Tuesday, April 7, 2009


The New York Times runs a story yesterday by Eric Schmitt and Christopher Drew on the Obama policy of continuing the attacks on Pakistani villages by unmanned drones operated by secret CIA personnel thousands of miles away. This must stop. What is Obama thinking? Where is the sensitivity to the loss of life in operations like this? How about the innocent men, women and children who are incinerated in their beds as a result of some anonymous CIA agent in Arizona pushing the fire button?

Report Schmitt and Drew:

"But as Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Richard C. Holbrooke, the special envoy to the region, arrived in Islamabad on Monday, the administration officials said the plan to intensify missile strikes underscored President Obama’s goal to “disrupt, dismantle and defeat” Al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, as well as to strike at other militant groups allied with Al Qaeda.

Officials are also proposing to broaden the missile strikes to Baluchistan, south of the tribal areas, unless Pakistan manages to reduce the incursion of militants there."

Even some influential Democratic Senators are on record as supporting the drone attacks. Write Schmitt and Drew:

"Influential American lawmakers have voiced support for the administration’s position.

Senator Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat who heads the Armed Services Committee, acknowledged last week that “the price is very heavy” when missile strikes mistakenly kill civilians, but he said the strikes were “an extremely effective tool.”"

Levin is sure a militarist. He is the one who made a pact with Lindsay Graham to deny habeas corpus relief from prisoners at Guantanamo. This provision was later judged unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. Now Levin approves the strikes even though he knows that the missiles will kill innocent Pakistanis. Furthermore, Levin says the strikes are "an extremely effective tool." But where is the evidence supporting this gross assertion? How about the hatred and animosity in the hearts and minds of ordinary Pakistanis who see the bully Americans lobbing missiles of death into backward villages? Or has Levin considered the 100 youth who join the Taliban and Al Qaeda for every Qaeda leader killed in an American attack? So when Levin says these attacks are extremely effective, who does he think he is kidding?

Write Schmitt and Drew:

"The plans have met strong resistance from Pakistani officials and have also worried some former American officials and some analysts, who say that strikes create greater risks of civilian casualties and could further destabilize the nuclear-armed nation.

"“You will be complicating and compounding anti-Americanism here,” said Talat Masood, a retired Pakistani general and military analyst in Islamabad. “How can you be an ally and at the same time be targeted?”"

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