US fires 118 drone bombs at Pakistan, killing just two most-wanted terrorists

By Sahil Kapur
Monday, February 21, 2011 13:39 EDT
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WASHINGTON – Over one-hundred drone strikes in Pakistan last year ended up killing a total of 2 terrorists on the US most-wanted list, according to independent estimates.

In 2010, the CIA launched a total of 118 drone attacks in Pakistan, each costing more than $1 million, The Washington Post reported. It was a year in which the US dramatically expanded the scope and frequency of the strikes, which began under the Bush administration.

But just two of the militants killed were on the most-wanted list, according to the National Counterterrorism Center, which keeps track of terrorist leaders. They are Sheik Saeed al-Masri, a top Al-Qaeda operative, and Ahmed Mohammed Hamed Ali, who helped carry out the US embassy bombings of 1998.

An additional thirteen were considered “high-value targets,” while the vast majority of the 581 estimated militants killed were low-level operatives.

A senior Pakistani official said that most of those killed were “mere foot soldiers” who had no leadership role or influence over the extremist groups, reflecting a broadening of the targets that were once limited to senior leaders of Al-Qaeda and similar factions.

US military officials say the program has helped disrupt Al-Qaeda’s operational capacity since the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Yet the numbers raise important questions about the efficacy of the unmanned predator drone strikes — in addition to longstanding questions about their morality — as the classified program plays a larger role in US counter-terrorism strategy.

“We would be remiss if we didn’t go after people who have American blood on their hands,” a US official told the Post. “To use a military analogy, if you’re only going after the generals, you’re likely to be run over by tanks.”

To the CIA’s credit, the collateral damage from the drone bombs has apparently fallen in recent years. The New America Foundation estimates that civilian casualties dropped to 6 percent in 2010, from 25 percent in 2004.

The drone attacks have contributed to souring perceptions of the US in Pakistan, where favorable ratings are notably low.

Two out of three Pakistani journalists view the US strikes as acts of terrorism, according to a recent survey.

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  • Anonymous

    It’s time to leave them alone and bring our people home.

  • Anonymous

    Drones are the ultimate in terror, you have no idea when or where it will happen. You also have no idea where you can be safe. There should at least be some kind of compensation for innocent victims of this terror. But as with “conventional terrorism”, I highly doubt that is the case.
    The true effective weapon of modern warfare is Public Relations, something the U.S. military would rather smother over with propaganda and censorship. They have no de$ire to put an end to u$ing these weapon$. They’d prefer to bust unions to pay for it. But the Twitts may rise up…

  • Anonymous

    The cost of one drone strike is comparable to the annual budget short fall in Wisconsin that is causing demonstrations and seeks to smash the unions. Seems like demonstrating against these endless foreign wars would be going to the root of the problem.

  • Anonymous

    They rule, and we’ve got nothing to say about it.

    The MIC…..don’t get in their way, or you’ll end up like JFK!

  • Anonymous

    The teatards will question if you’re Merikun if you don’t support the neocon madness.

  • http://twitter.com/oldivory OLD IVORY

    Hey, just send the money for this stuff to my house. I’ll flush it down the toilet for minimum wage.

  • Anonymous

    I feel safer.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_TF72KWIG5DGSPE3ZXDK6FX4KTQ Robert Burned

    The two “terrorists” were eight-year-old children with toy popguns.

  • overdoneputaforkinit

    Bombs – the ultimate one time use, disposable product that always gets replaced. Bombs are America’s main growth industry. It’s great that only 2 main terrorists were killed by over $118 million in bombs. The targets that remain are reason for the government to buy lots and lots more bombs. Also 581 poor people were put out of their misery. And their relatives are pissed, and that guarantees more bomb sales in the future.

  • Cussin’ Jack

    Yeah, but just think of all the future terrorists we “took out”. If you look at this as “preemptive terrorist warfare” we’ve been particularly successful … think of all the school children that will no longer grow up to hate us. Consider the wedding parties that have been “wasted” so those couples will now not have babies who will grow up to hate us and wage jihad.

    Damn, maybe the Pentagon has cracked into the Psychic Friends network … they a few of precogs wired up in a dream state who’ve been scanning Afghanistan for “future crimes” against our Democracy Force. hmmmmm ….

  • http://twitter.com/btmfdrsheaven rebecca meritt

    I guess we’re not gonna stop this serial killing till some one stops us. And someone will stop us by using our own inventions against us and generals can say once again,”we never saw it coming,it happened so fast”

  • Anonymous

    This article conveniently omits how many innocent civilians were killed. Perhaps the real purpose of these illegal attacks is to kill innocent people in an effort to expand and prolong the war, thereby running up the military spending tab. Nah, that could never happen, not in America.

  • Anonymous

    Agree with you position, but not the way you state it. This article however, fails us deeply, as we reported neither our acknowledged kills, nor the reported kills from the regional reports. Would be nice to have a full follow up by a reporter who takes time to dig for the whole truth.

  • dk504

    Cheese and Rice, enough already. 2 people??? Really??? 118 bombs and that’s all you got? Exactly how much did those bombs COST??? 10 schools? 100 teachers?? A school full of text books and computer labs and science labs?? Ike was right !!!
    I hope no one is surprised when some Pakistani who lost there entire family in one of these 118 BS Hellfire strikes comes over here and unleashes hell. What is wrong with these people that they don’t know what they have been creating?

  • Anonymous

    And we wonder why there’s hunger in America and veterans sleeping on the streets.

    We’re going to be as successful in Pakistan as we are in the war on drugs. This money is needed here!!!

    When does the march on Washington ever begin?

  • Anonymous

    Um, that’s just the price for the actual hardware dropped. It doesn’t appear to include the tens to hundreds of millions needed on the infrastructure to make drone attacks happen (satellites, communications, personnel, etc., etc., etc.).

    US policy / spending in the region is FUBAR and we have only the great jobs program that is America’s military-industrial complex

  • Guest

    Wouldn’t want to mention THAT during their budget cut meetings, would they?

  • ComradeRutherford

    “the vast majority of the 581 estimated militants”

    Estimated. Just like Vietnam body counts.

    This report doesn’t give the numbers of women and children murdered by US taxpayers in the lat year.

    But all those innocent deaths are worth it to make the entire nation of Pakistan hate the US forever!

  • Anonymous

    What’s missing from the article is the number of innocent civilians killed by these drone attacks. I’d be willing to bet that many of the supposed “militants” were civilians.

  • Anonymous

    My retort to the “Rumy says “WMD”S was big reason for Iraq war” way down the main page went as follows…

    In a way, there is a twisted half-truth to his statement. The BIG REASON was to get OUR WMD’s there
    and use them to hilt. Our DU, Our white phosphorus, Our cluster bombs, Our Bunker Busters and any other fill in the blank kind of fire from hell. To be sure, those who made a shit ton of dirty money off the dead, maimed and dying have the greatest WMD stuffed in their bank accounts.

  • Anonymous

    If the GOP is serious about spending cuts then let’s start at ending those wars, unless one accpt the notion that the military-industrial complex is waging wars for profit.

  • Anonymous

    Does anyone else think the the trillion dollars we spend on “defense” is the WORST waste of our tax monies imaginable?

  • Knot

    Good point, it’s also Blackwater/Xe (and other mercs) that operate in Pakistan and provide the targeting.

    They don’t release how much that costs, but my guess is that it involves pallets of cash being shipped to Dubai. I wonder if anyone has contemplated the future costs over the next couple of decades associated with giving wealth to mercenaries. It’s not like the world needs more shadowy companies that would go belly up without a war to fight.

    Having an American MIC is one thing, but funding a multi-national MIC that is based in a dictatorship with absolute banking secrecy and no extradition treaties may turn out to cause a few unforeseen problems.

  • Anonymous

    118 drone X $1 million
    ——————————– = $59 million dollars each

  • Cussin’ Jack

    Dodge, remember the bumper sticker from a few years back, “We’re Making Enemies Faster Than We Can Kill Them”? I guess that’s what I was trying to get to. We’ve made killing so completely impersonal that now we have “soldiers” sitting at “game consoles” in Nevada dropping bombs on human beings half a world away and then they drive home to the wife and kids at the end of the day. “Just doing their job”, so they say. And I say, “NOT IN MY NAME”. (Of course I realize that as I say that I’m sitting in the relative comfort of my warm home, snacking on Cheese Doodles and drinking a Coke and I fully comprehend the sick irony of my feelings … it’s a spiritual kind of hell.)

    We will never know the numbers of innocent people we’ve killed. Never. All you ever hear in the corporate news is the number of “terrorists” killed … you NEVER hear about how many innocent lives were snuffed out in the pursuit. It’s just plain sick and makes me want to vomit. The karma we’re creating for ourselves I dread to consider.

  • http://twitter.com/btmfdrsheaven rebecca meritt

    But they were 2 really tall guys.Osama is really tall and if we get enough really tall guys we’re bound to get him,right?

  • Anonymous

    I wonder how many innocent civilians were killed?

  • Anonymous

    But, how many NEW “terrorists” were created by the ongoing US warmongering and drone attacks?

  • http://www.BaltimoreGreenCurrency.org Shrapnel

    That’s $59 million per “terrorist”. For that much I’d do Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Feith and Rice. A fucking bargain at only ten million apiece (and a one million dollar discount for bulk purchase).

  • H.P. Loathecraft

    Guy wearing sandals and a turban. Target acquired. Over.

  • Anonymous

    This will never end, unless several million very angry Americans show up in DC demanding an end to this insane bullshit. Posting on Raw and other liberal blogs does nothing whatsoever.

  • Anonymous

    Alot more than 2 terrorists are killed outside of the “most wanted” category. How much money is a “non most wanted terrorist” worth? How many terrorists per million US killed is equal to a US soldier that avoids being killed because a “non most wanted” is killed?

  • Anonymous

    They say ‘most wanted’ because they were at the top of the list, I guess.
    They don’t say ‘important’…
    You know Thomas Jefferson would be on that list…
    Then there is that oldey about ‘presumed innocent’…

    They don’t talk much about the dead children, cauz they don’t give a shit.
    If you are walking in ‘enemy territory’ you are a ‘bad man’ deserving death.

    USA! USA! USA!

    Obviously, USA learned… Drones don’t tell secrets.

  • http://twitter.com/btmfdrsheaven rebecca meritt

    they were all innocent cilivians

  • Anonymous

    Cost of this war per person in by2008.

    How Much Do Bombs Cost You?
    A recent Iraq cost analysis reveals the extent to which the American people are being fleeced to continue a war most of them aren’t interested in pursuing. One of the compiled statistics brings the financial effects of the war right into the family living room:

    The bill so far: $526 billion
    Cost per day: $275 million
    Cost per household: $4,100


    So when you hear the elected officials state they want to cut government services , jobs and other BS , you know why.

    For tax cuts to the top 2 percent.
    Money for the war contractors.
    Welfare for the Global Corporations.
    And screw the U.S. citizens , let them eat cake…

  • Anonymous

    The Final proof that the Company and Creech, NV “Killer Drone” Pilots and Techs are the biggest bunch of worthless, pussy, punkass bitches with poor vision and poorer reflexes in flight suits on the planet. Case Closed. Love ShaJ from Wired.

  • http://twitter.com/btmfdrsheaven rebecca meritt

    It’s only a matter of time till Anon can stop those drones.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/FPBFO6RC5R2HHIP3VXSFU2RZQA mjj

    Has anyone done the math on this?

  • Anonymous

    At this rate, you might as well just nuke them. At least you’ll get all the ‘terrorists’ that way. Right?

  • Anonymous

    2 terrorists killed, eh? By that do you mean the drones turned around and killed those who launched them?

  • YeaSayer

    Well, there’s the Inauguration gala.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/RepublicConstitution?feature=mhum TruthRegimes

    That is the efficiency this Military-Industrial Complex loves…for every 1 “terrorist” killed there are hundreds of soldiers injured, dozens of soldiers killed, THOUSANDS of innocent civilians murdered, and BILLIONS of dollars made by the War Machine.

  • YeaSayer

    Look out Hitler, Obomber just climbed 118 rungs on the most-hated list.

  • Anonymous

    Who drove those things? Barney Fife?

  • Anonymous

    Not the real anti-war tea party the neo-cons co-opted. There still exists a strong active anti-war group amongst the “tea party” which was founded by ron paul supporters and people interested in 9/11 reality.

  • Anonymous

    The US is nothing but a newer version of a fascist aggressor nation doing what it’s oligarchs want it to do.

  • http://bigdanblogger.blogspot.com/ Big Dan

    We fly robot planes around their country bombing them HUNDREDS of times. Anyone think this is “OK”???

  • http://bigdanblogger.blogspot.com/ Big Dan

    …without their permission. What if some other country was flying robot planes around the U.S. HUNDREDS of times (at least) bombing us??? What would you think? That’s “OK”???

  • Anonymous

    interesting…………we’re given “hard” numbers for the militants killed, yet only percentages for the “collateral damage” (i.e. deaths of civilians/non-combatants/wedding parties/allies)……when the “terrorists” kill that many non-coms they are condemned…..the spooks ? not so much…..

  • Anonymous

    Someone is making a sh1tload of money, that’s what it is. No army or commander with a common sense drops that many bombs for 2 human targets. Even if he doesn’t have a common sense, it is still pointless.
    It’s deliberate and it is to use as much bombs and ammunition as possible, because the USA is buying this (from taxpayer money) with an interest from weapon manufacturers and contractors. This is all that money, that was robbed and stolen from the American people WASTED purposely. There is no “if”-s and “but”-s. Both wars are directed in a way, that they will never end. There are 2 ways to end it:
    1. The People get off their fat burger friies ass and start acting like they care about their country and the future of their children. That’s what is at stake.
    2. The country ends before the wars. This will be a rouge exile military with no country to go back to, no loyalty to anyone. That kind fo stuff happened during the break up of the USSR.
    IS that what you all want???

  • Anonymous

    One hundred and eighteen million bucks (and I bet it’s ten times that) for two terrorists and thirteen “high-value targets,” whatever the hell that means. And the 541 others are also part of the price.

  • DriveBy

    One figure is missing here… the number of “terrorists” CREATED by each one of these drone bombs.

  • Anonymous

    Anyone who believes government statistics after the “Iraq WMD” lies is insane.

  • RichWa

    I fail to see the problem. If our bombing were more effective and we used fewer bombs what’s left of our manufacturing jobs would go and we’d be left with even greater unemployment. Think about it, making bombs and other military munitions is a primary industry of ours and one of our most profitable; for each effective bomb we must replace it with about 60 new ones. (60 bombs equaling 1 kill means more jobs than 1 bomb equaling 1 kill)

  • NadePaulKuciGravMcKi

    mass murder 9/11 war criminals

  • Anonymous

    Nifty change in the text to change it from 2 terrorists to 2 terrorists on some list. But crappy ‘journalism’ is becoming common lately. But then … whatever it takes to forward an agenda.

  • otherjerseyguy

    Is there only shame in the remote killing of innocent civilians. If it takes 118 drones costing $118,000,000 to kill two (2) “terrorists” and countless innocent civilians, then what does that say about the quality of our freedom?

  • Anonymous

    its good for the economy…..

  • DriveBy

    War is terrorism on steroids.

  • http://voxxrocks.com/blog/ HIStory Indeed

    US fires…

    US fires nobody… for incompetence, crimes against humanity, torture, for allowing 9-11, for the missing trillions from the pentagon and apparently not for destroying, on 118 separate occasions the lives and property of sovereign citizens of another country where most of the locals have no idea why their lives were intruded upon in the first place.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_I4CAHYD4FGSIPEC64UFHIZRJVY Ex-Canuck

    Yeah, but just think how much went into the defense contractor’s pockets in the creation of these 118 bombs. I’d say it was a damn good deal – for them.