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McChrystal opposes drone strikes

February 10, 2013

At the launching ceremony of his book, “My Share of the Task”, on Friday evening, the retired general repeated what he had said earlier that US drone strikes were “hated on a visceral level”. — File Photo by AP

WASHINGTON: There’s widespread resentment against drone strikes in Pakistan, says the former commander of US and Nato forces in Afghanistan, Gen Stanley McChrystal.

At the launching ceremony of his book, “My Share of the Task”, on Friday evening, the retired general repeated what he had said earlier that US drone strikes were “hated on a visceral level”.

He warned that too many drone strikes in Pakistan without identifying suspected militants individually can be a bad thing.

Gen McChrystal said he understood why Pakistanis, even in the areas not affected by the drones, reacted negatively against the strikes.

He asked the Americans how they would react if a neighbouring country like Mexico started firing drone missiles at targets in Texas.

The Pakistanis, he said, saw the drones as a demonstration of America’s might against their nation and reacted accordingly.

“What scares me about drone strikes is how they are perceived around the world,” Gen McChrystal said in an earlier interview.

“The resentment created by American use of unmanned strikes ... is much greater than the average American appreciates. They are hated on a visceral level, even by people who’ve never seen one or seen the effects of one.”

The former US commander urged his government to use the missiles responsibly.