Friday, December 4, 2009


Should the U.S. under Barack Obama be sending drones flying over Pakistan and firing missiles at Taliban leaders, and, in the process, killing their families as well? I argue, no. These are extra-judicial killings of people only suspected to be enemy combatants. Whether they are or not should first be determined in a court of law. Who knows how many innocent men, women and children have been incinerated by U.S. attacks from the sky?

And, furthermore, what gives the U.S. the right to kill members of the Taliban? Yes, they are backward, illiterate and often fanatical. But does this warrant their execution and destruction by U.S. attack drones?

Scott Shane reports in today's The New York Times that Obama has ordered an increase in these drone attacks:

"The White House has authorized an expansion of the C.I.A.’s drone program in Pakistan’s lawless tribal areas, officials said this week, to parallel the president’s decision, announced Tuesday, to send 30,000 U.S. more troops to Afghanistan. American officials are talking with Pakistan about the possibility of striking in Baluchistan for the first time — a controversial move since it is outside the tribal areas — because that is where Afghan Taliban leaders are believed to hide."

I argue that these drone attacks will create 10 more enemies of the U.S. for each member of the Taliban killed. And 100 more for each innocent man, woman and child killed by mistake.

Americans claim their land is the land of the free and the home of the brave. Yet the American use of lethal drones tells the whole world that the U.S. is also a military killer that causes death and destruction in poor Pakistani villages.

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