US Navy Hemorrhaging Money Trying to Stop Houthi Shipping Lane Attacks, Have Accomplished Nothing

Remember that time Joe Brandon said that you would need nuclear weapons to win a fight against the US government? It’s not a statement that was true at the time, and it has not aged well. The US government offered an unconditional surrender to the Taliban, men in flip-flops with AK-47s riding around in Toyota Hiluxes.

Now, they’re in a basically unwinnable war with another group of men in flip-flops.

You could just carpet bomb Yemen, widely, and that would not stop men in tunnels from releasing drones against you.

This is a new era.

Business Insider:

The US Navy warships deployed to the Middle East have found themselves locked in a high-tempo operating environment as they work around the clock to battle unprecedented attacks from a restless enemy.

The Houthis have proven to be a wily and formidable foe. Five months after rounds of US-led coalition airstrikes to “disrupt and degrade” their capabilities, the militants continue to wreak havoc. They’re routinely forcing the US-led task force to intercept their missiles, bomb boats, and flying drones that have turned shipping lanes in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden into a dangerous — and deadly — corridor.

The Houthis have struck multiple ships in the last week, and US officials say these attacks are unlikely to end anytime soon, raising concerns the US is stuck in a costly and unsustainable standoff.

And that is of course the goal, which is very smart.

For an insurgent group – a small group fighting a much larger power – the only term of victory is that they survive. The way they survive is by simply tiring out the larger power.

The Houthis have managed to drag Washington into a prolonged, expensive, resource-depleting conflict and driven shipping costs much higher. While no American warships have been hit, the US must bear the growing financial costs and wear and tear to its warships.

Through their campaign, the rebels have not only proven their role as a formidable asset in Iran’s proxy network, but they’ve also demonstrated that they’re more than capable of threatening commercial shipping again in the future.

US naval forces have expended a significant amount of resources battling the Houthis since the fall.

The Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group, which consists of the aircraft carrier Ike and several other warships, has fired off more than 500 munitions during its deployment, and its aircraft have flown tens of thousands of hours, Navy officials have disclosed in recent weeks.

The spent munitions alone account for nearly $1 billion, Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro revealed in mid-April, although that figure has certainly gone up in the two months since. This figure, by itself, underscores the growing financial drain of America’s naval presence in the region, and it doesn’t include the other costs that help sustain the operation.

Business Insider asked the Pentagon and US Central Command for the total cost of counter-Houthi operations but is yet to receive a response.

The US has relied on expensive missiles to destroy Houthi weapons that cost a fraction of the $2.1 million SM-2 interceptor, for instance, but experts say the Pentagon can sustain the increasing missile expenditures for what could be years. What’s more of a concern for the US, they say, is sustaining the warships from which these munitions are being launched.

Experts universally agree that the US will have infinity money forever.

The actual numbers are nonsensical. RFK Jr. has talked a lot about this. I can’t find the exact quote right now, but I think he said that in 15 years, 100% of tax income will go to servicing the national debt. I remember Ron Paul talking about this in the 00s, and then Trump increased the debt more than every other president in history combined, and Biden is doing something more extreme than Trump.

It’s interesting to mention here, because the ability of the US government to keep running up this debt is based on the ability of the US military to dominate the world. And yet, here they are, spending billions to fight guys in flip-flops, and losing.

Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines warned last month that the Houthis are likely to remain active for some time. Elements of the Eisenhower strike group have already left the Red Sea once to be rearmed and resupplied, and the Pentagon recently extended its monthslong deployment for a second time.

“As long as we continue to have the will to do this, we can sustain this,” retired Gen. Joseph Votel, who served as the CENTCOM commander in the 2010s, told Business Insider. “We’re big enough, we have enough capability and capacity to do that. What will matter will be the will of whether we want to continue to pursue this.”

A spokesperson for the White House National Security Council said the US remains committed to fighting the Houthis because the rebels remain a “very viable threat” and are still causing problems for shipping companies.

Whether they are a threat or not, if there is no path to victory, then what is the point of fighting?

Apparently, the point is that the US has to fight people who question their position as the world police. But doesn’t it look worse when they fight and lose rather than not fight at all?

There also appears to be a real sense of an impending global war. Everything suggests that there are a lot of people in Washington who view this as a solution to their problems. This doesn’t really make sense. But over the last 20 or so years, they’ve really backed themselves into a corner.  There’s not room to back down. At least, the people in Washington don’t see a path to backing down, or don’t want to. It’s possible that intelligent people could figure out a way to start to disassemble the empire, to allow the US to go back to being a regular country again, without an internal collapse.

But then you have the immigration thing, which seems destined to lead to an internal collapse, given that these brown people who the government is replacing us with don’t generally have the ability to run a complex, developed country (hence the fact that their own countries are shitholes).