Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has claimed responsibility for the attempted Christmas Day bombing of Flight 253, corroborating Nigerian would-be terrorist Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's statement that the group had trained him and supplied him with his explosive underwear. Discussing the Flight 253 incident, Sen. Joseph Lieberman told Fox News that the U.S. had already stepped up its military presence in Yemen before the attack, adding that a U.S. official told him that "if we don't act preemptively, Yemen will be tomorrow's war." Would attacking Yemen make America safer? (Watch a CBS report about Yemen's al Qaeda presence)
We have to do something: Yemen has replaced Afghanistan as "the international jihadi's destination of choice from which to prepare, plot, and launch future terror attacks," says Simon Tisdall in The Guardian. And Yemen's weak government can't do much to stop them. Adulmutallab's emergence from the "Yemeni terrorist melting pot" confirms Western spies' "worst nightmares," and shows just how much of a threat we face from AQAP.
"Yemen: The international jihadi's destination of choice"
Bin Laden would love us to invade Yemen: As Lieberman and other neocons go about "agitating" for a military expansion in Yemen, says Steve Clemons in The Washington Note, Osama bin Laden sits somewhere "pushing the buttons" and urging them on. Such "emotional, knee jerk crusades" just play into bin Laden's master plan to destabilize the Mideast and "undermine what is left of a global equilibrium and the perception of American power."
"Yemen: Expanding scope of U.S. military engagement exactly what Bin Laden wants"
We're already at war in Yemen: Proponents of stepping up the fight against AQAP "are not advocating that we invade Yemen," says Max Boot in Commentary. If fact, it seems they're pushing for us to do "pretty much what we’re already doing" — helping the Yemeni government fight jihadists and "conducting a few covert strikes of our own."
"Yemen — the new 'good' war?"
The devil's in the details: Let's agree that a "Lieberman-style bombs away" campaign in Yemen would be "dumb," says Matthew Yglesias in Think Progress. But the real threat is "neither that we’re just going to ignore the al-Qaeda movement there nor that we’re going to invade." It's that we'll bomb Yemen without doing the political groundwork to undermine al Qaeda and make our airstrikes "the lesser of two evils."
"Onward to Yemen!"
SEE THE WEEK'S LATEST COVERAGE OF FLIGHT 253:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The U.S. Marines are developing laser weapons. Here's why.
- 10 things you need to know today: October 21, 2014
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- The one thing the New Atheists get right about religion
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Gamergate has backfired spectacularly on its nincompoop perpetrators
- Why the Supreme Court is allowing Texas to hold an unconstitutional election
- Paul Krugman, Amazon, and the left's backwards view of book-industry titans
- How 1,000-year lifespans could remake the economy
Subscribe to the Week