Internet Anthropologist Think Tank: Call Off Drone War, Influential U.S. Adviser

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    Tuesday, February 10, 2009

    Call Off Drone War, Influential U.S. Adviser

    By Gerald  Internet Anthropologist Think Tank

    Dave Kilcullen  has argued for defacto suspension of drone attacks in Pakistan.

    I believe his recommendation is ill conceived.

    While he does an interesting job looking at alternatives some of his recommendations
    and claims are not supported by OSINT, 

    His claim that the Drones and their attacks have helped radicalized the indigenous 
    population is not supported by facts.

    The drones are the only weapon the Taliban have vehemently complained about
    and demanded they stop. The attrition of the senior ranks and cadre has been very painful and threatening to the terrorist.

    BILL ROGGIO has reported 
    current OSINT on the Taliban surge.
    My take on his article is the current Taliban surge is not derived from an indigenous population but are
    foreigners from and developed by Al Qaeda's paramilitary 'Shadow Army'.

    While collateral damage is always to be avoided, the Taliban have used child
    suicide bombers and certainly are not above planting children among their
    cadre for Info war operations.  Qari Hussain Mehsud is infamous for running child 
    suicide camps in South Waziristan. It is not an big step to place children around cadre.

    The problem of collateral damage and killing children needs to be dealt with
    head on and the Taliban motivations for setting it up.

    In every war there is collateral damage it can't be 100% avoided,
    The key is how its dealt with, and currently the Taliban are able to exploit
    it and maybe even set it up. The US military forces go to great lengths 
    to prevent it, but their handling on the Info War side has not been so good.
    This war certainly has had one of the lowest rates of collateral damage 
    on record.

    Stopping the drone attacks has no strategic value.
    And would remove the most effective method for decapitating the head 
    of this terrorist snake.

    Again the "Taliban surge is not from the indigenous population.
    I quote Bill:

    The Shadow Army is organized under a military structure, a US military intelligence officer familiar with the situation in northwestern Pakistan informed The Long War Journal. There are units analogous to battalion, brigade, and division formations found in Western armies.

    The military organization has a clear-cut command structure with established ranks. A senior al Qaeda military leader is placed in command of the Shadow Army, while experienced officers are put in command of the brigades and subordinate battalions and companies.

    The re-formed Brigade 055 is but one of an estimated three to four brigades in the Shadow Army. Several other Arab brigades have been formed, some consisting of former members of Saddam Hussein’s Republican Guards as well as Iraqis, Saudis, Yemenis, Egyptians, North Africans, and others.

    During the reign of the Taliban in Afghanistan prior to the US invasion in 2001, the 055 Brigade served as "the shock troops of the Taliban and functioned as an integral part of the latter's military apparatus," al Qaeda expert Rohan Gunaratna wrote in Inside al Qaeda. At its peak in 2001, the 055 Brigade had an estimated 2,000 soldiers and officers in the ranks. The brigade was comprised of Arabs, Central Asians, and South Asians, as well as Chechens, Bosnians, and Uighurs from Western China.

    The 055 Brigade has "completely reformed and is surpassing pre-2001 standards," an official said. The other brigades are also considered well trained.

    One official said the mixing of the various Taliban and al Qaeda units has made distinctions between the groups somewhat meaningless.

    Ending drone strikes he says is not a guaranteed strategy:

    1) The target in question poses a threat to the international community (not solely to U.S. forces or interests in Afghanistan); AND
    2) It is located in an area outside of effective Pakistani sovereignty (e.g. in a non-controlled area of the 
    FATA or in a micro-haven elsewhere) AND
    3) Pakistan has tried but failed to extend its sovereignty into the area, or to deal effectively with the target on its own; 
    4) The target is positively identified and clearly distinguishable from surrounding populations, reducing the risk of collateral damage to a level acceptable to elected political leaders.

    Some might argue that this sets an extremely high bar, so high that in practice such strikes would almost never be approved. I agree – that’s the whole point. Others might argue that there is no guarantee of success in this diplomatic strategy. Again, I agree – but would respectfully suggest that there are no guarantees in any strategy, military or otherwise, and that the current approach is having a severely de-stabilizing effect on Pakistan and risks spreading the conflict further, or even prompting the collapse of the Pakistani state, a scenario that would dwarf any of the problems we have yet faced in Iraq or Afghanistan.

    Yet I would say there is a guarantee in his strategy of defacto ending of the drone strikes. G

    ( His statement before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Afghanistan, chaired by Senator John F. Kerry, on 5th February 2009.Kilcullen, a former Australian colonel, is considered one of the leading thinkers on counterinsurgency, providing advice to both U.S. Central Command chief Gen. David Petraeus and former Secretary of State Condolleeza Rice.)
    My statement:
    A guarantee the terrorist would like it. 
    a guarantee of increase in terrorist moral, 
    a guarantee of freer operation in Paki, 
    a guarantee of more terrorist operations.

    I don't think his ill conceived strategy will fly, there is nothing to support this strategy.

    Internet Anthropologist


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