December 29, 2012

The excellent Dec. 25 front-page article Yemen tries to cover up drone hits” demonstrated that the United States has not learned the lesson taught by Pakistan. I recently traveled to Pakistan as part of a Codepink delegation to witness the impact of U.S. drone strikes in the country’s northern territories, and it quickly became clear why the Pew Research Center reported in June that 74 percent of Pakistanis now consider the United States an enemy.

One attorney who has been interviewing youths held by Pakistani authorities for having links to extremist organizations told us that their “primary motivator is the U.S. drone strikes. They breed anger, hatred and desperation.” The same dynamic is clearly at work now in Yemen.

We may think that we are winning by killing “terrorists,” but the victory will be overshadowed in the longer term by the consequences of a Yemeni government that is distrusted by its own constituents and by a populace that believes “the enemy of my enemy [the United States] is my friend.”

Pam Bailey, Alexandria