Yemen Deserves Our Attention


Hannah Juley

Although there are times when it may become necessary to resort to violence in order to fight against an enemy, there should always be proper precautions taken before launching attack. In the case of the U.S. raid in Al Bayda, Yemen on Jan. 29, it is clear that there should have been more done to prepare for the raid that lead to the death of Navy SEAL Team 6 member William Owens.

Not only did this raid result in the loss of an American life, but it also warranted a military investigation to determine if whether as many as two dozen Yemeni civilians, including 10 children, were killed during the attack, according to the The New York Times. Considering the minimal amount of intelligence material that was seized from al-Qaeda’s branch, it is impossible for the Trump administration to defend this as a justification for such a loss of human life.

Whether one believes the U.S. involvement in Yemen is worth the destruction it has caused, it is evident that the U.S. has become too hasty in making their military decisions. Not only did the U.S. raid cause unjustified destruction, but the amount of airstrikes in Yemen in 2017 have reached an all-time high. In all of 2016 the U.S. conducted a total of 38 airstrikes in Yemen, according to The New York Times, but in the first two days of March alone there were a reported 30 airstrikes against Qaeda militants, equipment, and safe houses across south-central Yemen.

In the first few months of 2017, the U.S. has managed to strike Yemen almost as much as they did in the entirety of 2016. While these strikes are aimed at attacking the al-Qaeda branch within Yemen, there is no action without consequence and the Trump administration has seemed to overlook that this is a country they are attacking, not just al-Qaeda.

After the January raid, Yemeni president Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi withdrew permission for the U.S. to conduct ground missions in response to the civilian casualties caused by the assault. This exemplifies how the Yemeni government has recognized the destruction the U.S. is causing and saw the need to limit the U.S. military involvement in Yemen.

Though Yemen has not been the hot topic of U.S. news media, it is important to inform the nation when the U.S. military makes hasty decisions based on the eagerness of the Trump administration to defeat al-Qaeda. The lack of reports on U.S. involvement in Yemen may be due to how the U.S. military has mainly stuck to airstrikes, where little risk is involved for the U.S.

However, it is vital to remember the human lives at stake every time the U.S. places an attack on Yemen, and how it can impact civilian lives when the our military rushes into an attack such as the one this January. Every time human life is put at risk there should be an immense amount of research and planning done before executing an attack. The 30 attacks in Yemen within two days do not send the message that the Trump administration is taking time to formulate the best plan for defeating al-Qaeda within Yemen.

The mindset of the commander-in-chief should be more thoughtful than “we’re going to win so much people will say we can’t take it anymore,” as Trump said at a National Rifle Association convention in May 2016. When it comes to risking the lives of other human beings, more factors should be considered than just winning.