I am alarmed to read about the escalation of the CIA’s drone attacks in Pakistan. Even if Mr. Obama or Mrs. Clinton don’t go out and say it- bombing a country is an act of war- even when it’s “tribals” and if it’s unmanned vehicles doing the killing. Which makes for three countries that America is currently at war with. Who’s next?
I do agree that the Pakistani administration has been sitting on it’s ass and playing both sides or conveniently looking away with regard to terrorist activity in Pakistan- but this killing by remote control and deliberately whitewashing exactly who is being is killed has seriously scary potential. It sets a bad precedent for conflict-resolution.
I would also like to know what is the legality of an organization like the CIA implementing these attacks? The last I heard an intelligence agency like RAW couldn’t start killing people; it was still an Army’s job to wage war. Oh! I forgot it’s not war unless America says it is. Is it murder then Mrs. Clinton?
Apart from the fact that America really needs a reality check, I was struck by how the news was reported – CIA authorizes drone attacks in tribal areas of Pakistan- with focus on the word tribal.
What a whitewash- like they were faceless people or that tribal collateral damage was justifiable versus regular citizens?
What does that even mean? Are they inconsequential because they’re tribal?
Portraying them as tribal people or potential –Jihadis doesn’t justify bombing of civilian populations.
Would it be harder to justify bombing them if it was an urban city with internet connectivity and colleges and universities and all the modicum of democracy?
Who are these tribal people from North Waziristan? How many of them are actually Taliban or wanted or dangerous and how many of them are innocent civilians? Expectedly the US administration says one thing the Pakistan government says another, what’s mind-boggling is that the figures vary hugely depending on who is telling the story.
The US administration would have us believe that “about two thirds of whom were thought to be militants and one third were civilians.” While Pakistan Authorities say “Over 90 per cent of those killed in the deadly missile strikes were civilians. For each Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorist killed by US drones, 140 innocent Pakistanis also had to die.” While a more neutral party like David Kilcullen “Since 2008, we’ve killed 14 senior Al Qaeda leaders using drone strikes; in the same time period, we’ve killed 700 Pakistani civilians in the same area.”
The fact remains people are being killed and unarmed civilians are being bombed as they sleep, as they go about their daily business drones fly overhead and drop bombs on them. If this isn’t war what is?
One can’t expect much from American foreign Policy, it’s reactive at the very best and their solutions leave no room for subtlety. I mean this is a country at war with three nations and counting.
Areas of Pakistan are being bombed indiscriminately (in that you don’t know who you’re killing). They are among the poorest of the poor. Lets give those people a face.
To give American war-strategists credit, some percentage of those are the faces of terrorists- people with links to the Taliban and some have potential to be but some of those faces are just innocent civilians – farmers, women, men, young and old, testosterone, estrogen- there are people with dreams and hopes and all those ugly things that makes us human.
We can’t be killing these people by remote control. I might not know the statistics but the one thing I do know is that when our problems become faceless and anonymous then our solutions become more increasingly inhumane. Spilling blood should not be so easy and at ones fingertips.
It’s a dangerous thing and illustrative to our way of looking at problems i.e. we see problems not solutions. And if people are urban and democratic and more palatable our solutions are different . It is valid to some extent but unjust in so many ways. People are people and civilian bloodshed is not justifiable- not in Pakistan and not back at home.
I think we’d do better to see people as resources rather than as pests to be exterminated whether it’s across the border in not-so-far-away Pakistan or in Kashmir or in Assam. Why must we look to America foreign policy for precedents, for rabid bi-polar solutions like ‘Guns or Schools?’. It doesn’t have to be either/or, Our unique solutions can be multi-pronged and illustrative of how we see people as unique and multi-faceted and as deserving of a chance as any one else. It is the humane thing to do.
The American solution on anything (foreign policy, health) is of a kind of extremism and high-handedness- to fuck things up and then try to fix them. Why not try not to fuck them irreparably up in the first place?