Pakistan: Press reports indicate a US drone attack killed a senior Pakistani Taliban leader and, variously, from four to seven comrades today. The Pakistani Taliban denied that Wali ur Rehman Mehsud was killed.
Comment: Reaction to this drone attack has been mixed, but the timing relative to political developments in Pakistan is unfortunate. The new parliament has not yet convened and the new government is not in place. Prime Minister-nominee Nawaz Sharif promised peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban to try to restore law and order and he promised to stop the drone strikes.
One commentator said the attack shows the US has no respect for Pakistan. Another opined that peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban are now dead.
Phi Beta Iota: Along with the elective wars on Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, as well as the many destabilization missions being run in the Caucasus and Africa, this one drone strike provides a classic example of the incoherence (non0existence) of a US Government integrated foreign and national security policy playbook.
At the strategic level, this one drone strike at this time and in this place, has impacted negatively on Pakistani stabilization essential to the transition out of Afghanistan.
At the operational level, this one success must be viewed in the context of a very expensive program with a 98% collateral damage record that has also gutted CIA as a human collection and all-source analytic endeavor.
At the tactical level, this is a success that demonstrates that the Pentagon is no longer the fighting arm of the US Government, that the Department of State has no control over what other elements of the US Government do beyond the waters edge, and that money is still flowing for many things that the USA should not be doing.
At the technical level, this use of a drone to kill, by an intelligence agency, does posit the question, why is CIA not creating a close-in reconnaissance program, since the NRO is useless and the Pentagon no longer has tactical or operational air breathers that can do air-breather collection in every clime and place?