Sunday, September 25, 2011

"Expanding Network of Drone Bases To Hit Somalia, Yemen"

I was recently quoted in Jim Lobe's Inter Press Service piece about the Obama administration's move to expand its network of bases to carry out drone attacks in Somalia and Yemen. Here's my quote:

"There could certainly be a lot of internal discussion before they would agree to authorise the use of a base (for armed drones)," said David Shinn, a former U.S. ambassador to Addis Ababa. "They don't want to be seen as a pawn of anyone."

Shinn, who teaches at George Washington University, said the use of armed drones should be highly constrained and warned against its becoming "the default policy for dealing with Somalia".

"I don't see a problem with using an aerial strike with a couple of huge caveats," he told IPS. "First, that you have intelligence which is 95 percent accurate or better on a high value target - which is a pretty tough standard - and, second, that there's little or no likelihood of collateral damage. If you're using these things willy- nilly on the basis of not very good intelligence, then it will be counter-productive."

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