United States conducts airstrikes in Somalia

The Washington Post reported late last night that the United States had launched airstrikes targeting militants in Mogadishu, Somalia:

A U.S. drone aircraft fired on two leaders of a militant Somali organization tied to al-Qaeda, apparently wounding them, a senior U.S. military official familiar with the operation said Wednesday.

The strike last week against senior members of al-Shabab comes amid growing concern within the U.S. government that some leaders of the Islamist group are collaborating more closely with al-Qaeda to strike targets beyond Somalia, the military official said.

The airstrike makes Somalia at least the sixth country where the United States is using drone aircraft to conduct lethal attacks, joining Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Iraq and Yemen. And it comes as the CIA is expected to begin flying armed drones over Yemen in its hunt for al-Qaeda operatives.

Al-Shabab has battled Somalia’s tenuous government for several years. In recent months, U.S. officials have picked up intelligence that senior members of the group have expanded their ambitions beyond attacks in Somalia.

I’m not sure about you, but I’m leary of us just arbitrarily conducting air raids in another country like this, especially now that we are - as the Washington Post notes - actively bombing in six countries. It’s unsettling since the position taken by the Obama Administration, much like his predecessor, is that we have a right to drop bombs in any country where we suspect militants are. Perhaps even more concerning is that the defense budget recently passed by the House of Representatives provides authorization for perpetual war.

[UPDATE] A friend on Facebook asks, “So when do we strike a country that strikes back?” That’s a good point. We’ve been bombing Libya for months because, as President Obama said yesterday, Moammar Ghadafi was killing his own citizens. Well, so is Bashar Assad in Syria, but the administration hasn’t rushed to defend those innocent lives. I’m not saying we should, but I’m saying that there is a lot of hypocrisy there, or at least that’s the perception.

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