...I would think Anthony Weiner's "mistake" wasn't.
While the nation has been focused on one dick, a bunch of other dicks in the White House have been fighting a shadow war in Yemen:
A major American newspaper is reporting that the U.S. government has intensified its covert war in Yemen in recent weeks, deploying armed drones and fighter jets to attack militant suspects seeking to undermine the shaky Sana'a government.
Citing U.S. officials, The New York Times said that after nearly a year-long pause in American airstrikes, the U.S. has accelerated its campaign in an attempt to keep militants linked to al-Qaida from consolidating power. The attacks are being led by the U.S. Defense Department's Joint Special Operations Command in close coordination with the CIA.
The report said that last Friday American jets killed a mid-level al-Qaida operative, Abu Ali al-Harithi, and several other militant suspects in a strike in southern Yemen. Weeks before, drones fired missiles aimed at Anwar al-Awlaki, the radical American-born Islamic cleric that the U.S. has been trying to kill for more than a year. But he survived the attack.
Now, I'm all for a campaign that stops Al Qaeda from reconstituting itself, but here's the thing: The Yemeni people seem quite happy to let the current administration in Sana'a fall. Indeed, the regime in charge seems to be acknowledging this is a period of transition and yes, periods of transition leave vacuums that groups like Al Qaeda will seek to fill.
It also seems as if we are doing this at the behest of another party whose interest is less than humanitarian: the Saudis.
This adds an aspect to this covert war that is distasteful and unseemly. We're not doing this to foster stability so much as doing it to prevent the same thing from happening in Saudi Arabia, the fall of the House of Saud. It's a little like Disneyland asking the National Guard to stop a strike at Knots Berry Farms amusement park, and the National Guard sending in undercover troops.
We have no business hewing to the desires of the Saudi royal family, except...
If we don't, then the threat they can lodge is to take their business to China. One suspects our failure in Iraq was a futile, poorly planned and badly executed attempt to prevent just that or at least to give the Sauds reason to pause in that effort.
Perhaps that's an exaggeration, although if it is, it's one that has an awful lot of circumstance supporting it. Perhaps our mission there truly is to support a transition to a populist coalition government that will be more responsive to the people of Yemen, with the added bonus of giving us a foothold in a nation that is mission critical to our fight against terror attacks. It's true that both north and south Yemen have suffered through prolonged civil violence in the past five years (north Yemen has seen a civil war for nearly ten).
And it's also true that Yemen has a strategic significance in the port of Aden, and the gateway to Asia from the Red Sea and Suez Canal, all the more reason China would be interested in "helping out" the Saudis. Keep in mind, however, that Somalia is right across from Aden and Yemen, and the canal itself is controlled by Egypt, which lends a new facet of danger to the proceedings.
We're in the middle of something extremely tricky here, but hey, pay no attention to that! Please keep bashing Anthony Weiner!