“Nine years into the drone program, it is now clear that while drones are useful in keeping al Qaeda and its affiliates off-balance, the assassination of operatives by unmanned aircraft has not led to the demise of the organization or its virulent ideology.”
Bill Roggio of the Long War Journal discusses the drone campaign:
Strategic context: “The new focus on drones raises a number of important issues, not least of which is the soundness of basing a military strategy on something that is merely a tactic.”
Effectiveness: “Instead of being defeated, al Qaeda has metastasized beyond the Afghan-Pakistan border areas, and has cropped up in Yemen, Somalia, North Africa (including in Mali), and even in the Egyptian Sinai. Other close allies, such as the Al Nusrah front in Syria, and Boko Haram in Nigeria, threaten to join the global jihad.”
The not so covert assassination program: “Instead of carefully explaining the need for the program, Obama administration officials leak information about the program to select officials in an effort to project toughness against al Qaeda.”
International perception: “The US is also widely viewed in the Muslim world as running roughshod over the sovereignty…by conducting these strikes.”
How is success defined?