Obama defends counterterrorism strategy in Yemen
New Delhi — President Barack Obama defended his counterterrorism strategy in tumultuous Yemen Sunday, as influential lawmakers from both parties suggested the U.S. may need to turn to special operations forces to root out terrorists from the Middle Eastern nation and elsewhere in the region.
In his first public remarks on Yemen since the country’s American-backed president and Cabinet resigned after rebels seized the capital last week, the president rejected the notion of moving away from the current drone-based campaign to a heavier footprint on the ground.
“We’ll continue to try to refine and fine-tune this model, but it is the model that we’re going to have to work with,” Obama said during a joint media appearance with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “The alternative would be massive U.S. deployments in perpetuity, which would create its own blowback and cause probably more problems than it would potentially solve.”
Republican Sen. John McCain and Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein told CBS’ “Face the Nation” that more special operations forces in particular may be necessary in Yemen and elsewhere. McCain, the new chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, accused the administration of being “delusional” in thinking that its strategy in the Middle East was working.
Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said while Americans “don’t want another war,” it is time “to look more deeply and broadly into what we’re doing and how we’re going it.”