POLITICS
05/10/2010 03:25 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

White House Won't Address Drone Strike Debate

The Obama administration is refusing to acknowledge whether it is revisiting or even addressing its policy of predatory drone strikes after the Times Square bomber cited the tactic as a catalyst for his decision to launch the near-attack.

Asked what kind of discussions (if any) had taken place internally following a reported admission by Faisal Shahzad that drone strikes in Pakistan had compelled him to a life of terrorism, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs was mum.

"None that I will get into publicly," he said, in response to a question from the Huffington Post.

The policy of launching drone strikes in Pakistan as a way of targeting and killing terrorist suspects was controversial well before Shahzad attempted to blow up a car in Times Square. Civilian deaths as a result of those attacks are believed to have caused a rise in anti-American sentiment within the country: spurring the question as to whether they are creating more terrorists than they are eliminating.

The White House has refused to discuss the matter at all, citing national security implications. But before Gibbs spoke, Gen Stanley McChrystal -- the top US commander in Afghanistan -- did stress that keeping civilian deaths at a minimum is a strategic priority in his domain of responsibility.

"I obviously can't address things in Pakistan," McChrystal said. "I can tell you that inside Afghanistan the importance of reducing those causalities and convince the Afghanistan people that we are here for their welfare is absolutely strategic and so we give it that effort."