Haykal Bafana from Yemen tweets: "Dear Obama, when a US drone missile kills a child in Yemen, the father will go to war with you, guaranteed. Nothing to do with Al Qaeda." This reminded me of growing up in post-war Serbia and even of our recent presidential campaign. Although many of us enjoyed American pop culture, the people in Serbia hated and still do, the American government with a passion. Unjustified aggression does that to people. The hatred is still so strong towards president Clinton for the bombing of 1999 that during the presidential election many in the diaspora in the U.S. saw Trump as the better choice. There are billboards in Serbia praising Trump for beating Hillary because she (although those were her husband's actions) symbolizes the aggression, pain, suffering and loss we felt 18 years ago. Now, how can we expect people in the 7 countries the U.S. is currently bombing to act any differently when my people feel this way for 78 days under bombs and many around the world have been suffering for almost a decade?
Today we have a president who is outspoken, to say the least, and has said that his counterterrorism policy is to "bomb the s**t out of ISIS." After the U.S. continued its drone strikes in 2009, the number of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula core members grew from 300 to 700 in 2012. Some terrorists, such as the "Underwear Bomber" who attempted to detonate explosives aboard an American commercial airliner, and the "Times Square Bomber" who attempted to set off a car bomb in New York City, cited the drone strikes in Somalia, Pakistan, and Yemen as the motivators. Although the Obama administration praised the use of drones for more precise attacks that kill militants with high leadership roles, only a small percentage is actually eliminated in drone strikes. Reuters reports that the CIA believes it killed around 500 militants between 2008 and 2010, but only 14 of those were top tier military targets. Drones killed 12 times more low-level fighters in that time period than the supposed high ranking targets. Essentially, what actually happens is drone strikes creating far more terrorists than they can eliminate.