The USS Mason was under attack on Sunday, October 9th, by Yemeni rebel fighters firing two missiles at the US destroyer. In addition, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia reported through their state-run television that a projectile was fired and landed in Taif, Saudi Arabia, which is home to the King Fahad Air Base that hosts US military troops, which train Saudi military forces. According to sources within the Saudi government, the missile, reportedly a locally produced Soviet-era Scud called a Volcano-1, was fired on Saturday resulting in no casualties or damage. This incident produced increasing strain on an already tense relationship between the US and Iran

Fast forward to Thursday, and the Yemen rebels received a response from our beloved brothers and sisters in the US Navy. According to reports, the US military launched a series of cruise missile strikes which obliterated three coastal radar sites in areas of Yemen controlled by Houthi rebels, which are allegedly funded by our friends in Iran.

According to an article by Reuters, US officials stated the USS Nitze launched a few Tomahawk cruise missiles around 4 in the morning local time. However, the Pentagon stressed that these strikes, authorized by President Obama, were limited in nature and were “self-defense strikes”. Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook, speaking to Reuters, went on to say the retaliatory strikes “were conducted to protect our personnel, our ships and our freedom of navigation”.

So, were these strikes in response to the earlier missile attacks, or was this a bit of political posturing ahead of the November 8th decision facing more than 300 million US citizens? Seems a bit suspect to this commentator.

This isn’t to say I think the retaliatory strikes were unwarranted, on the contrary, they were absolutely called for, and I support the decision by Obama and the military to do so. However, considering the color in which our relationship with Iran has been painted over the past few years, especially after the historic presidential discussions between us and the Iran Nuclear Deal signed and passed this year, this seemingly hawkish detour has more than a hint of political shenanigans. Perhaps the Houthi rebels should have packed away their missile toys until after the election, although if that results in a Trump victory, they might be a bit smarter than previously imagined.

This writer continues to be shocked at the level at which our political leaders will stoop to in order to assure victory of their respective parties, including putting our men and women that are truly serving this great nation in harm’s way. Perhaps outlawing political parties isn’t such a bad idea. As George Washington warned, “[T]he alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty.” Some food for thought, regardless of your political leanings.

Sources:  Reuters.com; AlJazeera.com; WashingtonBlog.com; Yahoo News

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