Are US Drone Strikes Effective?

A lesson of the Vietnam war that apparently has still not been learned by the United States military is using air power to deal with guerrilla movements is an ineffective strategy that only does the reverse– encourages people who are being bombed to shift support to insurgents. Senator John Kerry, newly appointed head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee met with Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and among topics discussed was the effectiveness of drone strikes. The Pakistan leader insisted drone attacks were counter-productive and only resulted growing anger since so many air strikes result in death to civilians as well as the targeted insurgents. Kerry promised to review the entire drone program in the coming year.

Senator Kerry urged Gilani to cooperate with Indian authorities in uncovering who was behind the Mumbai attack. He also promised additional aid to improve police forces in Pakistan. It is time to recognize insurgents are defeated on the ground through a combination of political, economic, and military forces.