The people we are assassinating in Pakistan

The news that Osama bin Laden had been killed caused such a sensation that many people will retain a ‘where were you when you heard’ memory of it for the rest of their lives.  But the US is assassinating Al Qaeda and Taliban figures in Pakistan on a fairly regular basis: most recently, Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, the Libyan who had emerged as Al Qaeda’s top operational planner and was killed in a drone strike two weeks ago.  That made the news, though it was easy to miss; most of the people in Pakistan targeted for assassination by the US are unknown to all but area specialists and their deaths go unnoticed.  But as recently as a decade ago such assassinations would have been regarded as controversial (at best) and presumed to be illegal (at worst), so the effort by the Long War Journal to track all those assassinated by the US in Pakistan is a worthy endeavor.  Alas, not a sustained effort: their list was last updated in January 2010.  But their site has much more comprehensive and timely data on the US airstrikes campaign in Pakistan — of which the assassinations are one part — and is a superb resource for learning what the amorphous ‘war on terror’ really looks like on the ground.

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Click here to read the post I wrote asking why Osama bin Laden was still at large five days before he was killed, or here for my response to his death and what it means for the so-called war on terror.  Click here for my thoughts on the tenth anniversary of the September 11th attacks or here for my journals from that day after standing on a street corner in downtown Manhattan watching the World Trade Center collapse.  Click here for my reaction to a prominent liberal hawk’s belated reconsideration of the merits of invading Iraq.

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