Blood Money, Kill Lists, Favors for Favors: Deep Inside the CIA’s Targeted Killings

Targeted killing — particularly the sort carried out by the U.S. fleet of deadly flying robots — is a transactional business.

That’s a major point of The Way of The Knife, the informative new book by Mark Mazzetti, a national-security correspondent for the New York Times. The U.S. drone campaign in Pakistan kicked off with the 2004 killing of Nek Mohammed, an extremist in the tribal areas who was not a senior al-Qaida figure. Mohammed was someone the Pakistanis wanted dead. The U.S. wanted access to Pakistan’s airspace and, it was once hoped, western tribal territory, where al-Qaida operated. Over the years, the U.S. got the former and (rarely) the latter, giving birth to a quid pro quo that spread to Yemen andbeyond.

That is not to say that Pakistani outrage over targeted killing was entirely fake. The arrest of CIA contractor Raymond Davis in Lahore — where, Mazzetti writes, he was tracking terrorists working with Pakistani intelligence — inflamed the country right before SEALs invaded to kill Osama bin Laden; the Pakistanis view their soil as more inviolable than their airspace. The drone strikes didn’t stop. But they dipped significantly during 2011 and 2012.


No comments:

Post a Comment