There is widespread consensus among national security experts that the drone program is the least bad available option to pressure the Al Qaeda leadership and its Taliban allies. This is because the Pakistani government--divided between a barely functional civilian arm and a strong but unelected army--has wavered between ineffective punitive expeditions against the extremists and appeasement. Neither the military nor the political establishment has articulated an effective plan to rid the country of its jihadist militants. And so, for the moment, the drones are the only game in town.
But the drone program is a tactic, not a strategy. Bruce Hoffman, a professor at Georgetown widely regarded as the dean of terrorism studies, says, "We are deluding ourselves if we think in and of itself the drone program is going to be the answer," pointing out that the 2006 U.S. airstrike which killed the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab Al Zarqawi, did not exactly shut down the organization. Following Zarqawi's death, violence in Iraq actually accelerated.

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