Washington, Apr.24 (ANI): A U.S. Congressman has condemned the unmanned drones strikes ordered by President Obama in western Pakistan, arguing that such tactics are inflaming radical Islamic factions.
“I do not support the drone attacks,” said Democrat Dennis Kucinich in an interview, contending that the approach is pushing the United States “into an area of unaccountability that leads to blowback, where we actually lose friends, where we help inspire anti-American sentiments and fanaticism and radicalism.”
The strikes that began in 2005 during the Bush regime as part of an effort to wipe out spillover militant activity on the eastern side of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border have escalated under his successor.
US military leaders say the approach has purged scores of militants, including high-level Al-Qaeda operatives.
But it has also killed hundreds of innocent civilians; sparking new anger in a nation that has long been a key US ally.
Kucinich argues that the strikes are, as a result, counterproductive.
“Just as an occupation fuels an insurgency, these drones build feelings and resistance against the United States and help gain support for those elements who wish to do America harm,” he said, describing Pakistan’s cooperation as critical to halting nuclear proliferation and quelling the growth of radical Islamic factions.
The Ohio Congressman called for a careful re-evaluation of US tactics in the nation, and urged Obama to “be careful not to inadvertently create the circumstances that push Pakistan into becoming a failed state.”
He didn”t, however, oppose the five-year 7.5 billion dollar aid package or new weapons the administration recently gave Islamabad to help neutralize brewing terrorist activity.
In 2008, Kucinich denounced President Bush’s use of the policy in more forceful terms, accusing him of “playing with fire” and “violating international law by invading yet another nation which has not attacked the United States.”
He dropped out of the Democratic primary in that year”s presidential race to endorse Obama.
During his first 15 months in office, Obama has unleashed about as many drone attacks as Bush did in his three years of carrying out the program.
The Obama administration publicly defended the tactic for the first time just weeks ago as legal and necessary for self-defense, but didn’t address the possibility of an anti-American backlash.
State Department Legal Adviser Harold Koh declared that the drone strikes “comply with all applicable law, including the laws of war,” in speech to the American Society of International Law on March 25.
He said: “A state that is engaged in armed conflict – or in legitimate self-defense – is not required to provide targets or legal process before the state may use lethal force.”
Although anti-war activists have strongly criticized the use of missile attacks in the region, the policy enjoys comfortable, if tacit, support from most members of Congress, a likely sign of the deference given to the executive branch on matters of war. (ANI)