Hey boys and girls, let’s play “Name That Country.” I’ll give you a few clues, then the first one of you to guess the country’s name wins a prize. Ready? Let’s go!

This particular country is one that few Americans have known anything about, until recently, when Washington began to escalate our military involvement there. It’s an extremely impoverished nation that’s at war with itself. The country has long been a refuge for jihadists, especially in its rugged mountainous region. Fractious tribal leaders are the real power, with the weak central government essentially restricted to the capital city, having little public support, and battling armed insurgents. The president is vain and incompetent, and his government is corrupt and repressive—yet our government is backing him. So now, name that country. Afghanistan, you say? Wrong! It’s Yemen.

Yemen? Yes, boys and girls, it’s time to look at our world atlas again, to see where America’s tax dollars and troops are headed next.

Located in the Middle East on Saudi Arabia’s southern border, Yemen is a mess, much like Afghanistan. Adding to its problems is a small but rising al-Qaeda group of about 200 members, which is why Washington is once more thumping the war drums, saying our forces must get involved there. Already, our leaders have anted up $70 million for the coming Yemen war, claiming that the strategy there is the same as it is in Afghanistan: train and arm Yemen’s own weak security forces, build up the central government, try to get it to focus on fighting al-Qaeda, and provide nation-building resources to address the country’s desperate economic and social problems.

So, boys and girls, if you guessed Yemen, your prize is another awful war! What nation will be next? Somalia? Indonesia? It’s your guess in this global game that never ends.

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Jim Hightower

Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and the 2009 winner of the Nation/Puffin Prize. He's also editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown.

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