Sunday, April 19, 2009


There is a report today about still another U.S. missile strike into some Pakistani village in South Waziristan. This is terror inflicted from the sky. Besides it is rough justice. No court, no judge, no jury has declared that these people must die at American hands. Barack Obama should call an immediate halt to these executions.

I have been writing about U.S. missile attacks fired from unmanned drones prowling overn backward agrarian villages in western Pakistan. How many lives have been lost, men, women, children, all at the whim of some CIA agent sitting somewhere in some secret CIA office in Phoenix and pushing the fire button on his computer console controlling the lethal drone?

Today, in The New York Times Week in Review, Scott Shane asks what is the difference between the morality of these drone attacks and the torture authorized by Bush and Cheney on Al Qaeda suspects.

Writes Shane:

"WHEN the Central Intelligence Agency obliterates a dozen suspected terrorists, along with assorted family members, with a missile from a drone, the news rarely stirs a strong reaction far beyond Pakistan.

"Yet the waterboarding of three operatives from Al Qaeda — one of them the admitted murderer of 3,000 people as organizer of the 9/11 attacks — has stirred years of recriminations, calls for prosecution and national soul-searching.

"What is it about the terrible intimacy of torture that so disturbs and captivates the public? Why has torture long been singled out for special condemnation in the law of war, when war brings death and suffering on a scale that dwarfs the torture chamber?"

Shane does not seem to anwwer to his own question, satisfied to just present it. But
the answer is clear for me: both are equally immoral and reprehensible.

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