Posts tagged Pakistan
If so, ok–I’ll respect that based upon an apparently objective process of arithmetic.
Terrorists – Dead Terrorists = Less Terrorists.
May I offer some other objective data points?
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism recently concluded that from June 2004 to September 2012, between 2562 and 3325 people were killed by drone strikes in Pakistan.
Of those, The BIJ estimates that 474-881 were civilians, and 176 were children; however given ease with which we can classify someone as a “militant” I am very skeptical of the low number of civilians in that quote.
What would you do if your friends, family members or loved ones were wrongly killed in a terrorist attack? Would you retaliate?
General David Petraeus’ former advisor describes the tendency of Muslims to do exactly that.
“Every one of these dead noncombatants represents an alienated family, a new desire for revenge, and more recruits for a militant movement…” -David Kilcullen, fomer advisor to Gen David Petreaus.
Just how insane have we become?! What kind of propaganda have we fallen for? Why have we accepted it so WILLINGLY?!
Our military is destroying lives, ruining our credibility and stoking the fires of war relentlessly around the world by killing these innocent people and all we can think to say in response is, “Well, they shouldn’t be hangin’ around with no damn terrorists then!”
The number of high-level targets killed as a percentage of total casualties is extremely low—estimated at just 2%. - Peter Bergen & Megan Braun, CNN
The below mini-documentary Living Under Drones is a superb and heart-rendering piece of journalism from Professor James Cavallaro of Stanford Law School’s International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic, and Professor Sarah Knuckey of the Global Justice Clinic at NYU School of Law.
Their recently released report with the same title is available for free download here; it is shocking and an absolute must-read, must-spread far and wide piece of journalism.
This disaster of humanity is ours to end.
Read the civilian death tolls and decide for yourself how you would feel if your family among the estimated 500-1000 civilians killed in anonymous drone-based airstrikes.
Also, please remember that unlike Afghanistan, Iraq or Iran, Pakistan has nuclear weapons.
The nuclear power chillingly declared it “has the means” to retaliate unless the carnage ceases.
Pakistan’s High Commissioner to Britain Wajid Shamsul Hasan told The Sun in an exclusive interview that his country’s relations with America are at their lowest ebb.
He said: “Patience is definitely reaching exhaustion levels.”
Mr. Hasan said Pakistan backs the War on Terror waged by Britain and the US. But he urged PM David Cameron to condemn US drone attacks on al-Qaeda and Taliban training camps in the north west of his country — dubbing them as “war crimes” and “little more than state executions”.
Tough-talking Mr Hasan also declared Pakistan would have no choice but to support Iran if “aggressive” Israel attacks it.
But his immediate concern is the drones known to have killed 535 civilians, including 60 children, in three years.
Pakistan claims the real death toll is more than 1,000. The unmanned aircraft blast missiles at targets, directed by a computer thousands of miles away. The High Commissioner said: “I think time is running out until the Pakistan government can take a stand.” They will have to at some stage take punitive actions to stop them. They have got means to take such actions to defend their own frontier and territories.
“But that will inflame the situation and stop the War on Terror and that is not what we want.”
The US military claim drones have “decimated” the al-Qaeda leadership since 2008 with no reported civilian casualties.
But Mr Hasan said: “We know the damage — destroyed schools, communities, hospitals. They are civilians — children, women, families. Our losses are enormous.
“Generally people think that deaths caused by drone attacks should be treated as war crimes. There is so much animosity that perhaps the Americans are the most hated people in the minds of the people in Pakistan.”
Mr Hasan urged Britain to tell the US its drone strikes are counter-productive.
On Iran, Mr Hasan said: “We would not like Israel to attack any country, irrespective of whether it’s Iran or any nuclear country. We wouldn’t like to be seen as part of Israel’s campaign against any country. If Israel attacks Iran, it will have an impact on Pakistan as well.
He warned that India and Gulf countries could also get involved in any conflict.
Historian Mark Almond said of Mr Hasan’s declarations: “This represents an escalation in tension.”
If we will force ourselves to look at the hard and ugly evidence proving that we are killing, maiming and terrorizing exponentially more innocent people (and causing their families to become hard-nail terrorists) than we are eliminating real terrorists, we will see that our profoundly sick foreign policy masquerading as logic is a massive shame upon us and needs to be ended now.
For more, read former Chalmers Johnson’s definite text: “Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire.”
You can also check out more articles on blowback here.
In a New York Times Op-Ed yesterday, international human rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith describes a meeting he had in Pakistan with residents from the Afghan-Pakistani border region that has been relentlessly bombed by American drones; if I had one political wish this week, it would be that everyone who supports (or acquiesces to) President Obama’s wildly accelerated drone attacks would read this:
The meeting had been organized so that Pashtun tribal elders who lived along the Pakistani-Afghan frontier could meet with Westerners for the first time to offer their perspectives on the shadowy drone war being waged by the Central Intelligence Agency in their region. Twenty men came to air their views; some brought their young sons along to experience this rare interaction with Americans. In all, 60 villagers made the journey. . . .
On the night before the meeting, we had a dinner, to break the ice. During the meal, I met a boy named Tariq Aziz. He was 16. As we ate, the stern, bearded faces all around me slowly melted into smiles. Tariq smiled much sooner; he was too young to boast much facial hair, and too young to have learned to hate.
The next day, the jirga lasted several hours. I had a translator, but the gist of each man’s speech was clear. American drones would circle their homes all day before unleashing Hellfire missiles, often in the dark hours between midnight and dawn. Death lurked everywhere around them. . . .
On Monday, [Tariq] was killed by a C.I.A. drone strike, along with his 12-year-old cousin, Waheed Khan. The two of them had been dispatched, with Tariq driving, to pick up their aunt and bring her home to the village of Norak, when their short lives were ended by a Hellfire missile.
My mistake had been to see the drone war in Waziristan in terms of abstract legal theory — as a blatantly illegal invasion of Pakistan’s sovereignty, akin to President Richard M. Nixon’s bombing of Cambodia in 1970.
But now, the issue has suddenly become very real and personal. Tariq was a good kid, and courageous. My warm hand recently touched his in friendship; yet, within three days, his would be cold in death, the rigor mortis inflicted by my government.
And Tariq’s extended family, so recently hoping to be our allies for peace, has now been ripped apart by an American missile — most likely making any effort we make at reconciliation futile.
This tragedy repeats itself over and over. After I linked to this Op-Ed yesterday on Twitter — by writing that “every American who cheers for drone strikes should confront the victims of their aggression” — I was predictably deluged with responses justifying Obama’s drone attacks on the ground that they are necessary to kill The Terrorists. Reading the responses, I could clearly discern the mentality driving them: I have never heard of 99% of the people my government kills with drones, nor have I ever seen any evidence about them, but I am sure they are Terrorists. That is the drone mentality in both senses of the word; it’s that combination of pure ignorance and blind faith in government authorities that you will inevitably hear from anyone defending President Obama’s militarism. As Jonathan Schwarz observed after the U.S. unveiled the dastardly Iranian plot to hire a failed used car salesman to kill America’s close friend, the Saudi Ambassador: “I’d bet the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. has closer ‘ties’ to Al Qaeda than 90% of the people we’ve killed with drones.”
Comment: After billions of dollars spent and thousands of lives lost, what have we gained? The arab world is a crazy place and our short-term gains are almost always neutralized by long-term costs. We give the country thousands of lives and billions of dollars only to have them turn on us.
The Obama administration should rethink its commitment to the fight in Afghanistan, according to American politicians furious with Afghan president Hamid Karzai for saying his country would back Pakistan in a war with the United States.
Anger over Mr Karzai’s remarks is likely to surface today when US secretary of state Hillary Clinton testifies before the house foreign affairs committee, her first congressional appearance since her trip last week to Afghanistan and Pakistan.
In an interview last weekend, Mr Karzai told a Pakistani TV station: “If fighting starts between Pakistan and the US, we are beside Pakistan. If Pakistan is attacked and the people of Pakistan need Afghanistan’s help, Afghanistan will be there with you.”
He said his government would not allow any nation, including the United States, to dictate its policies.
Those comments drew a sharp rebuke from members of US Congress, including some who have been strong supporters of the decade-plus war in Afghanistan.
Norm Dicks of Washington state, a senior Democrat, said: “Without the assistance of the United States, $468 billion from the United States Treasury and the supreme sacrifice of 1,820 American soldiers who have died during Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan would still be ruled by a gang of Taliban thugs with few individual liberties and no popularly elected leaders.”
Mr Dicks said Mr Karzai’s comments underscore the need for the United States to reconsider its mission and schedule for withdrawing forces from Afghanistan.
The United States has about 98,000 troops in Afghanistan and plans to bring most forces home by 2015.
It intends to withdraw the 33,000 additional troops that president Barack Obama sent to Afghanistan in 2009 by the end of the “fighting season” in 2012, 10,000 of them by the end of this year. About 3,000 of those have already left.
Senator Joe Manchin said: “Now more than ever, president Karzai’s insult to America tells me that it’s time for our country to stop pouring our limited taxpayer dollars and losing precious American lives in a country where we aren’t even welcome – and even worse, where they have the gall to threaten to side against us.”
Republican representative Connie Mack said the US “needs to have a foreign policy – as [former US] president Bush said — you’re either with us or against us”.
American politicians have been critical of Pakistan, demanding it crack down on the Taliban-linked Haqqani network, considered a major threat to American forces.
Admiral Mike Mullen, the former joint chiefs of staff chairman, told Congress last month that the violent Haqqani network “acts as a veritable arm” of Pakistan’s intelligence agency.
While in Pakistan, Ms Clinton bluntly said that if the government in Islamabad is unwilling or unable to take the fight to al-Qaeda and the Haqqani network operating from its border with Afghanistan, the US “would show” it how to eliminate its safe havens.
Politicians are also expected to press Ms Clinton on the Obama administration’s recent decision to pull its ambassador out of Syria temporarily, the withdrawal of US combat troops from Iraq by year’s end, and the Palestinians’ push for statehood at the United Nations over objections from the US and Israel.
The following article highlights a number of reasons that Thomas Jefferson seems dead-on when he advocated a foreign policy of non-intervnetionism.
In an accusatory and incendiary article, EUTimes.net describes a deadly gun fight between accused CIA agent Raymond Allen Davis, his arrest by Pakistani intelligence, and his alleged attempt to sell al Qaeda “nuclear material” and “biological agents.”
Is this proof of a massive conspiracy by rogue American intelligence agents to supply terrorists with weapons that will be used against civilian targets in order to fuel the “War on Terror?”
Or is it simply a clever setup by the CIA looking for al Qaeda members trying to buy nuclear arms?
If the rational “setup” answer is correct, why did a gunfight start between Davis and the Pakistanis who would likely be on “our side” in the war with al Qaeda? Although I agree there is a lot of assumption in that statement; why would deadly force be used–in a crowded area with extremely high risk of capture–if a simple conversation behind closed doors would have sufficed?
This tragic event takes place within a chaotic and wildly emotional climate of anti-American sentiment in Pakistan after–among many other major problems–continuous aerial drone strikes on Pakistani targets believed to be linked to al Qaeda have killed hundreds, including many civilians.
Many Pakistanis want their government to stand up to American influence believe in “vast U.S. conspiracy against them.”
Raymond Allen Davis’ gunfight and arrest was also reported in The Washington Post however an anonymous U.S. official said that “both sides agree [the killed Pakistanis] were probably would-be robbers” and that Davis was only a “member of the technical and administrative staff at the U.S. Embassy.”
The Washington Post continues to state that, “The shooting, as well as ambiguous answers from U.S. officials about whether Davis was part of the CIA, have fanned speculation that the incident was not a botched robbery but a deadly confrontation between spies.”
Whatever the case may be, the world is far too complex for us to think our chess games will not have ramifications and blowback that is beyond our control. When you view events like the ones described here with long-term vision, do you feel that way too?
The CIA calls the reaction to acts this “blowback.” Here’s the former head of the CIA’s bin Laden unit Michael Scheuer (with an intro from Ron Paul) describing the phenomenon:
To discover more details on the complex, intense and shaky relationship between Pakistan and The US, have a look: