It [Yemen] is not a place we want to go and invade. It is like Afghanistan. It is a wild place. It’s like the northwest territories of Pakistan. It’s never had a strong central government. It’s got secessionist in the south, Houthis in the north who are Arabian clients. It is so complicated it’s almost incomprehensible.
All we can do is have our weaponry in place, like the predators, gather intelligence, give intelligence, and work with the unreliable central government. It is not a place where you want to start a war.
But remember, the Saudis and Jordanians are in that area and they are on our side. I would rather have the locals involved in a war than a direct involvement of the United States.
I'm not really sure why this argument doesn't apply to Afghanistan. I mean, the fact that the 9/11 hijackers were partially trained in Afghanistan is incidental. They could have just as easily have been trained in Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, or Europe for that matter. Or in the United States, as they partially *were* trained, but we're not calling the USA an accomplice to Al Qaeda.
The lesson here seems to be that maybe nation building in really wild, lawless, difficult places isn't a great idea. So we shouldn't invade Yemen; great. But that argument applies to Afghanistan, too. Hence, I think we're wasting our time there.
The fact that the recent attempted airline bomber was trained in Yemen and Nigeria illustrates my point. Even if we take away Afghanistan, there are other safe havens. Even if we take away Yemen, there are other safe havens. Even if we take away Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan, there are OTHER safe havens. Al Qaeda is going to plot from somewhere. The solution isn't to occupy the world. The solution, rather, is to prevent those operatives from getting to US soil or getting on US-bound airplanes.
And also, we need to keep things in perspective. We had one failed terrorist attempt in years, and we're suddenly asking whether we need to invade a country on the Arabian Peninsula; one which can't be located more than a few dozen miles away from Mecca itself. That is the utter definition of NOT keeping things in perspective. If we really wanted to save American lives, we'd declare a war on McDonalds or a war on Obesity, not a war on Terror.