Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Drones Rock!

Drones are no respecters of persons.

Even American enablers of al Qaeda and assorted buddying forces are liable to get all vaporized sans trial, appeal or even a judicious member of the judiciary giving the thumbs up.

Zooming out of alla hanky panky, and refocusing back in the spot where drones gone wild got their cherries popped - the drone option in Pakistan's Land of the Pure is frikking hot!!
A recent Stanford/NYU study concluded that drones cause excessive civilian casualties and frequently fail to hit leadership targets, and that the presence of drones spreads fear and anxiety among the civilian population, disrupts civilians' daily lives, limits public gatherings and disrupts access to education. Other critics cite the Taliban's detention and execution of suspected "spies" who assist drone targeting. 

Like many such studies, the NYU/Stanford one did not attempt to interview a single member of the U.S. military. Had it done so, it might have learned that (at least in Afghanistan) there have been instances of Taliban or Al Qaeda forces killing civilians and placing their bodies at the site of drone attacks to increase civilian casualty counts. 

The report's discussion of civilian casualties adopts the highest estimate offered by any of the three sources that compile such information — the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. And it consistently describes civilian casualties in the aggregate since the beginning of the drone program rather than examining recent trends. Even the bureau estimates that only seven civilians have been killed in about 60 strikes conducted over the last 13 months. These same strikes are estimated to have killed 250 to 400 militants.

Any alternative use of force against Taliban or Al Qaeda forces would be likely to cause many more civilian casualties.

Even according to the least favorable numbers presented by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, drones have effectively disrupted the leadership structure of the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Pakistan by killing scores of senior leaders and operational commanders. And the drones' constant presence continues to deny the Taliban a safe haven in which it can train and organize its forces for operations in Afghanistan. Most important, drones have done this while consistently improving their accuracy and reducing civilian casualties.

After examining the alternatives, it is clear that drones remain the best option available to minimize the negative effects of the conflict on civilians while continuing to disrupt the Taliban and deny it control of territory in the tribal areas.

Pic - "The War on Terror and the Laws of War: A Military Perspective."