Innocent, ‘9 [Malou Innocent is a foreign policy analyst at the Cato Institute in Washington DC and recently returned from a fact-finding trip to Pakistan, CATO Institute, 8/25/09, http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=10479]
An American missile killed Pakistan's most wanted militant, Baitullah Mehsud, on August 5. The death of the radical Taliban commander was a success for Pakistan and the United States. However, the method used may well produce dangerous unintended consequences in how it might undermine one of the United States' primary interests. Chaos in Afghanistan could spill over and destabilize neighboring Pakistan. That's why the efficacy of missile strikes must be reassessed. The targeting of tribal safe havens by CIA-operated drone strikes strengthens the very jihadist forces that America seeks to defeat, by alienating hearts and minds in a fragile, nuclear-armed, Muslim-majority Pakistani state. During a recent visit to the frontier region, I spoke with several South Waziri tribesmen about the impact of US missile strikes. They recounted how militants exploit the popular resentment felt from the accidental killing of innocents from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and defined themselves as a force against the injustice of a hostile foreign occupation. The ability to keep militant groups off balance must be weighed against the cost of facilitating the rise of more insurgents.
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