August 14, 2009

Drones: A Crucial Tool In Barack Obama's Pakistan Strategy Have KILLED Some 500 CIVLIANS In The Past Year!

Telegraph UK
Drones: a crucial tool in Barack Obama's Pakistan strategy
written by Toby Harnden in Washington
Friday August 7, 2009 6:17PM BST

Despite the Obama administration's softer, gentler rhetoric, there has been no let up in the use of Predator and Reaper drones in the tribal regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Although the drones, which have 20-metre wingspans and V-shaped tails, are among the ultimate weapons of modern precision warfare, they are also blamed for civilian deaths. Pakistani security forces say that around 50 unmanned aircraft attacks have killed some 500 people in the past year.

Mr Obama's apparent support for drone attacks infuriates the Left. They are, however, symbolic of his dual strategy of trying to use "hard" and "soft" power in Afghanistan and Pakistan - referred to in the White House as "AfPak", to denote the strategic linkage of the two countries.

Drones, which can stay in the air for 30 hours, are also used for intelligence-gathering and surveillance - a crucial aspect of the American approach.

But as well as using drones, Mr Obama has committed some 22,000 more troops to Afghanistan, a 50 per cent increase.

There are already signals that General Stanley McChrystal, commanding US forces in the region, is going to ask Mr Obama for thousands more.

Ultimately, it will probably be American boots on the ground rather than drones "flown" from as far away as Nevada that will determine whether the Taliban is pacified or Afghanistan becames Mr Obama's Vietnam.

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