Sunday, March 6, 2011


Droning as Foreign Policy By SAUL LANDAU

The Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict (CIVIC) last year offered a “glimpse of the drone strikes based on actual interviews with civilian victims of the strikes.”

One North Waziristan civilian victim “recounted how his home had been visited by Taliban fighters asking for lunch. He said he had agreed out of fear of refusing them. The very next day, he recalled, the house was destroyed by a missile from a drone, killing his only son.” (Gareth Porter Al Jazeera Nov 3, 2010)

Peter Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann of the New America Foundation estimated between 1,109 and 1,734 people had died from drone hits in Pakistan from early 2008 to November 2010.

The dead supposedly included “66 leading officials in al-Qaeda or other anti-US groups.” The US military identified other bodies as those of "militants." (Porter)

UN rules forbid one state using force against another state or non-state group without consent of the other state; or without Security Council authorization; or in self-defense, but Harold Koh, the State Department’s legal maven, claimed drone attacks are self-defense, and killings as part of armed conflict. So what that Pakistan has not agreed! Or war rules ban attacks on civilians or civilian objects!

The recent wave of uprisings in Arab countries has been a complete surprise to western 'intelligence'. Just like the fall of the Berlin Wall was a complete surprise. And of course, its our wonderful western intelligence agencies that told us how they were so convinced that Saddam had Weapons of Mass Destruction that we had to go start a war immediately just to defend ourselves.

Now, these same 'experts' are in charge of picking the targets for assassinations. And not the quiet sort of assassinations where an agent just touches a person passing on the street and kills them with some secret drug that looks like a heart attack. No, these are the sorts of assassinations where we aim a six foot long, 100 lb Hellfire missile and blow up entire buildings.

This is of course presented to the American people and to the world as our 'intelligence experts' carefully picking and verifying targets and only killing awful people who need to be killed.

Here's what you need to remember every time you hear this line of bull ... its the same experts and the same agencies who swore up and down that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. These are the same 'experts' who couldn't look at an Arab world full of US backed dicatators who persued US-backed policies that their people didn't like, and couldn't even guess that maybe the people might revolt against these dictators.  Who could have guessed that the Egyptians wouldn't like a government that constantly supported Israel over the Palestinians?

The people who couldn't see the fall of the Soviet Union coming are now in charge of picking the targets for murderous missile strikes. No real surprise, because the Democrats and Republicans have unanimously agreed that the guy to run all of this from the Defense Department is the same guy who back in the 80's was in charge of telling us how powerful and evil the Soviet Union was,  and how if we didn't spend hundreds of billions defending ourselves from them then we'd all be doomed. Nothing like a massive intelligence failure on your resume to seal your path to high office in Washington.  Because a massive intelligence failure means that you are good at telling the lies that more powerful people want to hear.

So, with these experts picking the targets for where we fire our 100 lb high explosive missiles from our drones, how many times do you think they've been wrong? How many innocent people have been killed in these missile strikes? And, remember, even when they are 'right', we take out whole buildings worth of anyone who happens to be near our target with 'collateral damage'.

How many innocent people have we killed?

And, we wonder why that whole part of the world is revolting against us?

March 11 ....
Was re-reading this.  Note the 24 hour turn around time.  We fired the drone's missile at the house 24 hours after the 'Taliban' had eaten their lunch and marched on.  The sad part is that someone in the chain of command of ordering that missile strike knew this.  By the time the authority to murder had come down the line, someone knew that this was ridiculous and that the Taliban had long since finished their lunch and continued on their journey.

And they fired the missile anyways.  Knowing it wouldn't kill 'Taliban'.  But knowing it would destroy someone's home, and likely kill any family members left inside.  This was a terror attack.  The target wasn't the Taliban soldiers who they think were there.  The target was to sow fear in everyone in the area by killing anyone who even gives them lunch.  The target wasn't a neat assassination of people who might kill others.  The target was the cold-blooded murder of civilians to create fear.

This was a terror attack.  Orwell would be so proud that we routinely call the innocent civilians killed in our terror attacks the 'terrorists'.

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