Two-thirds of National Journal's National Security Insiders believe that the Obama administration's increasing use of drone strikes to kill terrorism suspects overseas is the right approach—but many cautioned that Washington should not overuse the tactic.
“The drone strike tactic … cuts both ways. Kills terrorists and infrastructure but reinforces view of some that U.S. is at war with Islam,” said one Insider who supports the accelerated use of drone strikes targeting militants in countries including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. “[We] need to develop local allies to fight and control territory." Another added: “It is right but insufficient. Whack-a-mole only goes so far."
Another Insider said that drone strikes should be reserved for very high-value targets, cautioning that the United States has become too casual in its reliance on this controversial approach. “As with most technologies that look low-cost and uniquely to our advantage in the short term, mission creep has set in,” the Insider said. “The White House needs a critical mind to rein in the use of this controversial tool."
Drone strikes are part of the right approach, but they need to fit within a well-orchestrated, whole strategy that includes public diplomacy, foreign aid, and intelligence, according to one Insider. “Right now, we have the kinetic piece about right. But the other pieces aren't playing as well as they should—so it seems as if we're off-key."