Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Drone Attacks in Pakistan: Give it a Rest
The New York Times went into overdrive this morning helping the Pentagon roll out Lt. General Stanley A. McChrystal, who is set to become the top US commander in Afghanistan. Praised as an ascetic who hardly eats or sleeps, the Times quotes Henry Crumpton, who was in charge of the C.I.A's post-9/11 campaign in Afghanistan as saying about McChrystal, "He knows intelligence, he knows covert action and he knows the value of partnerships." Then he should know enough to stop the drone attacks. At a recent meeting of the Boston Global Policy Forum Study Group, Christopher Candland, a friend, colleague, and leading Pakistan specialist with lots of first-hand experience in Pakistan, explained that the U.S. had very very few options for influencing outcomes on the ground--and that the best thing that America could do was stop the drone attacks, which only prove that America can bully Pakistan, produce widespread anti-American feelings and undermine the rule of law. As I learned from Candland, if there is actionable intelligence about high value targets, then Pakistan should arrest and prosecute them on their own, without terrorizing the civilian population. Then we could all rest a little easier.