The Blunt Instruments of War

If a U.S. attempt to kill Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda's second in command, was indeed a failure last week, it could prove a costly one. In human terms alone, the price was high. Local reports say 18 people, mostly women and children, were killed by the CIA-directed missile strike on the village of Damadola, close to Pakistan's northwest border. U.S. officials say al-Zawahiri was the intended target.

DNA tests on the victims will determine whether al-Zawahiri was among the dead, but at week's end Pakistani officials were saying he had not even been in the village. An Arabic TV station, quoting sources...

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