Miliband and Kilcullen

by | May 29, 2009

As regular readers will know, Global Dashboard is a hotbed of David Kilcullen fandom – so bravo to David Miliband for noting on his blog that Kilcullen’s his “favourite Australian analyst”.  But it also raises an interesting question, which I’ve just put to Miliband via the comments section on his post:

Out of curiosity, what do you make of Kilcullen’s argument on US use of drone attacks in Pakistan? He wrote recently that,

” While violent extremists may be unpopular, for a frightened population they seem less ominous than a faceless enemy that wages war from afar and often kills more civilians than militants. Press reports suggest that over the last three years drone strikes have killed about 14 terrorist leaders. But, according to Pakistani sources, they have also killed some 700 civilians. This is 50 civilians for every militant killed, a hit rate of 2 percent — hardly “precision.”

“Expanding or even just continuing the drone war is a mistake. In fact, it would be in our best interests, and those of the Pakistani people, to declare a moratorium on drone strikes into Pakistan.”

Do you think that’s right?  And if so, is there a case for the UK disassociating itself from US policy on this – particularly given how much of a focus for grievance drone attacks are becoming among UK-Pakistani diaspora communities?

Update: David Miliband has now replied to my question – see his subsequent blog post here.  David Steven has done a detailed response to Miliband’s reply here.


  • Alex Evans

    Alex Evans is founder of the Collective Psychology Project, which explores how we can use psychology to reduce political tribalism and polarisation, a senior fellow at New York University, and author of The Myth Gap: What Happens When Evidence and Arguments Aren’t Enough? (Penguin, 2017). He is a former Campaign Director of the 50 million member global citizen’s movement Avaaz, special adviser to two UK Cabinet Ministers, climate expert in the UN Secretary-General’s office, and was Research Director for the Business Commission on Sustainable Development. He was part of Ethiopia’s delegation to the Paris climate summit and has consulted for Oxfam, WWF UK, the UK Cabinet Office and US State Department. Alex lives with his wife and two children in Yorkshire.

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