Friday, January 18, 2013

Kill Our Way Out?

It's Friday and that means the latest installment of sourmouthed sourmouthing about Great Satan"s Dones Gone Wild

Essentially - 44's plan is to kill our way out of wild whack spots where Writ of State is as rare as a bookstore
Examination of the data on drone strikes in Pakistan raises questions about whether the Great Satan is actually waging a decapitation campaign. According to data collected by the New America Foundation, of the total number of people killed by drone strikes there (between 1,900 and 3,200), less than 3 percent of them (51) were "militant leaders." Furthermore, only 30 of these leaders were members of al Qaeda. 
The truth is that the drone campaign is not a decapitation or targeted killing campaign; it is an attrition campaign. Attrition strategies are not aimed at leaders but simply try to kill as many enemy foot soldiers as possible. In Vietnam, for example, Gen. William Westmoreland hoped to reach the "crossover point" at which American forces would kill Viet Cong faster than they could be replaced, forcing North Vietnamese leaders to end their effort to conquer South Vietnam. Of course, despite killing hundreds of thousands of Viet Cong and North Vietnamese soldiers, U.S. forces never reached the crossover point, partly because leaders greatly underestimated Hanoi's resolve, but also because tactics, which killed large numbers of South Vietnamese civilians, aided the North's cause.

The drone campaign in Pakistan is similarly an attrition strategy aimed ostensibly at members of al Qaeda. Although  drones occasionally eliminate terrorist commanders, the bulk of those killed are rank-and-file militants or civilians. The goal, in other words, appears to simply be to kill as many militants as possible. As the head of the CIA's counterterrorism center put it in March 2011, directly echoing Westmoreland's crossover point rhetoric, "We are killing these sons of bitches faster than they can grow them now." The extensive use of "signature strikes," where the threshold for being targeted is merely involvement in suspicious activity rather than individual identity, underscores the point that this is not a decapitation strategy.

Unfortunately, an attrition approach is unlikely to yield the desired results. First, Great Satan is aiming at the wrong target. Increasingly, drone strikes in Pakistan do not target al Qaeda members. According to Peter Bergen and Megan Braun at NAF, "under Bush, al Qaeda members accounted for 25% of all drone targets compared to 40% for Taliban targets. Under Obama, only 8% of targets were al Qaeda compared to just over 50% for Taliban targets." Al Qaeda and the Taliban overlap in Pakistan but do not share the same objectives. The goal of the Pakistani Taliban is, first and foremost, to take over Pakistan and establish a state governed by Islamic law. Fighting Great Satan comes in at a distant second, which raises questions about a strategy that predominantly targets this group.

Second, killing civilians can inadvertently aid the terrorist cause. Somewhere between 10 percent and 26 percent of all drone deaths in Pakistan are noncombatants. In historical terms these figures are relatively low for air campaigns, but every civilian death has the potential to generate terrorist recruits. In Yemen, for example, a soldier left his unit after a U.S. drone strike killed his nephew, telling a reporter, "I would fight even the devil to exact revenge for my nephew."

Third, rather than collapsing, the adversary is adapting. Recent reports indicate that al Qaeda has formed a punishment brigade known as the Khorasan that executes collaborators who provide intelligence for drone strikes, terrifying locals into keeping their mouths shut. 

Fourth, drone strikes have inflamed Pakistani public opinion toward the United States. Some 74 percent of Pakistanis now view the United States as an "enemy," compared with 60 percent in 2008, before the increase in drone strikes. The Pakistani population almost universally loathes the drone campaign, expanding the pool of potential militant sympathizers or recruits. 

Drone strikes are mostly killing low-level Pakistani militants, not al Qaeda leaders. This strategy is unlikely to cause the collapse of al Qaeda or even the Pakistani Taliban and may have counterproductive effects. Even if drones targeted leaders exclusively, it is unclear whether this strategy would destroy these groups. 

A new term may therefore require new thinking on drones.

Yes and yes - for enemies and their enablers LOL - not Great Satan

V2 Rocketry accomplished quite abit back in the last millennium - demoralizing Brits. They were silent - never knew when one might impolitely detonate - kinda like Drones Gone Wild. Hanging out with terrorists is a dangerous bit luv, and terrorists amidst civilian human shielding is a war crime itself.

And exactly whose fault is it that certain parts of Land of the Pure are off limits to cops and the widely vaunted (and LOL"d) PAK Army?

Drone Haters should do some new think about that 

Pic - "Oh! The humanity!!"


dave said...

God forbid Little Satan would put up those kinds of numbers the free world would shit themselves