Why the U.S. sticks with an ineffective strategy against Islamic militants

November 24, 2015
Participants: Jason Fields, Matthew Gault, Joseph Trevithick

Predator and Reaper drones hang in the sky above Pakistan, Yemen, Iraq and Syria. Mostly they observe, search for targets – and occasionally they unleash Hellfire missiles. Targets may be large gatherings of suspicious figures, convoys or training camps. They can also be private houses, and sometimes they turn out to be weddings.

The theory behind strikes is not mass destruction, but to find militant leaders and kill them, as surgically as possible. But how effective have those efforts been? And who’s making the call on when to take a shot?

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Further reading and listening:

Will drones get too smart for humanity’s own good?

Air Force drone crews got so demoralized that they booed their commander

Drones don’t work alone


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The drone strikes will be 100% efficient if real targets are hit and not an imaginary ones.The tax payers should have the pleasure of pressing the launch button via some smart phone app.

Posted by Macedonian | Report as abusive

Let ISIS come to power. Let them form a central government. Then you know what buildings to hit with rockets. The ones with all the ISIS bosses.

This idea of chasing dirty toyota pickups and Daesh goat-strokers around the desert for the next 50 years is a ridiculous milk job. Calm down and let the target coalesce into the cross-hairs.

Posted by Solidar | Report as abusive

It’s a short term method of projecting power. The longer term consequences of such a program will, and likely are, outweighing any initial benefit.
You cannot realistically wield a foreign policy that aims to punish those you don’t play well with.

Posted by Laster | Report as abusive

If “projecting power” worked against terrorists…. then our aircraft carriers and nuclear arsenal would have prevented 9/11.


Posted by Solidar | Report as abusive

For their guiding principles, the leaders of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, are open and clear about their almost exclusive commitment to the Wahhabi movement of Sunni Islam. Estimates of Saudi spending on religious causes abroad include “upwards of $100 billion” an estimated “90% of the expenses of the entire faith.
Deal with the Saudis and you start to deal with the real radical cancer in the world. Or bomb the feckless cannon fodder in syria to no end.

Posted by tribeUS | Report as abusive

Simply Obama say so he is not serious about fighting ISIS.

Posted by Alexkp | Report as abusive