US Airstrikes In Yemen Increasing

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Katie Aguilera

According to Navy Captain Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, the US has conducted some 50 airstrikes in Yemen from February 28 through last week.  And last weekend, after numerous strikes in eastern Yemen targeting Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, the total now stands at 70, according to Captain Davis.

Bill Roggio wrote in his April 4, 2017 Long War Journal post that the total number of US airstrikes in Yemen since the beginning of the year is more than 75, which he notes is “already nearly double the yearly total since the drone program against al Qaeda in Yemen began in 2009.”  He adds that “the previous record number of airstrikes conducted by the US in Yemen in any one year was 41 in 2009.”

(Just a reminder, the United States is not at war with Yemen.  For more on how the US justifies such strikes outside of areas it is actively at war, read what I wrote here.)

Yemen has been in the midst of a brutal war with Saudi Arabia for nearly two years.  Adam Johnson writes in a February 27, 2017 FAIR article that the war has “left over 10,000 dead, 40,000 wounded, 2.5 million internally displaced, 2.2 million children suffering from malnutrition and over 90 percent of civilians in need of humanitarian aid.”

His article goes on to discuss the threat of famine Yemen faces as a result of the war that has received media attention lately.  Johnson rightfully points out that the major media outlets ignore the role of the US in the crisis.  He concludes his article with this:

A first step to putting political pressure on Trump to mitigate the suffering in Yemen is for the US public to speak out about their government’s role—a condition unlikely to be met if corporate media never bother to mention it.

Another question the media rarely raises is what these airstrikes ultimately accomplish.  Captain Davis stated that “we continue to target AQAP in Yemen, and this is done in the interest of disrupting a terror organization that presents a very significant threat to the United States.”

That vague explanation does not address the threat of increasing the ranks of the very terrorist organization we are attacking.  In a September 2, 2014 report for Yemen Times, Ali Abulohoom discusses the PTSD experienced by Yemeni citizens as a result of drone strikes, as well as the continuous fear of future strikes that they live with.  He also writes of another effect of airstrikes.

The article states, “it is well-known that animosity against the United States is mounting as the attacks have intensified in recent years,” and concludes with the following quote:

“As long as the United States continues to strike areas in Yemen with drones which are claiming the lives of innocents in addition to their targets, support for Al-Qaeda is going to increase.”

Al-Mohammed Al-Ahmadi

This statement has been echoed by four former drone operators who wrote an open letter to the Obama administration arguing against drone strikes.  In the letter, they state that the killing of innocent civilians by drone strikes served to fuel “the feelings of hatred that ignited terrorism and groups like ISIS, while also serving as a fundamental recruitment tool similar to Guantanamo Bay.  This administration and its predecessors have built a drone program that is one of the most devastating driving forces for terrorism and destabilization around the world.”

As many feared, the new administration shows no indication of slowing the use of targeted killing through drone strikes.  Instead, it appears the strikes will increase, leading to more innocent lives lost, and more anger and hatred towards the United States.  And the drive for revenge.

Image courtesy of pixabay

 

Fiction Frenzy

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Recently, I spent about a month turning this:

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into this:

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An 80,000 word draft that is nearing completion.  Along the way, I have immersed myself in fiction, taking a break from the usual nonfiction books I read most, in order to re-inspire the story teller in me. It has been a welcome, and effective, change.  And with today, April 1st, marking the beginning of Camp NanoWrimo, I’m planning to continue with my fiction frenzy, for a while, anyway.  My goal is to finish the novel!

I haven’t written a whole lot here about my endeavors in the world of fiction, partly because I haven’t wanted to give too many details before the story is finished.  But also because it isn’t the primary focus of this blog.  However, since I haven’t posted for a while, and fiction has been consuming most of my writing time, I thought I’d do a quick post with some of the things I’ve shared on Twitter about my novel.

There are so many writers and artists supporting and encouraging each other on Twitter with hundreds of different hashtag games and I’ve been enjoying connecting with some of them.  I recommend some of the one-line prompt hashtags for a way to discover some incredibly talented writers.  There are a lot of these, I haven’t discovered them all, but the two I sometimes participate in are #1linewed and #2bittues.  A search of either will bring up loads of great lines.

Another hashtag game I’ve really enjoyed is #authorconfession, hosted by author JM Sullivan.  This game is a series of questions about one’s work in progress (WIP) or just general questions about writers and writing.   Since I’ve enjoyed the game, I thought I’d share some of the answers I gave for the months of January and March.  So, here is a little sneak peak at my own work of fiction.

January #authorconfession

Day 1:  Who is your favorite character in your WIP?  Answer: This guy:

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Day 5:  Describe your main character in three words.  A:  Full of rage.

Day 6:  What word do you use too much?  A:  Hmm, probably some four-letter words…just, that, the f-bomb.

Day 12:  Describe your villain in three words.  A:  I have many villains.  The worst one described in three words: psychopathic, corrupt, ruthless.

Day 15:  Tell a secret about your WIP.  A:  It is about a really big secret.

Day 16:  Who is your least favorite character in your WIP?  A:  Paul Douglas.  You’ll have to read the book to find out why.

Day 21:  What do you want to accomplish with writing?  A:  I want to get people to think about the reality of never-ending war, among other things.

Day 22:  What is your favorite scene in your WIP?  A:  My favorite scene is a confrontation between MC (main character) and antagonist that takes place in a bombed Afghan farmhouse.

Day 30:  Claim your hashtag!  Explain your choice.  A:  I’ll claim #compasscode, I’ll explain later.

Day 31:  Pitch your WIP.  A:  A young US soldier finds himself targeted for his father’s secrets.

March #authorconfession

Day 1:  What is the first line of your WIP?  A:  It was a powerful sense of impending doom that awoke James North with a start.

Day 3:  Describe your WIP in three words.  A:  War, corruption, secrets.

Day 4:  What is your MC willing to die for?  A:  Revenge.

Day 5:  Do your protagonist/antagonist have anything in common?  A:  Yes, they are all guilty of something.

Day 8:  How would your antagonist describe your MC?  A:  One antagonist would describe my MC as a dangerously impulsive smart ass, but a potentially useful idiot.

Day 12:  Is your MC superstitious?  A:  Although others have described him as a walking good luck charm, my MC is not superstitious.

Day 18:  Do any of your characters ‘get lucky’?  A:  Of course my characters get lucky, but you’ll have to read it to find out which ones.

Day 25:  What is your character’s worst memory?

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Day 28:  When is your main character’s birthday?  A:  My MC’s birthday is September 12th, something he prefers to keep to himself so he doesn’t have to celebrate it.

So, there you have it, just some little hints about my story, I hope you enjoyed them.  I’ll be sharing more details as it gets closer to completion.  Which will hopefully be soon, so I can move on to other writing projects!  Like part two.