Three successful drone strikes in recent days have killed some VERY high-ranking Al Qaeda members. Good news, right? Yes, no doubt. But, those drone strikes have occurred in Pakistani territory. Leon Panetta has come out condemning Pakistan for allowing safe haven to fighters who attack U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, who then retreat to Pakistan for relative safety from retaliation. Panetta says we’re “not going to take it” any more.
I find it amazing that Repubs still attack Obama for being soft on defense. It sure helps when the entire Republican party seems to be made up of a bunch of dim-witted fools who believe anything their leaders tell them. Repubs continue to use the attack because their idiot backers continue to believe ANYTHING that’s anti-Obama. This despite the incredible successes Obama has had in combatting terrorism and dismantling Al Qaeda.
The continuing, bold drone attacks in Pakistan continue a very aggressive defense policy from Obama, policies that Republicans would be DROOLING over…IF it were a Republican in the Oval Office.
With that said…it’s a loser of a long-term strategy. Afghanis themselves want the U.S. out. It’s been over 10 years for god’s sake. We’re occupiers in their minds now, not liberators. Pakistanis? I’m definitely not sympathetic to Pakistan for their role in underhandedly supporting violence in Afghanistan, but despite any recent successes in killing Al Qaeda personnel within Pakistani territory…it’s a loser of a long-term strategy.
Obama’s long-term military strategy clearly puts an emphasis on Asia (e.g., China) with a de-emphasis of the Middle East. But the damage has already been done in the Middle East. 10+ years of active war in the region will do that. There’s no doubt that U.S. actions in the Middle East in the past decade have further strengthened the impression that the U.S. is a bully in the region, uncaring about the people themselves, and only interested in protecting oil resources. It’s a HELL of a tough line (heck, an impossible line) for Obama to walk…keeping a continued, active, and aggressive military presence in the region, while attempting to sway regional powers to support the cause.
Despite the successes in killing Al Qaeda leaders with cross-border drone strikes, there is also no doubt that hundreds of innocent Pakistani’s have lost their lives. Despite Panetta’s bluster…it simply can’t continue long-term. We’ve dismantled Al Qaeda in the Middle East. Obama has had been an aggressive, extremely effective leader in the war on terror. But at what cost?
We already had a boatload of enemies in the Middle East. We’ve also been doing a hell of a good job at turning one-time U.S. allies into likely long-term enemies. We can now add Pakistan to the ever-growing list of countries in the region that resent the U.S. influence in the region. In the short-term? We can survive it, given the devastating blow we’ve accomplished against Al Qaeda in the region.
In the long-term? We’ve alienated another nationality in the region, and created yet another long-term breeding ground for anti-U.S. terrorists. We’re winning the battle against Al Qaeda…but losing the war in the region.