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December 4, 2009
Obama green lights expansion of Pakistan drone program

Today’s New York Times is reporting that President Obama has authorized the increased use of drone missile attacks inside Pakistan. According to the article, the expansion of the CIA program may include striking areas previously off-limits.

The move is said to be necessary as militant leaders seek new places to hide. In the past, Pakistani leaders have objected to the strikes, saying they have caused too many civilian deaths.

For more on the drone attacks, Daljit Dhaliwal speaks with Ahmad Kamal, Pakistan’s former Ambassador to the United Nations.

Is the use of American drones against militant targets in Pakistan helping or hurting the effort to fight insurgents?

Tell us what you think in the comments section below. Please remember to be respectful and on-point in your comments. Malicious or offensive comments will be deleted and repeat offenders will be banned.

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46 comments

#46

[…] still fully operative, more innocent Muslims than ever have been killed by Obama’s orders to increase drone attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and the Israeli blockade is now even stricter on Gaza and its […]

#45

[…] Obama green-lights expansion of Pakistan drone program […]

#44

Elish (#29), I couldn’t say it better myself. Your statement is probably better advice than what President Obama gets from all of his “advisors” put together. Right on the mark.

#43

About #43: you are probably right about feeling many Muslims have or are persueded to have toward Islaeli/Palestinian issues. So solution is to satusfy such a feeling and just let Israel dissapear from the map of the world? And then everything will be OK?

#42

Ummmmm, America has no human intelligence in Pakistan…I listened to the speaker and am not sure why he would say that and to which crowd it would appeal because me thinx humbly that educated people wouldn’t believe that…When WWII was coming there were spies all over Switzerland watching carefully the “Hitler” movement… Pakistan American Intelligence in the form of flesh– I’d put my money on yes, and many.

As for a nations Sovereignty being buzzed by drones… this is an issue for the UN to discuss because whenever a nations Sovereignty is “crossed”.. it’s a UN issue if one agrees and the other disagrees.

As for the wisdom of some writers noting that the movement of Tali-bads and the Al-Q’s– I’ve noticed that that movement has done something many don’t–the both have gone beyond what I coin as clan-ism…however, when one put’s it against the back-drop of how that region feels about Israel it could be that a kind of “clan” has formed though differences in interpretation of Islam…I always hate to use the “extreme religion” argument in that me thinx the larger chunk of stuff like this boils down to “mutualism” or a cultural “monolith” or “clan-ism”… the whole issue of Israel and America’s position on it has perhaps created many pockets of clans with a kinda star-trek “Borg” similarity–thus, one clan in what they all would like to see happen in Palestine/Israel.

I’m not anti-any race– these are just thoughts and I may be right or wrong.

#41

Mr. Kamal said very important thing, one that possibly is not clear to many westerners: if Talibs are not just group of radical clerics but a movement supported by the people, the war against them cannot be won.

#40

Darling Sideboom,
I’m Jewish and very pleased to know from your comment that Jews are so mighty and powerful to rule the whole Earth, possibly even Moon and Mars, not even talking about Venus :)

#39

37:

what are jews doing to silence their criminals? or christians for that matter. and further islam has denounced terrorism.

#38

Out of 34 comments, 11 got it right. Use drones carefullly. It is part of the psycological warfare mostly missing in this war. However, al Qqeda and Taliban are just products of the real enemy, namely extreme religion. Moderate muslims, and especially those who fled to US and Europe, should aggressive campaign against extreme Islam, and not sit back and be uninvolved.

#37

Learn a lesson from land mines . . . don’t assume a targeted enemy will be killed. God will not allow the innocent to be condemned when brought to trial nor will He acquit the guilty. We were created to clothe God’s Spirit and act like God. He doesn’t condemn the innocent. Land mines and drones have condemned the innocent because they kill without a fair trial. Don’t kill unarmed civilians at all costs. Being just is worth the expense because everything belongs to God anyway. He will have the final word. Love never fails, and love fulfills the requirements of the law. Let love make your decisions and stay right with God.

#36

what about white phosphorus? everyone makes a such a big deal about drones, which is good they strike completely silently with their small motors and they’re also hard to see since they’re so small and can fly so high up and then they strike from over a mile away–so what terror is that?

the US is terrorizing people so they can’t even sleep in their own homes at night without worrying about being bombed, and suicide bombers are terrorizing people so they can’t even go out on the streets without being killed, except the US has killed way more and are the ones who started it, so we are worse than our enemy.

#35

These glorified model airplanes are appropriately named, drones. They are dumb and ineffective. Even if they killed an Al Qaeda leader, someone will just step in and take his place. With a population of 28 million in Afghanistan, and 180 million in Pakistan, Al Qaeda will have little trouble in finding replacements.

#34

The drone attacks are similar in nature to Israel’s policy of targeted assasinations. They kill a few and provoke the many. Bad idea. Joe

#33

NO MORE WARS set 4 NEGOTIATIONS

More Troops, more war machines not gone led us to peace, Negotiate to each other base on respect each other dignity and principle led us as civil civilizations to peace and live in peace. Other wise these wars will continues centuries

Peace is the key .

#32

In war, you use the full extent of your arsenal.The drones have proven effective in wiping out terrorist leadership. I fully support the expanded use of this weapon since it does not expose our military to be in harm’s way.

#31

It’s disgusting that our country continues in these senseless wars! Why? So that some people like Dick Cheney can get rich off the war machine…. It’s time to stop the wars and bring out prople home!

#30

The drone program in south Asia will be as effective as the phoenix program was in south east Asia in winning the hearts and minds of the people.

#29

The killing of innocent people through drone attacks is and always will be wrong and harmful in every way. It creates more and more US enemies as people are naturally outraged when they lose their loved ones.. Their are plenty of criminals in the US- imagine trying to get them in such a way. This is an effective way to boost Al Quada ranks, not defeat them.

#28

By all means the US should use the drones. Once again the media is second guessing everything. Then if we don’t use them and the leaders of Al Qaeda don’t get caught – the US will be labeled as ineffective – we the US can’t win for losing. As I’ve said in prior (how you see it) writings – we need to go in this to win – what ever works should be open for use including using chemical weapons on the caves in the mountains. Hopefully we the US won’t go into this thing at 40% – if we the US does that – we’ll lose before we get going. We the US owe our fallen military personnel and those wounded in combat the benefit of waging a war without pre-conditions set by ourselves, the Afghans or Pakistan – war is war and this is war – thats why were (the US) is there to eliminate the threat of terrorism. Europe and Russia need to step up to the plate with “combat” troops and a hell of a lot more than any 7000. 7000 troops from 20+ countries is not much of an effort in this writers opinion. Jim @ USA

#27

First, we cannot criticize enough when the innocent lives are lost resulting from these attacks. But lets be rational here; Does anybody think that before approving these attacks president Obama or other think tanks of the army and administration wouldn’t think of the pros and cons of these attacks? I just want to ask all of those who are against it; what can US govt do when they are dealing with a country which is master of playing the double game or complicated beyond control and i.e. Pakistan.They dont kill these terrorists themselves or pretend to be incapable of it, so what options do we have? I just want to ask all the moderate muslims; they always come up and object to decisions like these, but how can they tolerate tons of terrorists living amongst them? Its obvious that not all Muslims are not terrorists but why all the terrorists have been Muslims? I havent seen mass rallies of thousands of people on the streets in muslim countries when 9/11, London bombing, Madrid bombing, Mumbai massacre took place? The day i will see rallies like those in these countries,there will be no need for any drone attacks. We as Americans would let the wisdom of our elected leaders lead us while we the people strongly object the killing of innocents anywhere in the world.

#26

Think about drones, controlled from someplace in Pakistan, flying over your town and releasing bombs, oh so antiseptically, whenever they think they’ve spotted signs of an enemy; an enemy who might be a member of your religious congregation or perhaps a relative whose politics is much different from yours, but who’s still kin. How friendly would you feel towards Pakistan? I think Ahmad Kamal has it right when he says the drone policy won’t work. Besides, it’s wrong.

#25

Yet another Vietnam parallel: our child-like faith in high-tech weaponry. The use of drones may not win many hearts and minds, but the manufacture of these expensive little guys will help keep the defense industry humming along. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about?

#24

Wow! The Obama administration has now taken the Bush war based “terrorist nutrilization” to the nth degree with the use of the drone attack, where ever. This type of nonsensical approach to an already nonsensical troop increase in Afganistan will only help solidify the Taliban stranglehold over the Pakistani and Afgan populations to firm resolve against any type of futile “war winning effort” by the US. It’s too bad that Obama has abandoned his opportunity for rational dealings with conflict resolution when it comes to Afganistan. This whole thing is a rehash of Vietnam, only this time it is dumber. We all know that Bush didn’t know what he was doing there, but now Obama too. Shame on you President Obama.

#23

My perspective is that drones should not be used in Pakistan unless the people collectively express a desire to have drones utilized. The view of the Pakistani military should Not be considered as it is essentially a U.S. proxy. The use of Drones in Pakistan, Afghanistan and elsewhere only sets the stage for their use against the American people. It’s coming if it’s not already here. Obama looks like more of a problem than a solution on this one.

#22

If the drones hit true militants, then it might help. If they hit innocent people, then it will hurt. I remember once during the Bush administration seeing a report on television that an American drone had killed 18 civilians including women and children by wiping out an entire village in Pakistan, then it turned out that the two militants our military was trying to kill apparently weren’t even there at the time.

#21

The U.S. should test the drones in Pakistan and then gift the new and improved versions to Israel for use against Iran. That is the only way to ensure security for Israel without which the U.S. remains insecure. There should be no guilt for collateral damage; just send the operators back to simulation school for better luck next time.

#20

How stupid to ask the general public how they feel. Why don’t you ask the pakistani people who live in the area or the troops both American, NATO and Pakistani how they feel. The general public are by far and large removed from this conflict and so their view governed by the media and personal views. Ask those on the ground.

#19

I suggest that in many, perhaps most strikes, it is the Pakistani military calling in the US drone attacks. In war civilians die; get used to it. A smarter, lighter US military footprint is needed, not more culturally obtuse US children in military uniforms leaving brass all over the countryside. Chasing the Taliban is not our objective, rather it is al Q; the mission is muddled by fools at the highest levels.

#18

Fellow Americans, please note, we are not at war with Pakistan. How would you feel if, say, Canada were to send drones into the US to kill gangs or drug lords who are smuggling illegal drugs to Canadians? Or for any other purpose? But the drones went astray and killed your mother and sisters? It’s similar enough you should be able to get that sending our drones to a country we are not at war with is hideous.

#17

I think Ahmad Kamal made it very clear that the drones are not helping our relationship with the Pakistani people. I fail to see what right we have to subject another sovereign country to this,
when we’re not at war with it.

#16

I am heartily in favor of drone attacks. They have made a significant impact to hinder and destroy these bastards. On the surface the Pakistan government denies helping us with the intelligence but surreptitously they are.

#15

Sideboom & Zaber’s comments are onesided. They complain about the evil of innocents being killed on accident by drones, but ignore the intentional murder of innocents all over the world by Islamic extreemists. They imply a billion Muslims will retaliate. I presume by killing even more innocents… just like they are doing now. So they argue for more of the same….such geniuses…no wonder this world is in so much trouble.

#14

Killing people by remote control from the other side of the world is cowardly murder. Period!

#13

Drone ’em?
Let me say something right at the start.

The United States government has been a STATE SPONSOR of TERROR for the past 50 years. The US govt has invaded, occupied, droned, deposed, displaced, interrogated, waterboarded, nuked, napalmed, while killing and maiming hundreds of thousands of civilians in sovereign nation-states across the globe, from Latin America to South Asia. The US as a state sponsor of terror inflicted “shock and awe” on innocent Iraqis. The US as a state sponsor of terror toppled a democratically elected government in Iran and ushered the Ayatollah backlash.
I voted for Obama only because he posed as less of a threat and an embarrassment than McCain-Palin.

However, Obama has blatantly overturned his election promises and turned into a War President. He is merely the latest in a series of War presidents occupying (pun intended) the White House.

Obama’s policy strategy to increase use of drones inside Pakistan and Afghanistan is sure to backfire and blow up right in his face, because drones kill innocent civilians and increase sympathy for Taliban-al Queda recruitment efforts.
The US military-corporate complex will never defeat the Taliban. The US military will go home with their tail between their legs just as they did in Vietnam. The Afghans have outmaneuvered every force sent against them and the US will not be an exception.
Droning innocent civilians while killing alleged “terrorists” is one more failed strategy of the #1 state sponsor of terror — the US.
Dr. Chithra Karunakaran
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice
http://EthicalDemocracy.blogspot.com

#12

People say innocents are being hurt by drones, but when the innocents are living in quarters with insurgents, one wonders how innocent they are. Yes, they may be women and children, so if possible, we need to create safe havens for these abused women and children so they don’t have to be in the line of fire. We will use drones and the insurgents are foolish if they think we won’t. By trying to “not leave a footprint,” we will soon be wondering why we granted respect to a culture that has nothing positive to offer. The men barely support their families by criminality (heroine trade), the religion leads to death, abuse and repression rather than any sort of communion with God. And the treatment of women, don’t even get me started….The only positive about this culture is that the arts flourish; given the horrors that daily confront these poor people, what else have they to do? This fight goes back to the dark ages. Zahiri is right, we need to have our own jihad against the alqaeda’s jihad of hate, ignorance, and death. Let’s be strong about it before it’s too late.

#11

What a preposterous question to ask, what has this world come to? Sovereignty of a nation is no longer the issue, we have moved to the next phase of achieving the domination of the world only bullying superpower. The goal is to destabilize or show the rest of the world that Pakistan is a failed state which cannot handle its own affairs therefore first step was to put in charge a money hungry thug as a person in charge of that country and now the thug has sold his country to the big brother; PAYMENT = lives of innocent people. What a shame! This is not about democracy; this is not about freedom these are the deceptive ways of thugs and bullies trying to sell acts to the innocent and trusting people of this world.

#10

Terrorists kill indescriminately, that’s their way to force their agenda on everyone else. Drone strikes keep them wondering when the big bang will come for them. They know it can happen anywhere, anytime, day or night. This is their Karma.

#9

Collateral damage from drones in the form of civilian casualties is counter productive. I agree with Ahmad Kamal that killing Taliban & Al Qaeda leadership is not enough to stop a movement,and is therefore not worth a single civilian life.

#8

Drone attacks are not precise. Civilian casualties will inflame the Pakistani people and will, I believe, be counter productive to their supposed objectives of killing Taliban/Al Qaeda leaders

#7

the citizen advocate in chicago seeking recognition in local community affairs,has become commander in chife,but not qualified,in terms of world compatability, its not negro herritage that clouds this assention to world power,, but the drastic comprehension in public voting that allowed the obsered to happen,race is always used in every way to effect a result desired,qualification is lost in the spin , respect for office for the first time doesnt exist,

#6

the insurgence operatives have out manouvered intruding occupiers, and so are apprehensive in ordering an increase in numbers of drones used to kill people along with targets specified by cia payoff intellagence, main point being INNOCENT VILLAGE PEOPLE ARE BEING SACRIFICED, babies & women, old people all are considered collateral expense, this dasterly action only succeeds in attracting more adversairys,as well as haveing world oppinion on the side of right, american dominence displayed with overwhelming force and tech. savy only leads the one and a half Billion muslims to retaliate,in any way possible, personal suicide can be afforded especially when ALLAH is guiding !

#5

The drones in my opinion create a psychological
as well as a military effect on the enemy and
if Pakistan does not successfuly coordinate efforts with us the war will be lost.

#4

Every war have rules, unfortunately Nito & American disrespects these rules by using assassinations machine against women, children and elderly

#3

I think the drones are helping. They minimize human loss to our military, and deliver a pretty big punch. remote control ATV’s with a roller on front might be helpful as well with the mines.

#2

I think it is necessary to actually defeat Al Qaeda. We need to be careful not to kill civilians. This undermines our partnership with Pakistan.

#1

Yes, drones are used to target very important leaders of Al Qaeda and Taliban, And whole world knows that all Important Al Qaeda leaders inculding Osama Bin Laden and Mullah Omar are in Pakistan.

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