Do Drone Strikes Help Recruit Al Qaeda?
As more information comes out about drone use residents in the US worry. Might there be a drone flying so high its invisible, watching our movements? Might some agent working thousands of miles away be monitoring us for weapons or checking our activities?
It’s frightening enough to think of the loss of privacy we, as citizens, may face if drone use becomes tolerated or even common place. But what is happening in other countries? Is the government, as we are told by this administration, limiting drone use to high ranking Al Qaeda? And how are the people reacting?
“It has to be a threat that is serious and not speculative,” President Barack Obama said in a Sept. 6, 2012, interview with CNN. “It has to be a situation in which we can’t capture the individual before they move forward on some sort of operational plot against the United States.”
Are we just aiming at the specific high level targets? Or are there others? And how much collateral damage is there?
According to a McClatchy DC Bureau U.S. intelligence reports indicate the Obama administration has targeted and killed hundreds of suspected lower-level Afghan, Pakistani and unidentified “other” militants in scores of strikes in Pakistan’s rugged tribal area.
Copies of the top-secret U.S. intelligence reports reviewed by McClatchy, show that drone strikes in Pakistan over a four-year period didn’t adhere to those standards.
The intelligence reports list killings of alleged Afghan insurgents whose organization wasn’t on the U.S. list of terrorist groups at the time of the 9/11 strikes; of suspected members of a Pakistani extremist group that didn’t exist at the time of 9/11; and of unidentified individuals described as “other militants” and “foreign fighters.”
Drone program critics say the strikes have killed hundreds of civilians, fueling anti-U.S. outrage, boosting extremist recruiting, and helping to destabilize Pakistan’s U.S.-backed government. And some experts warn that the United States may be setting a new standard of international conduct that other countries will grasp to justify their own targeted killings and to evade accountability.
Is it any wonder that those who have seen first hand the casualties from a drone attack are more likely to distrust the United States Government? Are these drone attacks serving to assist recruitment to groups like Al Qaeda?
Watch as CNN’s Jake Tapper interviews former National Security Spokesman Tommy Vietor about the strategy of drone use. In light of the top secret document information, one has to wonder about the slant put on drone use by the Obama administration.
Read more about the interview at Tapper’s new show, The Lead and McClatchy DC.