Monday, March 23, 2009


I had thought our fall surge in drone strikes within Pakistan was more about keeping the enemy off balance during a presidential transition during wartime. Apparently not:

An intense, six-month campaign of Predator strikes in Pakistan has taken such a toll on Al Qaeda that militants have begun turning violently on one another out of confusion and distrust, U.S. intelligence and counter-terrorism officials say.

The pace of the Predator attacks has accelerated dramatically since August, when the Bush administration made a previously undisclosed decision to abandon the practice of obtaining permission from the Pakistani government before launching missiles from the unmanned aircraft.

It was more out of frustration at Pakistan's inability to do the job and the leaks that made getting Pakistani permission too counter-productive.

We can't ever wipe out al Qaeda by this tactic alone, but we are unbalancing them. We should just drop blinking devices in Taliban compounds to make other Taliban think we have targeting devices in the hands of Pakistanis.

UPDATE: Strategypage has a good piece on the Predator campaign, concluding:

Pakistani officials believe that the multimillion dollar rewards on bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders may now actually work. The problem has always been that you can't capture an al Qaeda big shot without the assent of local tribal leaders. For a large chunk of that reward, that assent may now be had from some chiefs, and bin Laden knows it. He also knows that he has lost an irreplaceable number of veteran leaders, to U.S. Hellfire missiles, in the last seven months. Rumor has it that big money was paid for the information that made some of these attacks possible. It's bad enough that al Qaeda is losing senior people, it's worse that they are now seen, by local tribesmen, as a way to get rich. Al Qaeda leaders now know what it's like to be terrorized.

Make them live in fear of us, I say. Read it all, as others say.