Thursday, July 10, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

It's hard to win the hearts and minds of people when you're killing them

It's hard to win the hearts and minds of people when you're killing them

A former Obama admninistration official gets right down to it on drone warfare overseas. It's not just that it's extralegal, unconstitutional, et cetera. It's that dropping so many weapons on the local people -- even so-called precision ones -- is dumb and counter-productive:

CHICAGO — A former top adviser to President Obama on Thursday expressed concern about “blowback” from the United States’ aggressive campaign of drone strikes, warning that the attacks could be undermining long-term efforts to battle extremism.

The former adviser, Gen. James E. Cartwright, is the latest and perhaps the most influential former member of Mr. Obama’s national security team to publicly express concerns that the costs of the strikes might be beginning to outweigh the benefits. But General Cartwright, a former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a favored adviser during the president’s first term, also expressed skepticism about a draft administration proposal to gradually shift drone operations from the Central Intelligence Agency to the Pentagon.

Why?

General Cartwright did not quarrel with government claims that the strikes had been precise in targeting militant suspects. However, he said that mistakes, however rare, could do serious damage to America’s reputation.

“We’re seeing that blowback,” he said. “If you’re trying to kill your way to a solution, no matter how precise you are, you’re going to upset people even if they’re not targeted.” He spoke at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

It's been said again and again and again -- there's no logic in creating more enemies than you're killing, especially since for the most part these days we're killing lower-level operatives who couldn't find Lower Manhattan with a GPS. Or we could bury our heads in the sand and take what I'd call the Monty Python approach to drones, as depicted in the video below. Have a great weekend, and make it "a happy occasion."

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Will Bunch
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