Obama Endorses Another Escalation of CIA Drone Strikes in Pakistan

Official: 'What Do We Have to Lose?'

As officials express public outrage at the Pakistani government for various perceived slights, President Obama has been authorizing more and more aggressive levels of drone strikes against the tribal areas, further escalating the war in the area.

A top US official quoted in McClatchy but unnamed said that the administration’s attitude toward Pakistan’s opposition to the strikes is “what do we have to lose?” UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay has called for a UN probe into the indiscriminate killing of civilians in the strikes.

The US has claimed that the strikes are extremely accurate and based on the best intelligence possible. Despite this, the drone strikes in Pakistan have killed well over 2,000 people since President Obama took office, and fewer than 50 of the victims have ever been conclusively named by officials.

Officials familiar with the situation say that the escalation is a result of the NATO summit in Chicago, during which Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari was supposed to agree to reopen the supply routes into Afghanistan. No deal was ever finalized, and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said that US patience toward Pakistan is running out.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.