Thanks for The Olympian’s front page photo this Thursday about the use of drone strikes in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Whether or not one supports U.S. military and intelligence involvement in those nations, the application of such force has become more and more surgically precise, which reduces casualties among terrorists/combatants and innocent civilians alike.
The change from carpet bombing to more and more precise targeting began when I was a combat aircrew member during the Southeast Asia conflict. Rules of engagement were conservative and were adhered to assiduously. This resulted in fewer overall casualties, less lasting hostility, and diminished environmental degradation. One statistic that should have been added to your photo caption and Page A6 story is that, since the beginning of 2012, there has not been a single innocent civilian casualty in Pakistan due to drone strikes. That’s why, as your article put it, “Officials at the CIA and the Defense Department are loathe to try to fix a program that they don’t think is broken.”