Former CIA Official: Drone War Kills Innocents, Creates Terrorist Safe Havens

Making the rounds today is a piece up at the Guardian in which a former top CIA terrorism official admits the obvious: that the drone war if overly broad, kills too many civilians, provokes anti-American hatred, and could inadvertently create terrorist safe havens.

Now Robert Grenier, who headed the CIA’s counter-terrorism center from 2004 to 2006 and was previously a CIA station chief in Pakistan, has told the Guardian that the drone programme is targeted too broadly. “It [the drone program] needs to be targeted much more finely. We have been seduced by them and the unintended consequences of our actions are going to outweigh the intended consequences,” Grenier said in an interview.

“We have gone a long way down the road of creating a situation where we are creating more enemies than we are removing from the battlefield. We are already there with regards to Pakistan and Afghanistan,” he said.

Grenier said the strikes were too indiscriminate and causing outrage among the civilian population in the country, lending support to Islamists and seeing a growth in anti-US sentiment.

“That brings you to a place where young men, who are typically armed, are in the same area and may hold these militants in a certain form of high regard. If you strike them indiscriminately you are running the risk of creating a terrific amount of popular anger. They have tribes and clans and large families. Now all of a sudden you have a big problem … I am very concerned about the creation of a larger terrorist safe haven in Yemen,” Grenier said.

I guess this is a follow-up to what I called a “belated revelation” last month when James Traub at wrote “The danger of producing more militants than we kill in Yemen hardly seems hypothetical.” Way to get on the bandwagon, was my general message. Experts in the area have been singing this tune for a very long time. Grenier was based in Pakistan, but now that the news is very much focused on the expanded campaign in Yemen, I’ll reprint a compiled list of expert opinion on this blowback question:

Gregory Johnsen, a Yemen expert at Princeton University (who Traub actually quotes), recently wrote, “Body bags are not a good barometer for success in a war like this. I would argue that U.S. missile strike[s] are actually one of the major — not the only, but a major — factor in AQAP’s growing strength.”

Jeremy Scahill, reporting for Nation, exposed in February after visiting Yemen how U.S. airstrikes that kill civilians and those ill-defined as militants – along with support for the brutal Yemeni government  – foments anti-Americanism and fuels international terrorism.

As Charles Schmitz, a Yemen expert at Towson University in Maryland, told the Los Angeles Times, “The more the U.S. applies its current policy, the stronger Al Qaeda seems to get.”

“U.S. involvement is far more than ever in Yemen. We have no evidence that all those being killed are terrorists,” Abdul Salam Mohammed, director of Abaad Strategic Center, told CNN. “With every U.S. attack that is conducted in Yemen al Qaeda is only growing in power and we have to ask ourselves why that is happening.”

“Drones are a weapon of terror in many ways, and the kind of hostility this is going to breed may not be worth the counter-terrorism gains,” says Barbara Bodine, who was U.S. ambassador to Yemen from 1997 to 2001.

It’s notable that Grenier was a top CIA “counter-terrorism” official under the Bush administration. Most Bush officials have come out as stalwart defenders of Obama’s foreign policy, but this one notably is concerned he has gone too far. We’re at a point now where Obama is counting “all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants,” as administration officials told the New York Times, “unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent.” If anyone thinks we won’t be garnering any new enemies with that kind of policy, maybe its time they applied for a gig at the CIA.

  • Greta Mitschelen

    Wow! This blog is cool! How can I make it look this good ?

  • We are already there with regards to Pakistan and Afghanistan,” he said.

  • Walter Cole

    Murder and War Crime: It seems to me, that it doesn´t matter who we are killing with our drones, if the country involved does not approve the strike; it is then murder and a war crime. Pakistan did not give prior approval for the assassination of Osama bin Laden, so that too was a murder and war crime.

    Don´t pay attention to the hype about who they kill, whether they were terrorists or not, because it is totally irrelevant in the cases where the local government didn´t give prior approval for the attack.

  • Pingback: CA Rep. Says Drone Strikes Creating ‘Real Enemies’ « Blog()

  • Pingback: US Drone Strike Kills 9 in Yemen -- News from

  • Pingback: House Members Call on Obama to Legally Justify ‘Signature’ Drone Strikes -- News from

  • Pingback: House Members Call on Obama to Legally Justify ‘Signature’ Drone Strikes « Stop Making Sense()

  • lending support to Islamists and seeing a growth in anti-US sentiment.

    • That conveys you to a spot where youthful men, who are regularly furnished, are in the same territory and may hold these aggressors in a certain type of high respect. On the off chance that you strike them unpredictably you are running the danger of making a spectacular measure of mainstream indignation.
      click here

  • Pingback: Is ‘Drone Blowback’ Really a Fallacy? « Blog()

  • Obama, performing his standup drone routine, deals with a protestor

    Check out the controversial anti-drone animation, COLLATERAL DAMAGE, at:

  • Drones will become a way to survey suspected individuals, but it could cause a problem if used on the innocent.

  • Drones are a weapon of terror in many ways, and the kind of hostility this is going to breed may not be worth the counter-terrorism gains

  • Renee J. Leija

    Education is cutting edge in character, in so far that it guarantees that the person who gets good education gets a secure future. Our profit is expanded by getting new aptitudes and abilities through click for furious writing services reviews here education.

  • We are already there with regards to Pakistan and Afghanistan,” he said.

  • Located just half an hour south of Atlanta Hartsfield Airport is 65,000 acres of rolling woods, farmlands, streams and trails called the Chattahoochee Hill Country. Nestled in the midst of this nature wonderland is the Inn at Serenbe, a rustic getaway that is perfect for romance.bed breakfast atlanta

  • If you want to participate in the IT industry’s important SAP P_SD_64 examination, it is necessary to select SAP P_SD_64 exam training database. Through SAP P_SD_64 examination certification, you will be get a better guarantee. In your career, at least in the IT industry, your skills and knowledge will get international recognition and acceptance. This is one of the reasons that why lot of people choose SAP P_SD_64 certification exam. So this exam is increasingly being taken seriously. So this exam is increasingly being taken seriously.

  • I have the full understanding of the parameters( Spectra ) on the script in which I believe the first important thing to learn. i want to say that you have done a great job.

  • Your blog is very nice. I am really enjoy reading it. Thanks for sharing.

  • This is really nice post guys i want to say that this is really nice and informative post … Keep it up guys please keep posting…

  • Your site is really good .. Keep it up guys please guys share with us more post in future.. Thanks again just for that you share with us more post in future..

  • This is a wonderful article. I would like to suggest you that please keep sharing such type of info. Thanks. I really found this to much informatics. It is what i was searching fo

  • This is a great article. I might want to recommend you that please continue offering such sort of insight. Much appreciated. I truly discovered this to much educational. It is the thing that i was scanning for..

  • This article is really nice .. Thanks a lot for sharing this type of nice and informative post.. I appreciate your hard working guys… Thanks again guys.. You always share with us very informative post …

    • ufetcher

      I agree with your comment. this post has really Amazing story you have shared with us. The writing style of this post is really great and informative for everyone. locksmith overland park ks

  • Keep posting guys. This website is really awesome.. I want to say thanks a lot.. Please guys share with us more informative and useful post in future..

  • This is really very amazing post. Your writing style shows that you have enough knowledge on this issue.

  • I have read this post and if I could I want to suggest you few interesting things that will be you can write next articles referring to this issue. I want to read more things about it.

  • Magnificent post this is. Lots of helpful info here. Thank you on your effort for creating this post.

  • Interesting topic shown here, I am now forwarding this to my friends on social media sites. Keep it up

  • Excellent post and wonderful blog. I really like this type of interesting information. I just would want to give a huge thumb up for your best info!

  • Brilliant post you have shared in this blog, with informative stuff, i want to say thanks for this post.

  • The quality of student is made in the education of higher level. However, the foundation is very important for the higher education of any student. The prosperity of students is linked with the progressive nature of academics.

  • This is really interesting. You are a very skilled blogger. I am trying to find amazing info in this website. Keep it up!

  • thanks for sharing

  • I like your witting style,i am impressed with your work.

  • Thank you for this inspiring article very good to read.

  • I really enjoyed reading that content.tokojammurahonline

  • Unique style of this post you have shared with us. .I also hope you can let me know more about your news.

  • ??? ???? ????? ??? ???. ?? ????? ?? ??? ??????????? ??? ?? ??? ???? ??? ????? ?????? ????? ??????.

  • Alic

    <h2>Tarzana Security Guards</h2>
    Tarzana Security Guards – At GuardNow Security Guard Services, our highly trained security guards are committed to ensuring your protection and to promoting your peace of mind.

  • Great job. I want say thank you so much for share this excellent post..I am reading your post. You are doing really good work. .. Purchase now

  • This blog looking so useful and its info.I must read it all and i am going to book mark it. Thanks all the posts.

  • This is an awesome website from which i have got a lot of informative and interesting things.It increases my knowledge and i am very thankful to you for sharing this here.