Drone Lunacy

We keep hearing almost daily of how many terrorists have been killed in a drone strike, the number of high/mid/low level leaders that have been eliminated. Just pause for a moment. Give this column The mighty Taliban by Rafia Zakaria a read. Just some food for thought. The next time you hear of these successful drone strikes, just think for a while instead of taking the announcements at their face values.

Excerpt from above article,

The list is exhaustive and given the regularity with which Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders are apparently being killed, it would be expected that their leadership cadres would have been more or less decimated. If 605 ‘leaders’ of any organisation are killed, that organisation’s capacity to operate ought to be significantly impacted.

The losers in the equation are unsurprisingly the Pakistani people, especially those unfortunate enough to be inhabitants of North and South Waziristan. As a recent report produced by CIVIC, an NGO that collects data on civilians in conflict areas, argues, the low civilian casualty figures provided by the United States are likely to be inaccurate. The report cites civilian casualties from drone attacks in 2009-2010 to be somewhere between 788 and 1,344 — far greater than the 20 reported in congressional hearings on drone strikes held this past April.

Given the information in the CIVIC report, one must wonder about the truth behind every headline that proclaims the death of yet another Al Qaeda or Taliban leader. With a complete absence of on-the-ground investigations following drone attacks, it is virtually impossible to contest the contentions that proudly and mechanically announce the death of this or that leader. And so Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders are targeted and killed and then resurrected in an endless cycle before a baffled world tired of counting heads.


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