New York Times on Drone “Report Card”

Kudos to the NY Times for having the courage to print this. They’ve covered a few stories, of late, that are quite critical of bad White House policies. Perhaps the journalists are slowing waking up, and fulfilling their duty to the nation.

The group found that more than a decade into the era of armed drones, the American government has yet to carry out a thorough analysis of whether the costs of routine secret killing operations outweigh the benefits. The report urges the administration to conduct such an analysis and to give a public accounting of both militants and civilians killed in drone strikes.

The findings amount to a sort of report card — one that delivers middling grades — a year after President Obama gave a speech promising new guidelines for drone strikes and greater transparency about the killing operations. The report is especially critical of the secrecy that continues to envelop drone operations and questions whether they might be creating terrorists even as they are killing them.

There is no indication that a U.S. strategy to destroy Al Qaeda has curbed the rise of Sunni Islamic extremism, deterred the establishment of Shia Islamic extremist groups or advanced long-term U.S. security interests,” the report concludes.

Two key points that I’ve mentioned on numerous occasions:

1 – It is exceedingly likely that we have created more “terrorists” with our drones than we have killed. You want to make me a “terrorist”? Just send a UAV to blow up a building with my children in it. Or my brother. Or my close friends. I will be absolutely convinced that the regime behind the strike needs to be decapitated.

2 – U.S. rationale for drone use is dangerous beyond comparison when it comes to the possibility of more nations doing the same. Can you imagine the outcry were Pakistan or Iran to send a drone to kill people at the Pentagon for their attacks in those countries? So why is it OK for us to do it, and not them?

Great article. Again… way to go, NYT!