While Obama insists that the “hostilities” that have erupted between Gaddafi’s regime and rebels necessitated US response with weapons of war in conjunction with NATO — but is by no means a war — American drones have come down hard in Libya.
President Obama will tell you that America’s involvement in the Libyan conflict does not constitute an act of war. In the meantime, however, US drones have conducted nearly triple the amount of airstrikes in Libya than they have in Pakistan, despite lacking congressional approval.
Now with the reported death of Gaddafi, the numbers are coming in regarding how much of a war Obama’s non-war has become. Between April 21 and this morning, robotic, unmanned Predator drones have conducted 145 airstrikes in Libya, reveals Pentagon spokesman George Little.
In Pakistan, however, where drone surveillance and strikes have become practically commonplace and have caused concern not just from locals but concerned Americans upset over the massive civilian deaths caused by the crafts, the number of drone strikes is but a fraction. This year the US has launched only 57 drone strikes in Pakistan, where the American military aims to take down terrorists from neighboring Afghanistan who, like former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin laden, have taken refuge.
Even after Libyan rebels (read: “the good guys”) ousted Gaddafi in late August, US drones dropped 52 additionally missiles on the capital city of Tripoli.
Yes, in the two months that rebels have had control of Tripoli, the US has dropped only five missiles short of the number they’ve launched on Pakistan in all of 2011 thus far.
A March 2011 drone strike on Islamabad, Pakistan killed 26, over a dozen of whom were innocent civilians. Following the attack, Defense Minister Ahmed Mukhtar ordered America to vacate a base in Shamsi, Pakistan that it had been using to operate drone missions from.
If the aftermath of the execution of bin Laden is any example, drones will continue to fly high over the skies of Tripoli in the months to come. As RT reported yesterday, US drones conducted nearly 23,000 surveillance missions over Afghanistan in the first nine months of 2011. Last month a drone strike in Yemen killed two American citizens believed to have al-Qaeda ties and, meanwhile, the Pentagon is working to build drone bases n the Arabian Peninsula, Ethiopia and the Indian Ocean archipelago nation of Seychelles.