Say it ain’t so

US doubt intelligence that led to Yemen strike. That’s the name of an article in the Wall Street Journal that describes what sounds like a Yemeni official fingering a political rival as Al Queda so the US could kill him. I’ve been beating this drum for a long time. The Yemeni government has long used the bogeyman of Queda to eliminate rivals. It was commonly understood over there that when the Yemeni government claimed to have killed Queda operatives, it was probably killing political rivals. When there was tribal violence, it was usually ascribed to Queda.

All forms of intelligence in Yemen are untrustworthy. There are too many local power struggles and not enough transparency to accurately understand what motivates most of the violence over there. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that US military force is used as a convenient way of solving local disagreements. If we give them the power to direct force, it will be used in ways that best suit them.

I’m still not convinced that Queda in Yemen poses any threat to the US. They were the picture of incompetence in Yemen, and their attempts outside of the US have been laughable. Even if they are a threat, Yemeni sources are about the least trustworthy you can find. I don’t think it’s too much to ask that we get clear intelligence before we kill someone. Is that really too weird a suggestion?

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