Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

May 21, 2009


Greg Grant, DOD Buzz - The foreign policy community's favorite counterinsurgency adviser, or at least their favorite Australian one, David Kilcullen, told lawmakers that the drone strikes targeting Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters in Pakistan are creating enemies at a far faster rate than its killing them. According to statistics he provided, the success rate of the drone bombing campaign is extremely low: just 2 percent of bombs dropped have hit targeted militants. The other 98 percent? Those killed noncombatant Pakistani civilians, he said.

Since the drone strikes began in earnest in 2006, the U.S. has killed 14 mid-level Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders. In the same time frame, the strikes have killed 700 Pakistani civilians, Kilcullen said May 7, speaking before the House Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Terrorism and Unconventional Threats. The strikes themselves are not particularly unpopular in the tribal areas, the FATA, that border Afghanistan, as many of the people there are weary of the militants operating in their midst. Where the strikes are extremely unpopular, he said, is in the more populated areas of Punjab and Sind, areas where there has been a big jump in militancy since the bombing campaign began. . .

The issue of civilian casualties caused by U.S. bombing is not simply a humanitarian matter, but is a major factor influencing the political and ideological battles being waged in both Pakistan and Afghanistan, says CSIS's Anthony Cordesman in an email. "Civilian casualty estimates have effectively become an extension of war by other means," he says. "Tactics that physically defeat elements of the enemy and lose the population lose the war."


Anonymous war is a racket said...

Ah, but the drones are extremely profitable for the turds who make them.

May 21, 2009 7:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Civilians, terrorists . . . depends on who's counting, don't it? But there's an easy way for Al Qaeda and tribal leaders in NW Pakistan to make the bombs stop. Think they're smart enough to think of it?

May 22, 2009 12:14 AM  
Anonymous Palestine forever said...

Re:" depends on who's counting, don't it?" The Afghans defeated the Russians who defeated the Wermacht at Stalingrad and repaid them in spades all the way back to Berlin, and you think that pissing off the Afghans by torturing and killing their families will make them submit. Your logic is about as good as your grammar.

May 22, 2009 12:33 PM  

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