commerce, stoking concern among some officials that an open-ended operation could derail the war-ravaged country’s fragile peace and pull Washington into another unpredictable Middle Eastern conflict,” the Post reports.
The Post acknowledges that “sustained military campaign” means “war” in the ninth paragraph of the article, saying the anonymous US officials cited in the report “don’t expect that the operation will stretch on for years like previous U.S. wars in Iraq, Afghanistan or Syria.” Which is about as reassuring as a pyromaniac saying he doesn’t expect he’ll be burning down any more houses like all those other houses he’s burned down.
This bizarre refusal to just call a war a war also appeared in a recent press conference with Pentagon spokesperson Sabrina Singh, who acted shocked and aghast that reporters would even ask if repeatedly bombing a country would qualify as being at war with them.
“Is it now fair to say that the U.S. is at war in Yemen?” Singh was asked by a Reuters reporter on Thursday.
“No, we don’t seek war,” Singh replied. “We don’t think that we are at war. We don’t want to see a regional war. The Houthis are the ones that continue to launch cruise missiles, antiship missiles at innocent mariners, at commercial vessels that are just transiting an area that sees, you know, 10 to 15 percent of world’s commerce.”
In a follow-up several questions later, Singh was asked by a reporter from Politico, “You said that we are not at war with the Houthis, but if — you know, this tit-for-tat bombing — we’ve bombed them five times now. So if this isn’t war, can you just explain this a little — a little bit more to us? If this isn’t war, what is war?”
“Sure, Lara, sure, great question, I just wasn’t expecting it phrased exactly that way,” Singh replied with a laugh and a smirk. “Look, we are — we do not seek war. We are — we do not — we are not at war with the Houthis. In terms of a definition, I think that would be more of a clear declaration from the United States. But again, what we are doing and the actions that we are taking are defensive in nature.”
It is worth noting that since that Thursday press conference the number of US strikes on Yemen has increased from five to seven as of this writing.
It is also worth noting here that, per Singh’s absurd definition, the US has not been at war since the end of WWII, as there has not been a “clear declaration of war” since June 5, 1942. The only wars the US has officially declared through congress in accordance with its own constitution have been the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Spanish-American War, and the two world wars.
If you go by this definition the US is among the more peaceful nations in the world, since it hasn’t been at war in eight decades. In reality the US is the single most warlike and murderous nation of modern times with wars of aggression that have killed millions and displaced tens of millions just in the 21st century alone, and plays some role in most of the world’s major international conflicts.
Singh’s claim that the US attacks on Yemen are “defensive in nature” is also self-evidently absurd; Yemeni forces weren’t even attacking American commercial vessels until the US began attacking them. Only the US could launch unprovoked attacks on a foreign nation on the other side of the planet and call it self-defense.
Antiwar’s Dave DeCamp explains:
“Before the US began bombing the Houthis, Ansar Allah officials made clear they would only stop attacking Israeli-linked commercial shipping if the onslaught on Gaza ended. Instead of pressuring Israel to end the slaughter in Gaza, President Biden chose escalation, and now the Houthis are targeting US commercial shipping, and several US merchant vessels have been hit with missiles.”
Indeed, the only reason Houthi forces began attacking ships in the Red Sea was to pressure Israel and its allies into ceasing the ongoing massacre that has been taking place in Gaza since October 7. As usual the world’s most murderous and powerful government is framing its horrifying acts of extreme aggression as innocent defensive responses to unprovoked attacks, when in reality the US empire is bombing Yemen in order to facilitate the genocide of Palestinians.
And while we’re on the subject of Gaza and Yemen it’s probably worth pointing out that according to US empire managers the stated goals of both campaigns have been completely unsuccessful. A new report by The Wall Street Journal says that according to US intelligence Israel is nowhere remotely close to eliminating Hamas, with only 20 to 30 percent of the group having been killed since October. Asked by the press on Thursday if the strikes against the Houthis are working, Biden replied “Well, when you say ‘working’ — are they stopping the Houthis? No. Are they going to continue? Yes.”
So they’re raining military explosives on impoverished middle easterners to maintain their status quo domination, under the pretense of goals which they themselves admit are not being achieved. Just another day in the empire, I guess.
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