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Thread: The Drone Dilemma

  1. #1
    Professor (retired) Senior Contributor Merlin's Avatar
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    02 Feb 09
    Singapore, Singapore, Singapore

    The Drone Dilemma

    This is a good analysis of how and where the US use drones in Pakistan to kill top militants.

    The Drone Dilemma
    12 Dec, Mark Hosenball [Newsweek] A clandestine CIA search-and-destroy program, which launches missile strikes from remotely piloted drone aircraft, has killed more than a dozen senior leaders of Al Qaeda during the last two years. Among the dead: Abu Khabab al-Masri, reputed to be Al Qaeda's top expert on weapons of mass destruction, and Baitullah Mehsud, leader of the Pakistani Taliban and reputed mastermind of the murder of Benazir Bhutto.

    U.S. government spokesmen won't even confirm the program's existence, but a U.S. national-security official—who, like others cited in this article, declined to be named talking about sensitive information—says the program has been so successful that some counterterrorism officials want to expand it. They say the drones have been effective not just in killing terrorists but also in keeping them on the run and disrupting their ability to plan new attacks. They have asked for authority to target terrorists in more densely populated areas of Pakistan.

    One person standing in the way of expanded missile strikes: President Obama. Five administration officials tell NEWSWEEK that the president has sided with political and diplomatic advisers who argue that widening the scope of the drone attacks would be risky and unwise.

    Obama is concerned that firing missiles into urban areas like Quetta, where intelligence reports suggest that Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar and other high-level militants have sometimes taken shelter, would greatly increase the risk of civilian casualties. It would also draw protests from Pakistani politicians and military leaders, who have been largely quiet about the drone attacks as long as they've been confined to the country's out-of-sight border region. The White House has been encouraged by Pakistan's own recent military efforts to root out militants along the Afghan border, and it does not want to jeopardize that cooperation. ....

  2. #2

    Military Professional
    Military Professional S2's Avatar
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    11 Sep 06
    Portland, Oregon


    The expansion of targets into Balochistan would, at this point, likely take a slightly different turn than heretofore in FATAville. I really think that figure-head targets such as Omar have displaced to calmer locales around Karachi.

    God knows they've had plenty of warning and it would seem prudent as Omar's greatest value at this point is a personage around which donation money can rally. Further, he's no longer warrior age.

    OTOH, meet Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the reputed #2 in the afghan taliban's operational circles-

    Meet The Taliban's New Chief-Newsweek July 25, 2009

    I provide this intro as he and his operational associates keep a regular beat in the buffer region which exists between Quetta city and the Afghan-Pakistan border. It is there, amidst the numerous small villages and mosques,that these men travel while conducting their meetings and making their plans. As such, they represent a considerable operational and tactical windfall if attacked.

    I think that they can be. It's reported in the above article, IIRC, that much is already known of this area between Kandahar and Quetta through electronic intercepts. If so, it may be possible to employ PREDATOR effectively.

    Decapitation of operational leaders is a good thing to which we should, as a general principle, always strive to achieve.

    Interestingly, here's an alternative view to Mark Hosenball's perspective provided by Stephen Brown at

    The Battle For Pakistan-Stephen Brown

    In the article, Brown points to this comment by POTUS before the assembled cadets a week ago last Tuesday-

    "...we cannot tolerate a safe haven for terrorists whose location is known and whose intentions are clear..."

    I found it a fascinating comment then and still do. Few others have openly commented upon it but I take the President's word seriously when from a prepared text. Typically, it's fair to suggest that each word has received an honest appraisal before being selected for historical posterity.

    I'll believe PREDATOR is operating in Balochistan when it's reported that it's again done the grisly but oh-so-rewarding work to which it's been designed in that locale. If so, looooong overdue and with far too much advance notice. Glad, nonetheless, that it can now watch the supply routes and also those operational leaders playing ping-pong along the Afghan-Pakistani Baloch border.
    "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
    "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

  3. #3
    Senior Contributor Mihais's Avatar
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    15 Apr 08
    Interesting fellow that Baradar.Apparently less brutal,but with more common sense.Good Hellfire material.Or maybe we should protect him,in case a split will appear amidst their ranks.
    Anyway I dread the day when he'll train and equip at least a company to a higher standard than the rest of the rabble.

    Sir,I keep observing this Al-Qaeda fixation.Understandable to a point,but so obsolete.The good part is that the TOTUS has declared the world a hunting ground.
    Those who know don't speak
    He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. Luke 22:36

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