FB   
 
Powered bysps
        Society for Policy Studies
 
 

 
US has taken targeted killings to new high: Author Mark Mazzetti
Posted:Jan 26, 2014
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 
By Vikas Datta

Targeted killings of terrorists in badlands of the world has been taken to a new high by the US and looks likely to intensify in the foreseeable future amid indications that other major powers may also adopt the technique, says a chronicler of America's shadow war on terror.

Mark Mazzetti, author of "The Way of the Knife", said here that it was an unprecedented power vested in the American president.

"There has been no point when the American president had the power to decide about the life or death an individual in a foreign land," Mazzetti, who is the national security correspondent with the New York Times, said in an interview to IANS at the Jaipur Literary Festival 2014.

"Targeted killings have seen before 9/11... but never on this scale and reach. 9/11 was a cataclysmic moment for the US and led it to embark on a new kind of war. Use of armed drones and special operation forces against terrorists came out of the lab in response and will only intensify," he said

"It has become a central part of the foreign and national security policy of the US," he said.

Agreeing targeted killings have been used by certain countries, notably Israel, Mazzetti noted that Israel had also invented drones but never used both of these to the extent US had employed them.

"(US President Barack) Obama has ended the war in Iraq and looks to do the same in Afghanistan but is intensifying the strikes," he said.

Mazzetti said he did not see the targeted strikes ending soon but noted there were indications that the US monopoly on it will soon end.

"Technology of this is proliferating... one day, Russia or China, or for that matter, India will decide to use drones for the same policy. When that happens, it will be difficult for the US to criticise them," he said.

To a query if the technique was counter-productive in respect that it led to the rise of a new generation of terrorists, Mazzetti said that its effects on radicalization were unclear.

'It has been successful in wiping out the Al Qaeda leadership as well as terror groups planning to attack America but it was unclear that it had any effect of radicalization. It is a tool for killing terrorists. Of course, with the terrorists, some others.. innocent people have been killed. Its hard to know if it has radicalized the people in the areas where it has been employed.

"There is anecdotal evidence of radicalization... even Faisal Shahzad (the Pakistan-born US citizen who made an abortive attempt to blow up the Times Square in 2010) cited the drone attacks as the trigger....

"It is a tool for killing terrorists.... This is war and nothing in it is without costs and consequences," he said.

 At a session earlier in the day, Mazzetti said the Obama administration sought to contrast its policy from the George W. Bush regime's "hammer" method to that of the scalpel, thus implying a clean and surgical strike to take out terrorists in Pakistan, Yemen, and Africa, but he had chosen to represent it by a a knife since "knife-fights are bloodier and messier".

"In the process, the CIA was transformed from an espionage and intelligence-gathering outfit to a paramilitary force for lethal targeting of terrorists," he said, adding that the new role of the CIA in the war against terror came after the revelations of torture methods such as "waterboarding", till "one point when the agency saw killing of terrorists better than interrogating them over the legal complications of torture".

 "There is far less legal controversy over killing terrorists than torturing them," he said.

 The phenomenon had also blurred the clearly demarcated lines between the soldiers and spies, with both taking on the roles normally performed by each other, he said.

On what prompted him to write this book, Mazzetti told IANS he wanted to put all these actions since 2001 together. "The war has played out.. I wanted to write a history of the shadow war. Also some classified information about 9/11 had become available."

"It was a story waiting to be told."

(Vikas Datta can be contacted at vikas.d@ians.in)

--Indo-Asian News Service

 
 
 
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 

Disclaimer: South Asia Monitor does not accept responsibility for the views or ideology expressed in any article, signed or unsigned, which appears on its site. What it does accept is responsibility for giving it a chance to appear and enter the public discourse.
Comments (Total Comments 0) Post Comments Post Comment
Review
 
 
 
 
Thirteen year old Bhuma (name changed) spends his day at home. He does not go to school, or play with children in his neighborhood to avoid being laughed at.
 
read-more
A pre-dawn  suicide terror attack (fidayeen)  on an army camp in the Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday (April 27)   resulted in the death of three army personnel including an officer,  while two terrorists were neutralized. Combing operations are in progress to ascertain if any of the attackers have
 
read-more
The April 13 Mother of All Bombs (MOAB) strike by the United States on ISIS terrorists in Afghanistan has triggered suggestions that a second round of the Cold War is set to begin. Particularly as the new US President, Donald Trump, seems to be brash, abrasive and capable of taking action without thinking of consequences.
 
read-more
India should be extremely wary of any Trump involvement on the Kashmir issue because he would do anything to bring India to the table, writes Dr. Susmit Kumar for South Asia Monitor.
 
read-more
The core parts of the controversial Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system have been moved to the site of what had been a golf course in southern South Korea.
 
read-more
spotlight image Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sprang a surprise when he registered himself as a candidate in Iran’s presidential election scheduled for May 19. After leaving the office of President in 2013 at the end of two controversial terms, the firebrand populist has been largely inactive in politics. 
 
read-more
spotlight image I am honored to be here today for the first U.S. government exchange alumni conference for India and Bhutan.
 
read-more
Health of the citizens and the economy of the nation they inhabit go hand in hand and every buck spent on former guarantees a manifold increase in the latter,  said noted public health expert K Srikant Reddy. The lecture 'Health and Development: India Must Bridge the Disconnect' was ...
 
read-more
Column-image

Title: Bollywood Boom; Author: Roopa Swaminathan; Publisher: Penguin; Price: Rs 399; Pages: 221

 
Column-image

Title: Defeat is an Orphan: How Pakistan Lost the Great South Asian War; Author: Myra Macdonald; Publisher: Penguin Random House India; Pages: 328; Price: Rs 599

 
Column-image

  The story of Afghanistan -- of the war against the Soviets and of terrorism that has gripped the landlocked country ever since -- is in many ways also the story of diplomat Masood Khalili, who motivated his people and led them...

 
Column-image

Title: The Golden Legend; Author: Nadeem Aslam; Publisher: Penguin Random House; Pages: 376; Price: Rs 599

 
Column-image

Over the Years, a collection of 106 short articles, offers us interesting sidelights on the currents and cross- currents in the public life of India during two distinctive periods: (I) 1987 to 1991 and (II ) 2010 to the present.

 
Subscribe to our newsletter
Archive