Romancing the Drone: The Unravelling

In a series of articles for Al Jazeera I had questioned the improbably low casualty figures being cited by the US and Pakistani authorities and endorsed in the bogus statistics produced by the New America Foundation. Gen. Petraeus’s former counterinsurgency advisors David Kilcullen and Andrew Exum had already suggested that up to 98 percent of those killed in the drone strikes may be civilians. Recently, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism had conclusively debunked the CIA’s claims about success of its policy. Today none other than the former Director of National Intelligence Admiral Dennis Blair has called for an end to the drone strikes because he believes the tactic is dangerous and a complete failure which only kills some mid-level militants [in other words it kills a whole lot of civilians since over 2,500 Pakistanis have been killed so far].

Naseema Noor of IPS reports on the recent Bureau of Investigative Journalism study:

Led by British investigative journalist Chris Woods and Pakistani journalist Rahimullah Yusufzai, the study found that at least 45 civilians, including six children, have been killed in 10 drone strikes since August 2010 alone, while another 15 attacks between then and June 2011 likely killed many more.

According to the study, civilians die in one out of every five Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)-operated drone attacks in the tribal region, located on the border with Afghanistan, a statistic that the Bureau says can no longer be denied by the U.S. government.
Continue reading “Romancing the Drone: The Unravelling”

And the drone policy continues…

There is no single journalist who is more knowledgeable and incisive when it comes to the consequences of the so-called ‘war on terror’ on Pakistan than Rahimullah Yusufzai. Since so much nonsense has been proliferating about Pakistan courtesy of both ill-informed Western journalists, and the native informers (*), PULSE will strive to provide fuller coverage of developments in the region.  Here is Rahimullah Yusufzai on the continuing US bombing of the Pakistani tribal belt.

The issue of missile strikes by US drones in Pakistan’s territory has dominated politics and the media in recent days and weeks. The new Obama administration has made it clear the attacks will continue despite statements of disapproval on an almost daily basis by Pakistani leaders, who argue that this policy was undermining Islamabad’s efforts to counter the militancy.

Robert Gates, who has been retained as defence secretary by President Barack Obama to ensure continuity to Washington’s policy in its ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, became the first American official last week to publicly comment on the issue of drone attacks in Pakistan’s tribal areas. Normally, US officials avoid commenting on the topic in public and instead unnamed sources in the Pentagon or the intelligence agencies leak information to the American media about such attacks, along with the claim that someone important in Al Qaeda had been killed. At a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Mr Gates said the US would continue to carry out missile attacks against Al Qaeda militants in Pakistan. The US, he warned, will “go after Al Qaeda wherever Al Qaeda is.” He also said the decision had been conveyed to the government of Pakistan.

Continue reading “And the drone policy continues…”

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