Category Archives: South Asia

A firing Predator drone.

9 out of 10 Drone Strike Victims NOT the Intended Targets

This is not the behavior of a free people. Surely civil society can do better than this.

This information was allegedly handed to The Intercept by a whistle-blower whose motives he or she described as follows:

“This outrageous explosion of watchlisting — of monitoring people and racking and stacking them on lists, assigning them numbers, assigning them ‘baseball cards,’ assigning them death sentences without notice, on a worldwide battlefield — it was, from the very first instance, wrong.”

Nine out of ten. This is the price of dropping bombs/shooting missiles. Virtually all of them kill innocents.

Killing innocents = breeding hatred = producing hundreds (or thousands) of blood-enemies-for-life. Every time.

Surely this doesn’t make the world safer for me and my children. Am I wrong?

The solution, of course, involves limiting overseas “interventions” to something approaching zero, minus invasion or direct attack by an enemy state.

Anyone associated with these drone operations (including as an auxiliary on the ground, sitting comfortably in the Cube at Linthicum, listening in, preparing intelligence reports, whatever), be warned: you are mere tools of Empire, its “useful idiots,” axe-wielders hacking away at the dying old Tree of Liberty.

People Want to be Free (now if only the USG would get out of the way…)

If Western armies would get out of the way, the liberty message would spread rapidly.

People want to be free. Freedom is popular. And in a day and age of satellite transmissions, 3G phones, and the Internet, very little can stop its rapid spread.  Even in “scary” Pakistan, dubbed “the most dangerous place on earth,” the message is bleeding through.

Only when the perceived source of the message (like, say, “America”–in reality the USG) sends out armies, bombs villages, invades sovereign nations, adds shahs and presidents and kings to its intelligence payroll, manipulates elections, funds violent organizations, and occupies holy places–only then can the ideas it supposedly espouses be stifled. Only then, in the face of a foreign and common enemy, can liberty-trampling ideas gain traction.

Imagine, though, if that perceived source could retain the moral high ground.  Imagine if it really was a beacon of freedom for the world, not just in word but in example, too–the example propagated by men like George Washington. Imagine if USG foreign policy was guided by the Jeffersonian maxim, “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none,” if the USG could still, with moral authority, warn Britain against her meddling ways. Imagine the ideas of liberty being allowed to spread freely without the neo-imperialist presence constantly getting in the way, without USG operatives and soldiers and petro-dollars pushing those who might otherwise be drawn to freedom towards fundamentalism instead.

Unfortunately, there are too many neo-conservatives and internationalist liberals for such a condition to be allowed to flourish; that ship sailed years ago. At this point the spoliation of the  liberty source may require one or two full generations of total withdrawal–a serious and consistent course change–to correct itself.

Still, it may not be too late for the Burka Avenger.


Suspected “Militants”: Unnamed, Unknown, but “Mutilated” Anyway…

As usual when it comes to the U.S. Government’s drone war in Pakistan, the headline is misleading:

US drone strike kills six militants in Pakistan, officials say

For the casual reader, whose eyes sweep the headlines but only sometimes dip into the body text of an article, the message is clear: the murder and mayhem of six militants (or “terrorists”) has finally come to an end, thanks to unmanned drone technology. Chalk another victory up to the “Americans” against the tribals along the Af-Pak border.  USG 6, Bad Guys 0.

A more thorough reading of the article, however, reveals that the dissonance between what the unnamed “officials” claimed and what actually happened might be greater than the headline suggests. It turns out that the six mutilated bodies later found at the scene belong to “unidentified” individuals. That’s right: neither the invisible USG “officials” nor Pakistani ones know who these people are. They don’t even know where they come from. According to local “officials”: “the militants killed in the attack could be from Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, but their exact nationalities are yet to be ascertained.” And then an addendum: “The identities of the militants could not be verified because the dead bodies were badly mutilated.”

(Let’s save for another day the fact that these people were mutilated by super-expensive missiles paid for by American tax slaves, whether or not those tax slaves actually support drone strikes in Pakistan; after all, if the tax slaves don’t pay, they face cages and guns.)

Many of these “foreigners” (if indeed they were foreigners; how is anyone supposed to know?) are simply freedom fighters, originally seeking to push out the communists from their homelands (and hence one-time U.S. allies) but now seeking to push out the Americans and their allies. This was the original plan, and the Afghans (under the nascent Taliban) were the first homegrown force to do it. Even Zia ul-Haq, Pakistan’s dictator-president, mulled over the idea of forming around the Pathan an army that could clear Muslim Central Asia of its Western (at the time, almost entirely communist) overlords. And so training camps were built in Afghanistan, so that other local fighters (Chechens from Chechnya, Uzbeks from Uzbekistan, Uighurs from East Turkestan, et alia) could do what the Afghan Pathans had done in their own homelands. Under different circumstances, this might seem like a noble endeavor. But within the context of the “War-on-Terror” world in which we now live, all these guys are baaaaaaaaaaaad. Forget the fact that there was a time when the Taliban were supported by many in Washington, that Zia’s idea of a Muslim jihadist army sweeping through Central Asia to defeat the evil of communism had cheerleaders in the Pentagon, at Langley, and in the White House. Now these same people are ipso facto baaaaaaaaaaaad.

The sovereignty of Pakistan was violated, engendering bitterness from millions of Pakistanis (I’m sure Sean Hannity is right, however–they hate us for our freedom!), for the sake of blowing away six individuals of unknown name, affiliation, or origin. One of them could have been an uncle over for tea after the breaking of the fast. Or a neighbor who’d promised to help fix the ceiling fan. Doesn’t matter. They’re all militants now, because they were killed by a drone’s missile. There may be hundreds, thousands of normal, everyday people in the area, mostly farmers, but these guys were baaaaaaaaaad, even if we don’t know who they were or where they came from. We do know that Shawal is cool in the summertime, so “militants” have been known to “migrate” there. And since Shawal is cool, and militants like to be cool in the summer, it’s bombs away in the Shawal valley.

Google Map the Shawal valley. There are cultivated fields, houses (or “compounds,” if you’re writing for a Western newspaper or working for the U.S. or Pakistani governments).  Dropping a bomb here is virtually guaranteeing the murder of innocents. People here are all armed (even little girls), though, and that means that through the grainy, green-tinted video feed communicated by a drone, anyone could look like a “bad guy.” Light ’em up.

How long would Americans put up with Chinese drones blowing away “compounds” in Montana, or North Dakota, or Maine in some ambiguous war with Canada, and despite massive protests in major cities across the USA?

How is this foreign policy making the world safer for my children? All I see are millions more anti-Americans created with each dropped bomb, not to mention hundreds, perhaps thousands, of life-long blood enemies.

Where in the Constitution is the federal government granted permission to carry out acts of war in a country at which we are not at war?

Where is the outrage from American patriots?