The Predator

So much for Special Operations raids across the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. The New York Times reports:

The White House has backed away from using American commandos for further ground raids into Pakistan after furious complaints from its government, relying instead on an intensifying campaign of airstrikes by the Central Intelligence Agency against militants in the Pakistani mountains.

There’s a lot to be said for not defying the expressed wishes of a sovereign government allied with the United States. But one thing this won’t do is get rid of the Al Qaeda safe havens in the tribal regions of Pakistan, as counterterrorism officials lament anonymously to the Times’ Mark Mazzetti and Eric Schmitt. It’s striking that the exact same policy prescriptions for pre-9/11 Afghanistan are on offer for post-9/11 Pakistan: Hellfire missile strikes from Predator drones and no ground forces. It also should be pointed out that missile strikes from unmanned aerial vehicles are almost guaranteed to kill more civilians than ground troops will.

Crossposted to The Streak.

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Spencer Ackerman

Spencer Ackerman