Peter Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann have a new report out on drone strikes in Pakistan, coming to the conclusion that about a third of the deaths caused by drone strikes are civilians. Spencer Ackerman suggests the estimate may be low.
In the report, Bergen and Tiedemann note that Pakistanis have a very low opinion of the drone strikes, 9 percent according to the Gallup poll they cite. At the same time, both a recent Pew poll from August and a poll that was released earlier this month show Pakistanis growing more concerned about religious extremists and more unfavorable toward al-Qaeda and the Taliban even as the administration was upping the use of drone strikes--and even as frustration with the United States was growing.
So they're certainly controversial, and they appear to have caused the loss of a great deal of civilian life. But for some reason, they're not earning AQ or the Taliban any sympathy.
UPDATE: I feel the need to emphasize that this isn't an endorsement of drone strikes--merely an observation that while they certainly make Pakistanis dislike us, AQ and the Taliban don't seem to be benefiting from that.
-- A. Serwer
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