Monday, September 19, 2011

War on terror: Drone strikes vs. capture

If every dark cloud has a silver lining, then perhaps the converse is true when it comes to human endeavors, especially in a time of war.

Take the case of using unmanned aerial vehicles -- so-called drones -- in decimating the leadership and lower-echelon ranks of al-Qaida in Afghanistan and in the lawless tribal areas of neighboring Pakistan, where they maintain headquarters, training and supply areas.

It's estimated the United States has conducted at least 50 airstrikes using drones this year. Among the dead: Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, al-Qaida's second in command in Southwest Asia, who was killed in Pakistan in August. And more are likely destined to fall by the wayside as Washington continues to ramp up attacks with the silent killers.

"Now is the moment, following what happened to (Osama) bin Laden, to put maximum pressure," on al-Qaida, said Leon Panetta, former CIA director. more