US Not Focusing on al-Qaeda Leaders in Drone Strikes

Obama Drone Strategy Inherited from Bush

44 separate drone strikes in 2009 alone, and dozens of additional ones so far thing year have killed almost no militant leaders of note. Yet far from being an example of CIA incompetence, officials say it is all part of the plan.

What plan? Well according to officials, the Bush Administration came up with a plan to “move beyond” the attempts to assassinate al-Qaeda leaders. Now, officials are attacking a broader set of targets. That, they say, is what President Obama is doing.

This answers the question of why almost no “named” leaders are ever killed, but raises another, perhaps more disturbing question. If the US intelligence on noteworthy men was so shoddy that so many of their attempted assassinations failed, how can they possibly possess the sort of intelligence to accurately hit these minor targets?

The answer is that they can’t, and don’t, and that is why out of those 44 drone attacks some 700 Pakistani civilians were slain. With the plan to kill al-Qaeda leaders in shambles, the US bet on a brute strength method, and it was the populace of North and South Waziristan that paid a heavy price.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of