Pakistan: Between Drones and Deus

Yesterday I appeared on Dori Smith’s excellent Talk Nation Radio, which runs on Pacifica, to discuss the situation in Pakistan. Among other things I discussed the devastation wrought by the US drone war, the folly of seeking military solutions for political problems, the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, and the murder of Salman Taseer.

To date there have been 215 drone attacks, including 3 on 1 January 2011 in North Waziristan which killed 19 people. In 2010, there were 116 strikes, over twice as many as in 2009. The total deaths from the drones number over two thousand. According to reports in  The News and Dawn about 98 percent of the victims are civilians, a figure confirmed by David Kilcullen, the former senior advisor on counterinsurgency to Gen. David Petraeus. According to the Brookings Institution the drones kill at a ratio of  1 militant for every 10 civilians. According to Frontier Constabulary men I spoke to last year, the drones once in a while do get their targets but their victims are largely civilians.

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