Drone-launched missiles are now hitting lower-level al Qaeda and Taliban personnel, camps, training areas, bomb makers, buildings and other targets in the remote region.
“You’ve had an expanded target set for time now, and given the danger these groups pose and their relative inaccessibility, these kinds of strikes — precise and effective — have become almost like the cannon fire of this war. They’re no longer extraordinary or even unusual,” the official said.
The US counterterrorism official who likened Hellfire missile attacks to cannon fire, reached for a comparison which though perhaps ill-conceived is also revealing. If drone warfare is meant to epitomize precision, nothing represents blunt force more than a cannon.
As for the claim that big-name targets have now given way to an expanded range of lower level targets, US officials who still insist that there have been no more than a handful of civilians killed in drone attacks might be posed a basic challenge: How often can they even name the dead?