Since 9/11, the US has been at war with Al Qaeda. Like the war on drugs, this kind of war is very asymmetric. Al Qaeda is not a country but an organization and a radical ideology. Before 911, insiders in the CIA told us there were about 2000 individuals in the entire world that were considered radicals, with intentions to strike at the US. These individuals have been linked to terrorist acts like Bombing of the USS Cole, numerous attacks on US embassy's in Africa, and IED attacks on US Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have also had several domestic incidents like the Fort Hood shooting, shoe and underwear bombers, and the New York Time Square bomber.
After invading Afghanistan, we were told that Al Qaeda leadership fled to tribal regions in neighboring Pakistan. Unfortunately, the US wasn't given authority to operate in Pakistan. Instead, we have seen the CIA use Predator Drones to fly overhead and target suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives and "bring them to justice" using a well-placed video-guided Hellfire missile.
Some from the intelligence community have been critical of this new CIA policy of "one enemy combatant: one missile" strategy instead of the "one bullet: one combatant" policy. The concern with the expanded use of the predator drone, is the extensive collateral damage. A hellfire missile can kill and injure dozens of innocent civillians in the area surrounding the target. The concern by many insiders is if this current strategy is not producing more enemies of the US than it is designed to eliminate.
Now we are seeing the CIA expand the use of Predator Drone Attacks from Afghanistan, to Pakistan and Iraq now to Yemen. With the expansion of power of CIA Black Ops using Predator Drones in Africa, we have seen our first major success with the strike and killing of Anwar Al-awlaki. Al-awlaki is the radical cleric from New York that was dining at the Pentagon a few months after 911, who is tied to the shoe bomber, underwear bomber, and Fort Hood shooter. Now on the eve of the Underwear bomber trial, we are told that Al-awlaki was sucessfully killed in Yemen by a Predator Drone attack.
My question is this? How far will the use of the Predator Drone go? Are we going to see indiscriminate use of the Predator Drone across the world and in Africa? Can we expect to see drone attacks in Mexico to assist with the Drug ars along the US-Mexico border? And if we start seeing Predator Attacks closer to home, could we begin to see attacks against "domestic terrorists" within the US? While I am not necessarily a fan of Ron Paul, I have to agree this is looking like a slippery slope.