02 June 2012

Drone War in AfPak Hurting the US?

UK's Telegraph has an interesting editorial about how the drone war in Afghanistan is destroying the West's reputation.
There's an extended article, but it wraps thus...

Meanwhile, America refuses to apologise for killing 24 Pakistani servicemen in a botched ISAF operation. This is election year and Mr Obama, having apologised already over Koran-burning, may be nervous about a second apology, and has therefore confined himself to an expression of “regret”.
I am told by a number of credible sources that this refusal to behave decently – allied to dismay at the use of drones as the weapon of default in tribal areas – is the reason for the unusual decision of the US ambassador in Islamabad, Cameron Munter, to step down after less than two years in his post. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – increasingly irrelevant and marginalised in an administration dominated by the partnership between Leon Panetta, the Secretary of Defence, and Petraeus – has protested but been ignored.
We need a serious public debate on drones. They are still in their infancy, but have already changed the nature of warfare. The new technology points the way, within just a few decades, to a battlefield where soldiers never die or even risk their lives, and only alleged enemies of the state, their family members, and civilians die in combat – a world straight out of the mouse’s tale in Alice in Wonderland: “ 'I’ll be judge, I’ll be jury’, said cunning old Fury. 'I’ll try the whole cause and condemn you to death.’ ” Justice as dealt out by drones cannot be reconciled with the rule of law which we say we wish to defend.
Supporters of drones – and they make up practically the entire respectable political establishment in Britain and the US – argue that they are indispensable in the fight against al-Qaeda. But plenty of very experienced voices have expressed profound qualms. The former army officer David Kilcullen, one of the architects of the 2007 Iraqi surge, has warned that drone attacks create more extremists than they eliminate. Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, Britain’s former special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, is equally adamant that drone attacks are horribly counter-productive because of the hatred they have started to generate: according to a recent poll, more than two thirds of Pakistanis regard the United States as an enemy. Britain used to be popular and respected in this part of the world for our wisdom and decency. Now, thanks to our refusal to challenge American military doctrine, we are hated, too.

By: Brant

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