Obama accused of politically motivated drone attacks

Jim Kouri by Jim Kouri on June 11th, 2012

This is article 165 of 302 in the topic US Military

On Sunday, Pakistan‘s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani accused Obama of ordering unmanned aerial vehicle, or drone, strikes in his country to boost his political image, according to an Israeli security source who monitors Islamic nations.

More than a few political commentators and counterterrorism analysts on Sunday morning’s television news shows spoke of President Barack Obama’s abysmal week dealing with a lethargic economy, accusations of intelligence leaks and misstatements that provided ammunition for his opponents. But the criticisms didn’t end there. Prime Minister Gilani’s stated that Barack Obama is “using drone strikes in Pakistani tribal regions for political motives.”

The Prime Minister’s verbal assault came a day after President Obama allegedly ordered a “sharp increase” in drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas aimed at killing members of al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

“The United States is into the election year and Obama’s decision has been aimed at gaining political mileage,” Pakistani Prime Minister said during a press conference.

The U.S. officials were quoted as responding that Obama’s decision to increase drone attacks reflected the “mounting U.S. frustration with Pakistan over a growing list of disputes.”

But Gilani said that dialogue is going on with the United States regarding a supply line issue in light of the recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security, which continues to demand an apology from the United States over the killing of 24 soldiers in November during a drone strike.

“The Pakistanis want what Obama gives to others at the drop of a hat — an apology. But the problem is Obama usually apologizes for the actions of other people and the past [Bush] administration. He apologizes on behalf of the American people or for American policies from previous administrations. Have you ever heard him apologize for something he did or he ordered done?” asks political strategist Mike Baker.

“Who is the more moral person? A man like Bush who believes in using military force? Or a man like Obama, who is against the use of military force — unless he lied all those years — but uses it to score political points so he can continue his true agenda? Which is the fundamental transformation of America,” Baker noted.

On Thursday, the U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta stated in Kabul that the United States was running out of patience with Pakistan. He alleged that the country was being used as a safe haven by terrorists from neighboring Afghanistan.

A day earlier he had stated in during his visit to India that the U.S. military will continue drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal regions.

Pakistan quickly rejected Panetta’s statements and said that he was “oversimplifying some of the very complex issues we are dealing with in our efforts against extremism and terrorism.”

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