Just weeks ago the CIA requested expanded authority to deploy drones to target and kill suspected militants hiding in Yemen. To no one’s surprise, President Obama has given them that authority.
According to U.S. government officials quoted in various media accounts, the purpose of the new policy is to identify and eliminate “high value targets” suspected of working with al-Qaeda or associated forces, even though the names of those individuals are not known to the CIA.
"This was an interagency decision made based on deliberations about the growing threat from AQAP [al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula] and concerns about the safe haven," a senior Obama administration official told the Wall Street Journal.
The officials did offer assurances that the “White House stopped short of authorizing attacks on groups of lower-level foot soldiers,” however.
It’s little wonder that the President has given the go-ahead in light of the perceived success he’s having in Pakistan using drones to prosecute the “War on Terror.”
The evidence is impressive. According to reliable estimates,drone strikes have killed between 1,715 and 2,680 people in Pakistan since 2004. Doing the math, that means conservatively calculating there have been about 18 deaths by drone per month in Pakistan over the past eight years.
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