Bloomberg News

Obama Says Drone Strikes Important Weapon Against Terrorists

February 02, 2012

Jan. 30 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama said drone strikes on terrorism targets have been “very precise” and will remain a key part of the fight against terrorists.

The drone strikes by U.S. forces “have not caused a huge number of civilian casualties,” Obama said in a question-and- answer session with the public conducted through Google Inc.’s social networking site Google+.

“It is important for everybody to understand that this thing is kept on a very tight leash,” Obama said. Drone strikes on targets inside Pakistan have increased friction between the U.S. and Pakistani authorities.

In response to another question, Obama said the U.S. relationship with Pakistan has deteriorated in part because the nation’s leaders either lack the political will or the capacity to take on extremists.

“Our relations have gotten more strained because there are a lot of extremists inside that country,” he said.

Still, he said continued U.S. aid to Pakistan and other nations is important to U.S. security.

“We only spend about one percent of our budget on foreign aid, but it pays off in a lot of ways,” he said.

On a domestic policy topic, Obama said the U.S. must come up with a way to protect intellectual property rights on the Internet that won’t damage “the fundamental integrity of the internet as an open, transparent system.”

Congress shelved anti-piracy legislation supported by Hollywood studios after protests by Internet companies, including Google and Facebook Inc., argued the bills would hinder innovation, chill free expression and disrupt the Web’s functioning.

Obama said both sides should work toward a compromise that would preserve the “basic architecture that’s made the Internet so powerful and such an open system.”

The online interview appeared on the White House YouTube channel, and almost 228,000 people submitted more than 133,000 questions and cast more than 1.6 million votes, according to White House press secretary Jay Carney.

--Editors: Joe Sobczyk, Jim Rubin.

To contact the reporters on this story: Kate Andersen Brower in Washington at; Margaret Talev in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Komarow at

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