Targeted strikes now US policy

Posted on June 30, 2011

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5:30 AM Friday Jul 1, 2011
nzherald

The United States will push ahead with more targeted drone strikes and special operations raids and fewer costly land battles such as Iraq and Afghanistan in the continuing operations against al-Qaeda, according to a new national counterterrorism strategy revealed yesterday.

The doctrine, two years in the making, comes in the aftermath of the successful special operations raid that killed al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in May, and a week after President Barack Obama’s announcement that US troops will begin leaving Afghanistan in the middle of this year.

The document is a purposeful departure from the Bush Administration’s global “war on terror”.

White House counterterrorism chief John Brennan said that more resources would be spent on the fight at home to spot would-be militants and their recruiters.

“Our best offence won’t always be deploying large armies abroad, but delivering targeted, surgical pressure to the groups that threaten us,” Brennan said at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

The operations Brennan describes are almost solely the province of the intelligence and military special operations agencies but including special operations trainers who work with host nations’ militaries.

As for threats from abroad, Brennan said the strategy relies on “surgical” action against specific groups to eliminate their leadership and deny them refuges.

It also rejects costly wars like Iraq and Afghanistan that bleed the US economically and feed al-Qaeda’s narrative that America is out to occupy Muslim countries. He said the US would work whenever possible to help host countries fight al-Qaeda so the US did not have to.

– AP

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