Micah Zenko

Politics, Power, and Preventive Action

Zenko covers the U.S. national security debate and offers insight on developments in international security and conflict prevention.

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You Might Have Missed: Drones, Public Opinion, and Pakistan’s Complicity

by Micah Zenko
June 15, 2012

Tribesmen gather at a damaged house struck by a drone missile in northern Waziristan (Stringer Pakistan/Courtesy Reuters). Tribesmen gather at a damaged house struck by a drone missile in northern Waziristan (Stringer Pakistan/Courtesy Reuters).


Pew Research Center, “Drone Strikes Widely Opposed: Global Opinion of Obama Slips, International Policies Faulted,” June 13, 2012.

(3PA: For my reaction to the poll numbers on international opinion of U.S. drone strikes, click here.)

Glen Johnson, “Libya Weapons Aid Tuarag Rebellion in Mali,” Los Angeles Times, June 12, 2012.

“We are concerned about the porous nature of the border between Chad, Niger and Libya and the risk of weapons, including MANPADS [shoulder-launched missiles capable of downing a low-flying airliner], moving across those borders,” Rosemary DiCarlo, the U.S. deputy representative to the United Nations, said this year during a Security Council briefing in New York.

“These weapons, in the hands of terrorists, could further destabilize already fragile areas of the Sahel and surrounding regions,” DiCarlo said.

Monmouth University Poll, “U.S. Supports Some Domestic Drone Use,” June 12, 2012.

The poll asked a national sample about four potential uses of unmanned drones by U.S. law enforcement.  An overwhelming majority of Americans support the idea of using drones to help with search and rescue missions (80%).  Two-thirds of the public also support using drones to track down runaway criminals (67%) and control illegal immigration on the nation’s border (64%).

One area where Americans say that drones should not be used, though, is to issue speeding tickets.  Only 23% support using drones for this routine police activity while a large majority of 67% oppose the idea.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, Remarks at the Opening of the Inaugural Women in Public Service Institute, June 11, 2012.

Now, the numbers on participation tell the story. Women hold less than 20 percent of all seats in parliaments and legislatures around the world. I’m sorry to say, here in the United States, our percentage is even a little lower, at 17 percent. And it’s not just politics. Only 3 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs are women. And I always think to myself: What a waste, because the world cannot miss out on the talents and contributions of half the population.

(3PA: Read my article “City of Men,” which crunched the numbers on the gender breakdown in ten prominent foreign policy think tanks.)

Department of Defense, Lt. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, News Briefing from Afghanistan, June 11, 2012.

Another way to put that, if you look at over the last two years, the number of CAS sorties, air sorties, over the last two years, only two-tenths of 1 percent of that CAS resulted in civ cas.

Mohamed Ibrahim, “Al Qaeda Offshoot Offers Camels for Obama’s Head, Hens for Hillary Clinton’s,” ABC News, June 9, 2012.

Indira A.R. Lakshmanan, “Obama Increases Pakistan Drone Strikes as Relations Sour,” Bloomberg News, June 8, 2012.

U.S. officials, who spoke yesterday on the condition of anonymity to discuss classified intelligence, said they expect Pakistan may order the CIA to stop using a remaining air base from which the officials say they have controlled Predators to target militants sheltered in Pakistan’s tribal areas bordering Afghanistan. Pakistani authorities today disputed the U.S. version of events, insisting that the CIA officers working on the drones program were expelled from all Pakistani air bases late last year.

(3PA: If true, this is a significant story, since it was widely reported that Pakistan had already evicted U.S. drones and support personnel from its airbases in late 2011. Pakistan security forces have consistently supported CIA drone strikes with targeting intelligence through ground “spotters,” and by fighting the Taliban to recover downed drones.)

Mark Moyar, “Book Review: Politics by Other Means,” Wall Street Journal, June 8, 2012.

Mr. [Rahm] Emanuel himself, Mr. Klaidman notes, prodded the CIA to divulge classified information about the drone strikes because “the muscular attacks could have a huge political upside for Obama.”

Post a Comment 1 Comment

  • Posted by Javed Mir

    — the muscular attacks could have a huge political upside for Obama.”

    But these muscular attacks will breed more dehumanisation and violence. There should be an end to this man slaughtering since it invariably causes killing of innocent civilians.

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