Tuesday, September 15, 2009

War on Terror Not Over Quite Yet

I often criticize Obama for projecting weakness abroad. But sometimes he gets things right. Yesterday's commando raid was one of those times. According to reports, the president personally authorized the kill order for Al Qaeda leader Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan. Regardless of my opposition to most of Obama's policies, I have to commend him for green-lighting an operation which successfully eliminated a known enemy of the U.S. 

As I wrote yesterday, it is best to conduct these types of operations deniably and without any confirmation. But the most important thing is that the president believes in deploying special forces to assassinate our enemies. It demonstrates that Afghanistan-Pakistan isn't the only area where he is willing to kill Al Qaeda members.

One other thing to note about yesterday's operation. This action illustrates why I support the use of assassin teams to hunt our enemies. Notice the difference between this raid and a drone strike. Drone strikes because of their nature often kill significant numbers of bystanders, including women and children. It is also extremely difficult to confirm whether or not the designated target was even present, let alone eliminated. In contrast, the use of a team rather than aerial attack allows for clear identification, and far greater precision. Killing the enemy is good. Getting the wrong person, or getting a bunch of innocent people is counterproductive. Wherever possible the use of assassination teams, whether from the CIA or military/naval special forces, should be the preferred method.

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