Dec 04 2009
The NY Times is the largest liberal rag in the US. The folks there like to think of themselves as balanced journalists, which is just like watching a wino claim they can hold their liquor.
So it is not surprising to see them praise the current administration for continuing and expanding successful policies put in place by President Bush. The same policies they ragged on Bush on for years. Today the NY Times offers another example of their duplicitous reporting in covering (or uncovering) plans to expand the predator strikes in Pakistan:
The White House has authorized an expansion of the C.I.A.â€™sÂ droneÂ program in Pakistanâ€™s lawless tribal areas, officials said this week, to parallel the presidentâ€™s decision,Â announced Tuesday, to send 30,000 more troops toÂ Afghanistan. American officials are talking with Pakistan about the possibility of striking in Baluchistan for the first time â€” a controversial move since it is outside the tribal areas â€” because that is where Afghan Taliban leaders are believed to hide.
One of Washingtonâ€™s worst-kept secrets, the drone program is quietly hailed by counterterrorism officials as a resounding success, eliminating key terrorists and throwing their operations into disarray. But despite close cooperation from Pakistani intelligence, the program has generated public anger in Pakistan, and some counterinsurgency experts wonder whether it does more harm than good.
As noted this is part of the administration’s get tough on al-Qaeda and the Taliban push. I must say the expansion into one of Pakistan’s ‘normal’ provinces is very risky politically. What we don’t need is be seen hunting people down anywhere in the world. That backlash in Pakistan would obviously grow.
The lawless tribal area is a known festering hole of illiteracy and poverty, poisoned with Ilsamo Fascist zealotry. It is not humanity’s finest achievement by far. People can accept our attacks there (with a common sense dose of discomfort) since they are in conjunction with military operations by the Pakistan Army and Air Force.
But I would be wary of expanding this concept too far and outside joint military actions. [And if I'm unconformable then Obama's liberal base must be apoplectic right now]
Interestingly enough the NY Times gets access to someone who may have insight into the success of the program (which we have been watching here for years):
… one government official agreed to speak about the program on the condition of anonymity. About 80 missile attacks from drones in less than two years have killed â€œmore than 400â€ enemy fighters, the official said, offering a number lower than most estimates but in the same range. His account of collateral damage, however, was strikingly lower than many unofficial counts: â€œWe believe the number of civilian casualties is just over 20, and those were people who were either at the side of major terrorists or were at facilities used by terrorists.â€
It in an interesting read, and another good sign President Obama is planning on finishing the war President Bush was forced to start after 9-11. And he seems ready to do what it takes to win it.
Side note: I know there are a lot of hand wringers out there regarding the planned 2011 withdrawal date from the Afghanistan Surge, but there has been plenty of reporting from respected military sources that this is all overblown. There will be a review to re-plan next year at this time (as I suspected), so that date is not firm.