The attack on the destroyer USS Carney marks a further escalation in the biggest confrontation at sea the U.S. Navy has seen in the Middle East in decades. It represents the first time the Houthis directly targeted a U.S. warship since the rebels began their attacks on shipping in October, a U.S. official said on the condition of anonymity because no authorization had been given to discuss the incident.
That contradicted a statement by the U.S. military's Central Command, which said the Houthis fired “toward” the Carney. As it has in previous strikes, the Pentagon has said it was difficult to determine what exactly the Houthis were trying to hit.
Ever since the Israel-Hamas war broke out, the U.S. has tried to temper its descriptions of the strikes targeting its bases and warships to try to prevent the conflict from becoming a wider regional war.
Acknowledging Friday's assault as a direct attack on a U.S. warship is important, said Brad Bowman, a senior director at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.
“They're now finally calling a spade a spade, and saying that, yeah, they're trying to attack our forces, they're trying to kill us,” Bowman said.
Tempering the language, while aimed at preventing a wider war, has had the opposite…