Dabod Rohde

Drones: Counterterrorism But Not Strategy

As one of the few civilian Americans who has been present in a zone where the US operated its drone campaign, David Rohde has a fairly unique perspective from which to comment on the tactic. And while in this long piece on drones, he recognizes their value, he also warns against their risks.

In 2008, I saw this firsthand. Two Afghan colleagues and I were kidnapped by the Taliban and held captive in the tribal areas of Pakistan for seven months. From the ground, drones are terrifying weapons that can be heard circling overhead for hours at a time. They are a potent, unnerving symbol of unchecked American power. At the same time, they were clearly effective, killing foreign bomb-makers and preventing Taliban fighters from gathering in large groups. The experience left me convinced that drone strikes should be carried out — but very selectively.

Ultimately, he notes that in both Pakistan and Yemen, the drones are contributing to increased instability.

For me, the bottom line is that both governments’ approaches are failing. Pakistan’s economy is dismal. Its military continues to shelter Taliban fighters it sees as proxies to thwart Indian encroachment in Afghanistan. And the percentage of Pakistanis supporting the use of the Pakistani Army to fight extremists in the tribal areas — the key to eradicating militancy — dropped from a 53 percent majority in 2009 to 37 percent last year. Pakistan is more unstable today than it was when Obama took office.

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emptywheel RT @gregorydjohnsen: 3/n the optics don't look great - a drone strike to show the US could and would still conduct strikes in Yemen
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emptywheel @rj_gallagher @CIA 1) No one 2) Some contractor they deny a fair trial 3) The person that revealed it to press
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emptywheel @mattblaze I think Jules Verne might even have envisioned it if word robot had been available. All the better bc it'd be in newspaper
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emptywheel Alright. I'll admit it. Mitt DOES look nice w/Jeb's boot print on his fanny.
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emptywheel Who produces a reality show where the most famous and loathed competitor drops out right at the beginning. Don't fuck up my Reality Show!!
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emptywheel Really, the CIA is just one long TS Eliot poem and was that way long before Angleton ran the joint.
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emptywheel In honor of CIA's new NCS head, will rename this post, "In a wilderness of mirrors. What will the spider do," https://t.co/OCyCD1bMDm
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emptywheel @sethdmichaels It's a long way to 2016.
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emptywheel @sethdmichaels Sure. But Sandoval could actually beat the Democrats.
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January 2015
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