Yeah, I dunno. It seems a tough balancing act. If the drone attacks chase militants into the Pakistani cities where they foment armed Islamist groups, that's bad. If the drone attacks kill so many civilian victims, the local population turns in even more determination to radicalism in anger, that's bad. And that's aside from the human cost of civilian victims.
On the other hand, we've been blaming Bush for x years for chasing after his delusions about Iraq, which had nothing to do with 9/11, while letting Osama and his lieutenants get away, even bolstering them indirectly through the outrage over Iraq. And now these drone attacks do actually go after known high-level Al Qaeda operatives, and successfully so. According to this photo report on TNR, they have already taken out:
- Usama al-Kini, the head of al-Qaeda operations in Pakistan, who allegedly helped orchestrate the September bombing of Islamabad’s Marriott Hotel, and who is also suspected of being involved in an attempted assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.
- Abu Khabab Masri, al-Qaeda’s resident expert in chemical and biological weapons, who oversaw a training camp in Afghanistan where he provided hands-on instruction in the use of poisons and explosives. According to the FBI, he was also responsible for the training of the shoe bombers Zacarias Moussaoui and Richard Reid.
- Rashid Rauf, who allegedly helped orchestrate a plot to blow up transatlantic jets in 2006.
- Khalid Habib, an elusive field commander believed to be the fourth-highest ranking leader of al-Qaeda
Not to sound too bloodthirsty, I can't say I'm sorry to see these people gone ...
These drones will likely get more sophisticated as its technology is perfected. I would guess that eventually a drone will be able to knock out a goat walking between two people; both people would remain unharmed. Give the drones a chance to enhance!