Opinion

Taliban attack on foreign climbers is a drone-warfare reality check

After his national security address last month, President Obama drew praise in liberal quarters for his talk about limiting U.S. drone strikes to circumstances where the possibility of civilian casualties is “near zero.”

What he didn’t explain is how that can be accomplished when the military is fighting a gang that will kill civilians in retribution over drone strikes – even when the drone kills only terrorists. Because civilians are being killed anyway, despite Obama’s promise.

droneattack5That’s what happened Sunday, when, according to the Washington Post, gunmen attacked a climbing camp on Pakistan’s second-largest mountain, slaughtering nine foreigners — one of them an American.

“Pakistan’s Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, calling it retribution for a suspected U.S. drone strike last month that killed Wali ur-Rehman, the second-highest-ranking leader of the terrorist group,” the Post reported.

That’s the problem with an American president using cynical arguments to convince naïve followers that he can wind down a “war on terror” by making up rules that only hamstring his own side.

The other guys aren’t naïve at all.

They’re just willing to make the whole world – or at least anyone within reach – a hostage to their demands that the United States disarm one of its most effective means of hitting them at home.

“Through this killing we gave a message to international community to ask U.S. to stop drone strikes,” a Taliban spokesman said, according the Washington Post.

Message received.

But the possibility of the Taliban sparing civilians out of deference to Obama’s outreach?

Near zero.

 

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