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Ear to the Ground

Poking Holes in Pakistan

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Posted on Jun 5, 2012
AP/Mohammad Sajjad

A supporter of Pakistan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf or Movement of Justice, takes part in a 2011 rally against American drone strikes in Pakistani tribal areas.

U.S. officials are awfully chuffed over the ability to reach out and bomb someone—most recently it’s al-Qaida’s No. 2 Abu Yahya al-Libi and at least four others. Pakistani complaints about a flurry of drone strikes in the last two weeks are falling on deaf ears.

Al-Libi was targeted Monday, and White House officials confirmed the next day that he was among the dead. The State Department was offering a $1 million bounty on the al-Qaida strategist.

AP reports that as long as they yield results, drone attacks inside Pakistan are likely to continue, and why wouldn’t they? President Obama has consistently displayed a preference for drones and an eagerness to use them in foreign territory without permission from the locals. And, in this election year, there appears to be ample support from the public for that strategy. According to a Washington Post-ABC News poll published in February, 83 percent of Americans—including 77 percent of self-identified liberal Democrats—approve of the use of unmanned drones against terrorist suspects overseas. A full 79 percent said they approved of drone strikes against terror suspects who are also American citizens.

Still, it gives one pause to consider that the U.S. is openly provoking a nuclear power—and a relatively unstable one at that.

(This post was updated on 6/5/12.)

—Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

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