The New Yorker has a good piece detailing the raid on Osama Bin Laden’s compound and narrating the behind the scenes saga that led up to it. In their own words, the Al Qaeda leadership speaks to the effectiveness of the predator drone strike program:
…there were more missile strikes inside Pakistan during Obama’s first year in office than in George W. Bush’s eight. The terrorists swiftly registered the impact: that July, CBS reported that a recent Al Qaeda communiqué had referred to “brave commanders” who had been “snatched away” and to “so many hidden homes [which] have been levelled.” The document blamed the “very grave” situation on spies who had “spread throughout the land like locusts.”
And before anyone begins by thinking, “Well, you know, we probably kill 20 civilians for each terrorist we nab,” …no. Just no. Please observe the civilian vs. Taliban/AQ deaths chart, gathered from Pakistani news outlets and other sources by the Long War Journal:
Even in the most intense year, 2010, drone strikes were over 98% accurate. The reality is, it is better to have 2% collateral damage in order to stop those who intentionally target and kill civilians in cold blood.