Dennis Blair’s statement shocked many people in the US as the admiral has been in charge of the entire American effort to find, track, and take out terrorists
He said, “Call off the unilateral US drone war in Pakistan and rethink the idea of spending billions of dollars to pursue al-Qaida.”
He said that though some low level terrorists had been killed in the attacks, they were not strategically effective.
Blair was speaking to the audience at the Aspen Security Forum. “it’s not going to lower the threat to the US” Al-Qaida and its allies have proven, he said.
He said American relations with the Pakistani government are at their lowest point in years. And every time Washington tries to tip off Islamabad to a raid, it seems, the targets of the raid seem to conveniently skip town.
It’s one of many reasons why it’s a mistake to “have that campaign dominate our overall relations” with countries like Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. “Because we’re alienating the countries concerned, because we’re treating countries just as places where we go attack groups that threaten us, we are threatening the prospects of long-term reform,” Blair said.
The “unilateral” strikes in Pakistan have to come to an end, he added, and be replaced with operations that had the full cooperation of the government in Islamabad. The effort needed “two hands on the trigger,” Blair said. And strikes should be launched only when “we agree with them on what drone attacks” should target.