Drones are our friends

Published: June 19, 2012

Why is it that we have not yet seen any strong confrontation or action from our government or military on the diplomatic front against drones?

There is a dichotomy of opinions between people about the ongoing drone attacks. Where some consider it to be a good deed when a terrorist is killed, others think of it as mass murder due to the innocent casualties attached to the attacks.

‘Drone’ is one word that every Pakistani knows of at the present time. It is one of the most useful inventions in modern warfare, after the birth of the AK-47. You don’t need a huge on-foot operation to eliminate your targets anymore, nor do you have to risk the lives of your men. Most importantly, drones give instant results which one cannot deny despite all the criticism attached to them.

If you happen to talk to the people from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), like I have, you will find that most of them actually favour drone attacks, because lets accept it, most of the time they do manage to get the enemies who have disrupted their peace.

I agree that there have been some drone attacks in Pakistan which have, unfortunately, led to many civilian casualties. However, it would be silly to disregard the fact that collateral damage is just a part of such high level operations. Additionally, it is undeniable that many lives are being saved by eliminating terrorists one after the other.

If you disagree with me, allow me to enlighten you with some drone attacks in Pakistan, and the Arab peninsula, that have yielded effective results and should be acknowledged.

The following timeline highlights ten drone attacks which resulted in deaths of al Qaeda operatives or other militants. These deaths take us one step closer to victory in the war against terror.

  • June 18, 2004: 

Nek Muhammad Wazir was killed in Wana. He was the leader of anti-government militant forces in South Waziristan

  • November 30, 2005:

Abu Hamza Rabia who was al Qaeda’s third in command and was killed near Miranshah.

  • January 29, 2008:

Abu Laith al Libia member of al Qaeda was killed in a strike in North Waziristan.

  • October 31, 2008: 

Abu Jihad al Masri was the Chief of External Operations (CEO) for al Qaeda and was killed in North Waziristan.

  • November 22, 2008:

Rashid Rauf was a British al Qaeda operative and he, along with four others, including Abu Zubair al Masriwas killed in North Waziristan. Rauf was one of the masterminds of 2006 transatlantic aircraft plot and later became an explosive expert for al Qaeda.

  • June 3, 2011: 

Ilyas Kashmiri led al Qaeda’s Lashkar al Zil and was the operational commander of the Harkatul Jihad al Islami (HJUI). He was killed in the Karikot area of South Waziristan. He was also linked with the murder of Major General Ameer Faisal  Alvi.

Image: Ilyas Kashmiri

  • September 30, 2011:

Anwar al Awlakialso an al Qaeda operative was one of the most sought out leaders of al Qaeda. His teachings have given rise to thousands of extremists waging war against the US. He was killed in Sanaa, Yemen.

Image: Anwar al-Awlaki

  • October 14, 2011:

Ahmed Omar Abdul Rahman was a senior al Qaeda operative with ties to the Haqqani network. Rahman was a son of the ‘Blind Sheikh’, the spiritual leader of the Egyptian Islamic group who was imprisoned in the US for his involvement in the 1993 attack on the World Trade Centre. He was killed in an air-strike in Afghanistan.

  • Feb 09, 2012: 

Badr Mansoor served as al Qaeda’s leader in Pakistan and was a key link to the Taliban and Pakistani jihadist groups. Mansoor had been responsible for attacks that had killed scores of people, and was killed in a drone strike in Miranshah.

  • June 04, 2012:

Al Qaeda’s a second in command, Abu Yahya al Libiwas killed in Mir Ali in North Waziristan.

This last attack is proof that the leadership of al Qaeda is still harbouring itself in the tribal areas and despite its key players being killed, it seems to re-establish itself every time.

These were just a few examples of what drones are capable of delivering in the war against terror. If combat forces were to deliver similar results, it would cost them millions of dollars with a greater risk of civilian and militant casualties. We should also note that there has been active research and development to make lighter bombs called ‘Scorpio’. These are being used for drones now as they can reduce the risk of civilian casualties.

Collaboration between the US and Pakistan, with regards to drone technology is something I greatly look forward to. This would not only help defeat the Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP), but would be a great advancement of technology for our armed forces.

People speak of civilian casualties, that run high, but compare this number to the number of people that are victims of terrorist attacks all over the world or if that’s not enough, just look at the number of people killed in Pakistan; this might help you understand the importance of drones to some extent. Having said as much, I still think the technology can be made more sophisticated and advanced to make sure that there are zero civilian casualties.

The reason for this blog is to spread awareness amongst the people about the extremism that seems to have found a safe haven in the tribal areas. Its geographical location makes it almost impossible for a full scale operation on foot to take place and therefore, the authorities resort to drones.

Now one question still remains, who should have the trigger?

Our military should be the one in control of these remotely operated machines and policy makers should start a dialogue with the US to address our concerns with the trigger being in international hands. This way, we can protect our sovereignty and take active steps in the war against terror. Whatever the outcome, we need a zero tolerance policy against extremists to clear this mess in the tribal belt if we wish to see a safer Pakistan.

Why is it that we have not yet seen any strong confrontation or action from our government or military on the diplomatic front against drones?

Can it be that they consider drones to be exactly what we need at this time?

We only hear the officials condemn the attacks and throw in a couple of warnings, but we have yet to see solid action taken against them.

To all the readers, I leave you with these questions to answer and to judge based on those answers whether we are in denial about the positive aspects of drones or not.

PHOTOS: AFP / REUTERS

Read more by Hasaan here or follow him on Twitter @shanihashmi      

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Pirzada Hasaan Hashmi

Pirzada Hasaan Hashmi

The writer is a political activist and a spokesperson for IHRP (Interfaith Harmony for Religious Peace). He tweets @shanihashmi

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Parvez

    Nicely argued and you have sensibly not touched upon the legal or moral issues involved.
    The problem with asking questions is that it results in more questions being asked. Last Sunday NFP wrote an excellent piece on this subject in the Dawn paper and I tend to agree with him that with the amount of information available, the jury is still out on this one.Recommend

  • Junaid Atique

    Simple kill each and every Pakistani.. All terrorists will be killed by this. As a human I cannot support anything that kills other humans. Recommend

  • Saad Siddiqui
  • Kamran Zia

    Have you asked people who’ve lost their loved ones, their houses and everything that they ever lived for?! Very easy to speculate within the confines of your plush homes but spare a thought for the hundreds of innocents killed in this madness. Where in the world does another country carry out uniliteral strikes on an ‘ally’ to kill its citizens? I wonder which jury this is that refuses to settle this injustice once and for all. Recommend

  • Saad Siddiqui

    Would you be supporting it if your whole family would have been under the tag of “few civilian casualties” ??? Recommend

  • ezaz

    Mind blowing logic!! leaves me speechless.. the writer works for IHRP (Interfaith Harmony for Religious Peace) ??
    has he touched anything except saving costs for extra judicial killings by military operations? drones mean that there is no difference between extremists and established armiesRecommend

  • Neha

    That’s what the Americans want you to think!Recommend

  • Sarah

    I have a question for the writer. If you assert that drones are that effective, let us assume that there are threats of hidden terrorists in lets say New York, would the US parliament pass the legislation to carry out indiscriminate drone attacks above the city because they might hit the target. or dont go that far, imagine if you’re resident of a city upon which bombs are thrown, would you still approve of the drone attacks. What is up with this hypocrisy. Terrorists do not hide in isolation, there are people around them, people who are like you and me, only poorer and weaker. So what is the exact criteria of determining which areas to bomb? terrorist threats can prevail in any part of the world.Recommend

  • faraz

    Well drones may have military utility, but they can’t be morally or legally justified. The right to trial of a citizen cannot be taken away. The state is responsible for putting tribals in this situation. For 3 decades, the state used FATA as base for nurturing extremist groups. So state should bear the responsibility, not the tribals, for getting rid of extremists without destroying the property and lives of tribals. Even the lowest civilian casualties of drone strikes, about 300, are unacceptable. If you really believe in a society governed by set of laws, then these laws cannot be waived in any case. If military operations, without aid of drones, lead to increased troop casualties, then so be it. The state must bear the consequences of its policies. Recommend

  • H.

    All I can say is the drones are doing a better job than our military could ever hope to do in this area. Actually heck, what am I even saying? The military is the one CODDLING these rabid militant twits.

    Also the few civilian casualties are clearly people the militants tricked into becoming meat shields. Except clearly no amount of civilian bodies can stop SCIENCE from destroying your stupid fundamentalist stone-age posterior.

    Problem?Recommend

  • gores

    @Sarah:
    well US government probably might have to, remember 9/11… in future if terrorists ever succeed in hijacking America airliner… they have to bring down those airliners to prevent more casualties if it crash to any building, so to prevent American casualties from terrorist attack again US government should widespread drone attack to prevent terrorist attack happen again on American soil, even they have to kill innocent… it simple logic, in war innocent always,…Recommend

  • gores

    ffffffRecommend

  • Kanwal

    “If you happen to talk to the people from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), like I have, ”
    Have you? Because i happen to have talked to so many people, including a few close friends, from FATA. They tell a different story. And they are some of most highly educated youth from there, mind you. You say they are terrorists, you say you have to kill them. No courts, no defence given to them. Pls dont give to me that they dont deserve this. They absolutely do, at least as much as Bush, Blair and Co. do.
    I live in London and my non-pakistani, europe native friends understand the concept behind Drone attacks much better than you do dear Author. Come out of your air conditioned and previleged house and face what is wrong. Terrorism is evil, and so are the Drones. Recommend

  • Jamshed

    Abu Yahya al Libi is still alive .. u should have done better research … he just released new video …. u seems to b living in stone age .. Recommend

  • EyeRoll!

    Once again this author has written another poor article, without really rehashing, analysing or organising his facts and instead just blinding copy pasting facts it from random google searches.
    Not only is your analysis on drone effectiveness outdated – but this WashingPost article (which obviously carries more weight and experience than you) actually cites how Obamas drone policy is actually backfiring and creating newer security risks: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middleeast/in-yemen-us-airstrikes-breed-anger-and-sympathy-for-al-qaeda/2012/05/29/gJQAUmKI0Ustory.html?hpid=z2
    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/05/do-obamas-drone-strikes-imperil-america/257879/
    This article is another proof of ET’s poor editorial policy which allows random people to just write armchair analysis without any prior experience or authority on the subject . Recommend

  • http://www.elucidations.org Abu Bakr

    Drones kill innocent people. Terrorists kill innocent people. Drones also kill terrorists. If we all agree on those three things then we’re killing innocent people to protect innocent people.

    Man the point is simple. Every time a ‘militant’ is reported to be killed in a drone strike, it always says ‘suspected militant’. Because it HAS to say that. When a bomb kills someone, it destroys that person. You can NOT know who that person was for sure. How can you support a technology that indiscriminately targets SUSPECTS? And with every suspect kills innocent people and destroys property. This is modern day barbarism. We’re supposed to be the most intelligent species, yet human beings see nothing wrong in killing large numbers of their own kind.

    If you were a New York City resident and Al Qaeda had taken safe haven in Manhattan, how would you feel if drone strikes were ordered over Manhattan? I’ll tell you, you wouldn’t care. Because that would never happen. That order would never be given. This is because American blood and construction is more valuable than poor tribal people in brick villages.Recommend

  • omer

    only at express tribuneRecommend

  • gores

    @Kanwal:
    there is no different between between terrorists whose are about to terrorize people, with peoples whose harbor them, provide them safe haven, provided them food and place to stay even they are woman, children @ old man… they are also terrorist you got that…, the whole reason why terrorist ever succeed attack other foreign country because they act as innocent people… they come to our country act as INNOCENT PEOPLE, as a “innocent” student, as “innocent” children, as “innocent” woman, as “innocent” tourists but the main reason is to kill people as many as possible they can… so what the problem if we terror them back…Recommend

  • BS Detector

    @Jamshed
    If the author had actually done any research in the first place, he wouldn’t have written half the article in the first place. This article is factually flawed and grammatically crippled. Why is ET passing off such poorly written pieces which have no proper structure or have incorrect factsRecommend

  • Confused

    Drones are not our friends. They are machines.
    But to be honest, I don’t see any other way out of this. We can’t control it, and the US won’t risk sending out their men anymore.
    Drone deaths are around 1/10th of deaths from terrorist attacks in Pakistan alone (4000 compared to 40,000). However, their effectiveness is still questionable. The only people who could have the intelligence to find where the terrorists are located are the ones calling the shots, and I don’t think they are too worried about a misfired shot here and there.
    Ideally we should independently sort this problem out, get rid of terrorists and without any other foreign intervention… but we can’t even sort our own government and conspiracies apart. Diplomacy, yeah not too hopeful about it.
    What we could do at the very least is focus on more direct issues, for starters at least bare necessities like water and electricity, and a government of people who might actually care. Then the branching issues follow….it’s slow but it’s the only possible way I can think of.Recommend

  • NotaWannabe

    I thought I would write a really agressive and thorough rebuttal to the authors article, but then I read his previous article on Israel and now this, and I realised its pointless, because I dont think the author is interested in a concrete debate as much as hes interested in stirring controversy and short term notoriety for the sake of it. I dont know what the point behind such attention seeking articles are? Gather more followers for your fledgling account?
    Also as someone who calls himself a peace activists, preaches peace with Israelin one article and use of violent drone attacks in other (regardless of civillian deaths) your kind of a sham of an activist with no proper moral compass. No decent human rights organisation has ever advocated drone attacks because they violate the basic premise, which is international law! Just read the severe critical reports on drones by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International and you will know what an actual human rights and peaceful organisation is obviously.
    If you want to be a neo-liberal hawk, thats your choice but be honest about it. But taking stances on issues (based on whatever is being whipped up in Western press) is a lazy kind of activism. It makes whatever you are advocating look like a sham. Once again I am quiet surprised as a peace advocate to see you supporting drones, because so far no decent human rights activist worth his salt has ever done so. Sham and Shame!!!Recommend

  • Wateva

    The author has a history of sucking up to Jewish lobbies and is a neocon peddling as an activist. He has flaunted various pix with US embassy officials so no surprises on where these pointless articles are coming from. It’s obvious whose bidding he is trying to do.Recommend

  • Hira

    Even now Obama has sugar coated the term for deaths of innocent civilians from a drone attack as deaths of “combatants” like every innocent person is a terrorist, even a child.
    Put “lawful” infront of every wrong thing, even infront of the word killing and that changes everything.Recommend

  • raw is war

    good.Recommend

  • Yuri Kondratyuk

    @Junaid Atique:

    As a human I cannot support anything that kills other humans

    I have one word for you, Banu Qurayza
    Actually, it’s two words but, I am sure you get the point.Recommend

  • S K

    I find this article very saddening. As many other people mentioned already, the moral and ethical issues raised with drone attacks is being disregarded here. Furthermore, the entire programme has and still is backfiring against the U.S. For every militant killed, there are potentially ten more created because of the anger and frustration from the civilians who feel they have no other choice but to join the resistance forces.

    Another important point to bring up is who exactly are these drones targeting? What constitutes being a terrorist/insurgent? The Pashtun garb is similar between Taliban members and ordinary citizens, including the fact that they both always carry an AK-47 on their back at all times, because this is the lawless areas of Pakistan we’re talking about.

    I myself am originally from the tribal areas of Pakistan where there is an especially a large amount of drone attacks that take place. The drone wars have affected me directly. The fact that you said “If you happen to talk to the people from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), like I have, you will find that most of them actually favour drone attacks” really irked me. I don’t know who you spoke to but I don’t think people favour having their homes blown up and families dying…

    Oh and the whole civilian casualties argument being collateral damage really bothers me. So it’s okay for a few people to die there because they’re insignificant anyways..? Why is it that their blood is worth/valued less than let’s say, American or European blood?

    Anyways, poorly written article that was extremely biased and did not even touch upon other important points from the other side of the argument. Disappointed and slightly angered.

    /Rant.Recommend

  • Mir Agha

    Intellectually dishonest, anecdotes from your supposed friends in the tribal areas do not make an argument. I too have talked, and listened to the voices from FATA, they are unanimously against the drones and the Pakistani military operations. You only have to open your eyes and ears to hear the daily condemnation of the drones of the tribal elders of the region – as they are the ones who hold legitimacy. The only rational argument is that it MAY kill terrorists, but to drag the people whose peace has been disturbed (they were fine before the WOT) is the height of dishonesty and propaganda.

    One can list the number of innocent men, women, and children as well to show that the drones are not all that they are made out to be by the cheerleaders of foreigners.Recommend

  • Mir Agha

    to continue…this isn’t a numbers game between who (the “terrorists” vs the governments) can kill more innocent civilians. I do not believe you have looked into a progressive, rational argument and that you are basing your hearsay on your political bent. Would you support drone strikes against Baloch terrorists hiding out in the mountains.

    One cannot be for interfaith harmony when calling for terror against another community.Recommend

  • Zeta

    And dont be confused by seeing the poll. Overwhelming majority who voted in favour of drone strikes are none other than indians roaming around here 24/7.

    People of UK speak out against drones and here we have western wannabe liberals who try to justify mass murder of civilians just to make yanks happyRecommend

  • Tch tch

    Why dont you take your “Friend” home . Maybe introduce him to your mum. Maybe she will like its positive aspects as you put it
    I am a tribal and for a fact I know you NFP and Farhat Taj Anderson and her fabled Aryana Institute and co are lying through there teeth. Drone strikes is what is used by TTP as propaganda to justify there presence. 4000 PPL to kill a maximum of 200 named foreing targets is not acceptable. 30 civilians to kill 1 militant is not acceptable (Brooking, BIJ, US funded study quoted by Guardian,Ex CIA quoted in LA times).
    BTW from 2001-2004 Tribals handed over 400 AQ operatives who were pushed by the Americans into their teriotary from Tora bora. The equation only changed with MUSH and his follies.
    I will grant you that opposed to total war by PakMil artilary strikes and shelling it may be preferable to Tribals. But thats an odd comparison. And a very disgusting question to ask. You could get the same positive result if you ask them if they would prefer drones over lets say Nukes.
    If TTP in its suicide bombing claims that to kill a single soldier/policeman/gov functionary its 30 other civilians is an acceptable no of collateral damage, would you accept there argument?
    Why didnt you tell your readers about Signature strike and what is the Obama admin definition of militant (Any male killed in a drone strike of military age 16yr and above; WH official quoted in NYT)
    Also most AQ people were caught from large cities like Karachi , Faisalabad. Shouldn’t drones be allowed there? India also claims terrorist are hiding in Pakistan, shouldnt they also get to fly drones in Pakistan. If not what is your justification?

    Law situation is deteriorating in Karachi will you support the rangers to use explosives to bomb target killer houses while they sleep.
    Are some Animals more equal then others?Recommend

  • Ravi

    Tragedy of pakistanRecommend

  • PakArmySoldier

    This account is disingenuous at best and dishonest at worst. Drones might be of short-run gain but with enormous long-run costs. Since, I have led an operation in the tribal areas I understand the dynamics better than the author. The tribal areas are not monolithic. They’re diverse and contain both anti-government and pro-government tribes. What the drone strikes are doing is that they’re alienating the pro-government tribes. A more sustainable strategy would be to cultivate support among the pro-government tribes and make them run out the more extremist or foreign elements. Instead of bombing the Taliban or foreign fighters, make the territory inhospitable for them.

    I don’t know the credentials of the author, but I question them. Recommend

  • Adeel

    This article and people like it makes me sick. Even if one innocent person dies in the drone attacks, it is one person too many. Every person living in an area where drones are sent is presumed guilty until proven innocent by the US government so the death toll of militants killed actually includes many civilians which goes unreported. There are 2 fundamental questions that refute the argument for drone attacks completely:
    – If they are really that effective, why does the US not use drone attacks on its own soil for catching murderers.
    – If the intelligence of the CIA in Pakistan is really that superior as to pinpoint terrorists, how was Osama bin Laden able to remain hidden in the very heart of Pakistan for such a ling time.

    The US has a policy of buying off media influence in the very countries it is attacking to portray them in a good light. Just this week, there was a similar article in Dawn – Images followed now by one in Tribune. It is quite possible that these organizations were paid a sizable amount for publishing such propaganda.Recommend

  • Talha

    @Pirzada hassan hasmi:
    you should be tormented by the sense of guilt that you wrote such a biased piece. I was not surprised as you earlier also had written a article which favoured Israel. A good start to please pentagon though. I would advice you to read this article by jemima khan. May be that will change your opinion and you may seek forgiveness from Almighty Allah.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2133282/The-boy-sitting-photos-protesting-deadly-US-drone-strikes–Three-days-later-killed–US-drone-says-Jemima-Khan.htmlRecommend

  • Talha

    Would comment again, may be that is the only way which will make my arguments stronger
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZZx2fFabdA&feature=plcpRecommend

  • Fahad Raza

    Drone are just target killing. with colleteral damage. I hope you know the statistics per strike. As the people are targeted from air with homing missiles the detonation of bomb causes not just one man in almost all of the cases. So I for me we should shoot them down for killing innocent civilians. Recommend

  • Vikram

    @Saad Siddiqui:
    Most likely a high level Pakistani official gets paid for each succesful drone hit.

    Do you remember when Bombay Taj Mahal hotel was attacked by 10 Pakistani terrorists (Kasab et al) who pretended to be Hindus. Attack resulted in deaths of 40 Indian Muslims and 132 non-Muslims (including 6 Americans). Every one knows government of Pakistan was involved in the attack. One American Dawood Gilani and one Pakistani Canadian helped ISI plan the attack. Pakistan government has not done anything to punish any ISI or Amry official for this.

    Pakistan government did not punish any onefrom army for killing 3 million people in Bangladesh.

    There will be no need for drones if Pakistani army fights terrorists instead of supporting them.Recommend

  • geeko

    You know what ? Just throw a nuclear bomb on the Islamic world, well at least Saudi Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan & Pakistan – I mean, Barack Hussain Obama said that every male member of the FATA community is a potential terrorist, we could apply the same logical to every individual from the Islamic world, cattle and mountains included and finish the job, right ?

    And when you an me will meet the Almighty Allah, you’ll have some authors showing the pictures of five or six” high-profile targets”, and you Mr writer, me and the rest will be called “civilian casualties” – a poetic license or a criminal euphemism, don’t really know.

    (listening to Vital Signs albums a last time before welcoming the nuke attacks.)Recommend

  • Future_of_Pak

    Very disappointing article. I agree with a number of well articulated comments above for example: a) There are more thorough and up to date analyses of the drone attacks, and a vast majority of analysts from different disciplines, experts trained in the fields of politics, war, economics, psychology, have widely and categorically condemned the use of drones on so many grounds it would be pointless to list them here. Just a quick search of virtually all credible, academic and strategic work on drones will give you the answers.
    b) The author really does need to think about what he would say if one of his own family members or loved ones was amongst the “civilian” casualties.

    We all have to strive not to live in this primitive world of collateral damage and war games established since the day gun powder became a mass appeal product for international military units.

    We are now finally moving beyond that and reclaiming the right to live and prosper in a non-violent world. We have to strive to get there. Drones will get us no where. Most war brings unnecessary collateral human damage and costs. We need to strategically and tactically remove war alternatives from all negotiations in our lifetimes. It is fully possible.Recommend

  • http://India vasan

    The only alternative is for Pak to go into NW and flush out the snakes other than of course leave the snakes to breed and multiply. That is what happened between the Taliban’s exit of Afganistan and 2006/2007. To go into NWZ will be extremely costly for Pak in terms of suicide bombers and TTP attacks. To leave the snakes alone will be costlier in the long run for the entire neighborhood. What do the keyboard warriors suggest as an alternative. Let us understand one thing clear, These monsters and their cohorts do not deserve any legal/human considerations. They need to be extinguished one way or other.Recommend

  • linda

    I doubt your country is ever given responsibility for the trigger of an American drone. If your military, and local civilians, really wanted to remove the terrorists from amongst your population, it could be done. You just lack the intestinal fortitude required to do so. You appear to want someone else to take the associated risks, and cleanse your country of all it’s problems while you sit on your butts and complain about what your saviour is doing for you. It’s your country, you should all stand up and fight for it. You have enough enemies within your borders hiding within the ranks of the extremist, terrorist organizations, and your military and political parties to keep you busy for your entire lifetime. Why do you, as a society, not inhale the fresh breezes of the Arab Spring, so to speak, and wrest control of your country from the oppressors you all are apparently so fearful of? Recommend

  • Anon

    @Ravi
    what is a tragedy? The drone attacks that continue despite massive civillian losses or people like this author who write such ill informed pieces for attention seeking purposes?Recommend

  • Bilal

    I agree with the author, drone attacks have been very effective in eliminating Al-Qaeda operatives in Pakistan. These drone attacks have killed innocent people also but we can’t forget that by killing terrorists they have saved lives of many Pakistanis. Only change I want is, that drones should be operated by Pakistan Armed Forces and our Government should pursue for it. Recommend

  • Saad Siddiqui

    @Vikram:

    You have gone way out of the context , So I prefer not to answer you , because you indians have the hobby of dragging india everywhere where the word “Pakistan” is written . So I prefer not to answer you out of the topic comment

    ThanksRecommend

  • Saad Siddiqui

    @Bilal:

    Bilal, I want you to stick to you opinion after one of your loved ones (who is not a terrorist) gets killed by a drone .Recommend

  • Waleed Kazmi

    I for one won’t let any other country attack my sovereign nation, Pakistan. We should always look at from our perspective and putting them in our place. Whether a military solution would be satisfying the needs of our citizens, if yes. Then drone would only be carried out if its specifically design to have a certain radius blast. The drones that currently are flying on our nation have a huge wide radius damaging capacity. To kill one or two terrorist, we kill lot of our own people who have no involvement with any of it- so called collateral damage. This in return fires up the rage against government who kill innocent civilian. And now new terrorists are evolved. This is basically multiplying game. We need a denominator that would completely stop this from spreading and put an end game to all those people.
    We need to de-radicalise our nation, If you say Islam comes first and then Pakistan. Then I would say we won’t prosper as much as we think we can. Both the country and religion should be side by side in scale.Recommend

  • Saad Siddiqui

    @linda:

    You must be unaware of the history, war is not the solution for tribal areas, for centuries before even the advent of Islam in India, the people of tribal areas live under the shadow of weapons, weapons is their tradition since centuries . They had lived in peace before 9/11 with everyone. and Let me tell of if someone kills your family for no reason, then you will have the grudge against the killer, the criminal , you will seek vengeance either by taking law in your hands or by going to the court . Right ? The backlash which Pakistan and US in Afghanistan is facing is because US have killed so many innocent ppl in Afghanistan and Tribal areas of Pakistan . US failed in Iraq ( though it got the oil , that was the supposed reason) , failed in Afghanistan and now forced to comes on terms and conditions with the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. and dont blame us for the mistakes US have committed since more than a decade, US sowed the problems in Pakistan, US gave birth to AlQaeda, and now US killing them , and you want Pakistan to finish all the mess you created , why werent you potty trained at the first place ? Things will be good if you leave Pakistan and Afghanistan , there will be no more killings by the Taliban or Drones .Recommend

  • waseem

    Difficult to judge someone for his/her sincerity of thoughts. I have just one question as i often asked to my friends during informal talks that who likes TTP and Al-Qaeeda ideology in this country? if you dont or we dont then we need to negotiatet them to bring them in mainstream, to condemn them and lastly to defeat them by all means so they couldn’t impose their ideaology or version of Islam on us. Just think deep inside that do you like their decesions and actions fro you and your family? if yes then go to welcome them, if not, then, stand against them. If you need peace in this country then everybody needs to respect and falls under the Constitution of Pakistan. we should distinguish ourselves between hypocracy and truth. Recommend

  • Zeta

    Just suppose for a minute. Your family and friends are killed by a drone strike because of a “suspected terrorist” is hiding next to your door?

    You’re welcomeRecommend

  • abhi

    very interesting debate. one thing which is coming very clearly from the people opposing drone and even from jemima khan’s article that every one in tribal area is armed, anybody care to answer why?Recommend

  • abhi

    @zeta
    Just suppose for a minute that your family and fiends are killed by a terrorist who was hiding next to your door?Recommend

  • Vigilant

    One sided article without detailed account of civilian deathsRecommend

  • Saad Siddiqui

    @abhi:

    Does that justify droning of civilians ?Recommend

  • Saad Siddiqui

    @abhi:

    @zeta
    Just suppose for a minute that your family and fiends are killed by a terrorist who was hiding next to your door?

    Does that justify droning of civilians ?Recommend

  • Jack_Shah

    When you kill someone you need to know for sure that they have committed a heinous crime, need proof of it and then you take them out. In the case of drones, the US becomes Judge Jury and Executioner – decides the people listed above (people I have never heard of) are worthy of death and then kill them. How can that be fair? Moreover, if we attack them – then it justifies their attacks against us.

    Drones are bad and should stopped immediately.Recommend

  • http://India vasan

    What is going on in the badlands of Pakistan/Afganistan is WOT. It is a war not policing action. Only for criminals, there will be arrest, trial and conviction, In a war, there will be attacks and deaths. Army of any country arrests only when the enemy surrenders, otherwise it will be attacks by men and machine.Recommend

  • Sab33N

    Drones are our friends??? … Dude?? Seriously??!!!Recommend

  • Vigilant

    I would love to read your article written after any of your relative or friend taste the Hellfire missilesRecommend

  • waseem

    @Zeta

    You’r right but why my neighbours have sheltered those suspected terrorists and why not I should take actions before drones. I again emphasize that now its time to decided whether we need a modern and secular country and also to bring FATA into mainstream like as Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore. or we need a theocratic state?Recommend

  • Vigilant

    @abhi:

    “Very interesting debate. one thing which is coming very clearly from the people opposing drone and even from jemima khan’s article that every one in tribal area is armed, anybody care to answer why?”

    Your comment shows your intellectual level…..
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_ownership

    I think according to the link Americans should be on top of list as drone victimsRecommend

  • Farhan Shahid Khan

    How do you know that all of them have really committed as much crimes as being propagated. Hitler also demonized Jews with baseless crimes for preparing the nation for holocaust. And word may simply be collateral damage for you but remember that lives are being lost on other side. Let me see how you approve a drone if your Dad or sister gets killed in a drone attack for actually taking out your neighbour. And I do not know which FATA person you have talked to because the ones I had talked to were all deadly against itRecommend

  • Basit

    To Mr. Hassan Hashmi,

    I am really curious to know that whom you talked to. You are giving the reference that you have talked to the people of FATA and they are somehow happy with the drones. This is really shocking for me :O. I swear, it is.
    How many people you talked to? Did you go there for this self survey? How many people you talked to? I doubt about your data calculation until you provide something here. So stop making nonsense blogs, which ignites the feeling of other people.

    Secondly, I really want to see if anyone belonging to that part of world comments here whether what Mr. Hashmi is saying is correct. Are FATA guys happy with drones?

    Regards,
    Pakistani

    P.S. Mr. Hassan Hashmi, do reply here please. I so want to know what I asked.Recommend

  • Aslam khan

    sooner or later GHQ and Islamabad will also be a targeted by DronesRecommend

  • BS Detector

    @Basil
    Mr Hashmi is too busy promoting this article on twitter to try and impress foreign journalists and intellectuals. I doubt very much hes going to be replying to these comments and offering a structured response.Recommend

  • Sane

    Drones are not killing terrorists, but creating more.Recommend

  • Iyan

    @Sarah:

    If New York City ever became the epicenter of terrorism, the US congress, for that matter, the legislative body of any democratic country like the U.S. will not hesitate to use drones to remove the terrorists. If India, God forbid, some day becomes the epicenter of terrorism, would not the parliament of Pakistan approve of all measures including the use of Drones to protect its people ? Of course and rightly so. The theory of collateral damage is that the sacrifice of a few innocent lives to save a very large number of innocent lives is a logical step. True, no one wants to be in the small group that gets sacrificed; but often, responsible local governments remove the innocent away from the place of impending attack by providing them temporary shelters. Recommend

  • Misbah

    @Ravi
    what is a tragedy? The drone attacks that continue despite massive civillian losses or people like this author who write such ill informed pieces for attention seeking purposes?
    Mr Ravi, or Raavi, may The Supreme Being Bless you, Ameen. Wish we c’d meet to share a pint of sherbet… and a little chat.
    - Misbah ZfrRecommend

  • BM

    Most of the commentators are against drone attacks because of civilian casualties. On March 9, 2011 Major General Ghayur Mehmood who was commanding Pak Army in North Waziristan said that many of those killed by drones are hardcore terrorists, and sizeable number of them are foreigners.
    Only change required is that these drone attacks should be conducted by Pakistan Armed Forces, but even in that case there will be civilian casualties because these barbaric terrorists use civilians as shield.
    We should acknowledge that there is a war going on in tribal areas, in a war there can’t be arrests and trials unless enemy surrenders. And every war has civilian casualties which are regretful and painful.Recommend

  • https://twitter.com/Arshad_Afridi Arshad Afridi

    Being from FATA, I am yet to some across of someone who supports drone. This whole blog is fallacies and full of lies.
    P.S: I am not a Taliban apologeticRecommend

  • http://solomon2.blogspot.com Solomon2

    “Our military should be the one in control of these remotely operated machines and policy makers should start a dialogue with the US to address our concerns with the trigger being in international hands. ”

    What makes you think any Pakistani officer or politician would desire to admit being responsible for the drones? Isn’t it more likely he or she would desire that the U.S. continue to shoulder the blame and thus avoid becoming a target for militants?Recommend

  • Vikram

    @BM: “Most of the commentators are against drone attacks because of civilian casualties. On March 9, 2011 Major General Ghayur Mehmood who was commanding Pak Army in North Waziristan said that many of those killed by drones are hardcore terrorists, and sizeable number of them are foreigners.”

    Sizeable number of foriegners are being killed, that shows Pakistanis are protecting Pakistani terrorists for use against India and Afghanistan. Poor foreigners are brought by Pakistanis to Pakistan to be killed in a game called “war on terror”;

    Only change required is that these drone attacks should be conducted by Pakistan Armed Forces, but even in that case there will be civilian casualties because these barbaric terrorists use civilians as shield.

    Some Pakistanis are getting paid millions for each hit of a high level target by a drone. Pakistanis will never take charge this because there will be no money for them. Musharraf mentioned in his book, how Pakistanis made millions be handing over dead or alive terrorists to USA.

    US is wasting lot of money on these drone strikes. I saw this video, where a professional Karachi target killer mentioned the going rate to kill ia about Rs 100,000.
    I bet there are Pakistanis who will kill any one for $100,000. No need for drones.Recommend

  • http://i.imgur.com/wPohA.jpg trollol

    wow yaar :D what an overwhelming response in support of the people of FATA…you people really do care about the innocent women and children of FATA, dont you? we are such pure and empathetic people..oh FATA I BLEED FOR YOU!
    I am bleeding but there is no blood…because I am hollow,..I am sorry for I only pretend and I don’t really care about what happens to you…I quote Nirvana here “who needs actions when you got words” (it is very funny when people with some political power say say, “oh yes I condemn drone attacks, drone attacks are counterproductive, drone attacks violate our sovereignty” and YET somehow nothing is actually done to prevent them)
    but anyway two points I would like to make:
    1)-err Dear author, if you were gonna compile a list of prominent douchebags who were killed as a result of drone attacks then why did you exclude perhaps the most important one: Baitullah Mehsud?, the one who was primarily blamed for a lot nuisance caused in our beloved motherland…anyway that is just a jab at you for omitting him :( somewhere his destroyed limbs would be feeling bad for his exclusion from your magnum opus of a blog article (on a side note it is also interesting to add that his successor Hakeemullah’s rise to fame has totally overshadowed Baitullah’s contribution to terror :( which is sad..hehe also shows how productive them drones are)

    2), if anyone says that drone attacks are a violation of pakistan’s sovereignty then they couldn’t be more wrong..for I adhere to Carl Schmitt’s definition of sovereignty i.e the power to transcend the rule of law/constitution in the name of whatever (mostly national interest or public good). hell Pakistan is a country where we transcend the rule of law everyday and ergo if pakistan were to be ranked on a sovereignty scale based on Schmitt’s definition then I bet no country would be able to compete with how sovereign we are!!!

    lastly, I leave you with this drone map sorry(the propaganda on that page aside) but over 300 drone attacks? that is intense stuff..and you want to pakistan military to have control over these? multiply this 300 by 5 times and of course they would play a vital part in “securing” our eastern border too :)Recommend

  • Keith Gentile

    @Junaid Atique:
    What’s the difference between killing someone and enabling someone to kill by providing them a safe house?Recommend

  • Keith Gentile

    @Kamran Zia:
    @Saad Siddiqui:

    The question of incurred risk has to be taken by the society in general, not the isolated victims. Why? Because policy effects the future, not the past. By asking people to undergo risk for a mutual benefit, people will run a risk-benefit analysis. Yes, by driving a car I could be killed in an accident, but I will run that risk for the benefit of living a fuller life where I can take advantage of the mobility a car provides.

    However, if you ask someone about a past event, like: if you choose to give up driving today your family that was killed in an car collision will be brought back to life, of course you would agree to the swap. For that matter, you would probably agree to insist that the entire world not drive to get back your family.

    This is risk-reward. Eliminate that human capacity and we would all be frozen to our chairs.Recommend

  • Keith Gentile

    @ezaz:

    This argument of extra-judicial killing has been raging here in the US for years, especially since Obama started escalating their use. Fundamentally, the argument boils down to:

    Do non-state combatants with whom you are at war deserve to be treated as enemy soldiers (ie: shot on sight), or should they be considered criminal citizens that deserve a trial? Frankly, no consensus has been reached and the conclusions people draw have more to do with self-interest than justice.

    The US administration has chosen to view them as enemy combatants, in part because Pakistan will not permit US soldiers on their soil leaving them without the luxury of capture, trial and subsequent interrogation.

    In Afghanistan, drone strikes are debated solely on whether they are or are not killing enemy soldiers. If one chooses soldiers, they should be killed on sight; citizens, and they should only be killed if posing an imminent danger to those around them.

    There is no “correct” answer. However, by effectively creating a no-go safe zone on Pakistan soil, I would hope that Pakistanis would understand why Americans would tend to choose soldier over citizen.Recommend

  • Vikram

    @FutureofPak: “We all have to strive not to live in this primitive world of collateral damage and war games established since the day gun powder became a mass appeal product for international military units.”

    Pakistanis are really lliving in a primitive world where religious scholars tell people that by killing people of certain sects (like Ahmadis and Shias) Sunnis can get a Free plot in Islamic heaven.

    Drones are being used because Pakistan government plays on both sides of the war. I have not seen any one talking about billions of dollars of free Zakat being given to Pakistan or forgiveness of billions of dollars of International loans. This is a collateral profit of war and government of Pakistan wants war to go on for ever so that Pakistan can get this collateral profit.

    US drones never are targeted on civilians. Compare people killed in drone attacks to 3 million people killed in bangladesh or millions Afghanis killed in Afghanistan so that Pakistan could gain stretigic depth in Afghanistan.

    Cllateral deaths by drones are real bad, but slaughter by ISI trained actors in India or Afghanistan is OK.Recommend

  • stevenson

    If they must be drone strikes, they should be under control of the Pak military working together with the US.Recommend

  • stan

    I am surprised some media organization has actually allowed an article like this to be published. Please do not bring up your freedom of speech rant. Recommend

  • Saad Siddiqui

    @Keith Gentile:

    Keith, that is a lame example that you have mentioned, driving a car with risk involved and putting a gun in one’s mouth are 2 entirely different things. Risk is always measured in the matter of it percentage and capacity. But if you think that way then you must be supporting the nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, because it may have stopped the war but destroyed many of its future generations. If I kill 50 men while targeting 1 terrorist and you think its worth taking the risk then you must be a poor war analyst , cuz out of those 50 families whose member are killed for no reason will seek vengeance, will seek justice and of course justice is the “word” absent from WOT, so they will take up arms and law in their hands and they might become terrotists, increasing the anarchy factor 10 times more than it was before the drone attack,and then you will have to kill these new born “terrorists”, hence you will multiply the anarchy, the risk involved and terrorism by each attack. So you cant compare the risk of driving car with the risk of killing innocent human beings because the aftermath and impact of both are different, the former is a one time taking risk and the latter is a chain reaction, and you cant stop a chain reaction with bombingRecommend

  • abhi

    @Vigilant
    I am sorry, I didn’t know that everybody who is carrying a gun in FATA has applied for license and a well counted figure is readliy available. Also can you point me to the number of rocket launchers and hand granade per capita website?Recommend

  • WoW

    Either the author thinks the commenter’s in this section are not worthy of a response to their questions or hes too much of a coward to face the barrage of criticism after writing such a stupid piece. By now he is probably regretting publishing this piece.Recommend

  • Pirzada hasaan Hashmi

    @WoW:
    First of all mention your name if you had to make a comment
    I will answer all questions one by one in coming days when I got some spare time
    And good to see poll results .shows that m not alone in favour of
    Cheers Recommend

  • Umer Rasheed

    I simply can’t digest how people can get their articles published by merely saying “If you talk to people in FATA, like i have,…” and patch it with their opinion by adding “let admit it…”. No data of his own is presented whatsoever. What is wrong with the media today. The writer purports as an expert because apparently he has talked with some people in FATA with no documentary evidence at all; and presents his opinion boldly since hardly anyone in the target audience has ever been to FATA and they probably never will.
    Perhaps the writer thinks that a humble reference like this would solicit his flawed reasoning and there is no need to present any statistics. It is not even conclusive that the terrorists in his attached timeline died in drone strikes because “lets admit it” we cannot really be certain who dies in drone strikes. News Flash: Not everyone is so naive.
    I might as well come up with an article stating “If you to talk to the people in Ethopia, like I have, they don’t starve, they just have an eating disorder…..”Recommend

  • Basit

    Hi Mr. Hassan Hashmi,

    Good to see you here finally. I saw few comments from the local people of FATA who are against drones.
    And who cares about any poll if it is not including the AFFECTEES, who are people from FATA here. Secondly, no one is alone in anything, even in crimes :) so nothing to feel victorious for you.

    I really do not understand any logic of killing humans in this way & I wonder about few handful educated people supporting drones. Mostly belonging to NGOs, only that explains a small reason.

    I am copying my last post, because i am still waiting for your answer.

    Regards,
    Pakistani

    To Mr. Hassan Hashmi,
    I am really curious to know that whom you talked to. You are giving the reference that you have talked to the people of FATA and they are somehow happy with the drones. This is really shocking for me :O. I swear, it is.
    How many people you talked to? Did you go there for this self survey? How many people you talked to? I doubt about your data calculation until you provide something here. So stop making nonsense blogs, which ignites the feeling of other people.
    Secondly, I really want to see if anyone belonging to that part of world comments here whether what Mr. Hashmi is saying is correct. Are FATA guys happy with drones?
    Regards,
    Pakistani
    P.S. Mr. Hassan Hashmi, do reply here please. I so want to know what I asked.
    Recommend

  • Keith Gentile

    Once again, sir, your reasoning is faulty. First of all, you assume that one death begets revenge from a family member no matter the circumstances. This assumes the family member has no capacity to reason. I, at least, give the people of the tribal lands enough credit to assume that they can understand that a war is being fought over the terrorists that inhabit their land. That in war, innocent people die–nobody, no matter their technology or good intentions, has been able to eliminate that unfortunate outcome–and that the terrorists around them are worth the risk of inadvertent deaths to get rid of. And with their vast experience in warfare, the tribal people surely will understand that.

    You are also overblowing the percentage of innocents killed in these strikes. According to “The Long War Journal,” a website often quoted by the media for such statistics, since the onset of the drone campaign over Pakistan in 2004, an estimated 138 civilians have died while 2307 militants have been killed (http://www.longwarjournal.org/pakistan-strikes.php). The Brookings Institute made a general statement of ten terrorists to one civilian. Granted its impossible to come up with exact figures because the areas of attack are off limits to journalists and investigators.

    Now, let’s compare that to the direct on-the-ground war that Pakistan has fought with the terrorist organizations. According to Wikipedia, approximately 14,700 militants have been killed (17,000 total minus drone strikes) by Pakistani forces. Total number of civilian deaths: 40,000 plus. In other words, drone strikes have a civilian casualty rate of anywhere from ten militants to ever civilian to 16.7-to-one (with the 16.7-to-one more closely quantified). Pakistani forces fighting with conventional means have resulted in one terrorist killed for ever 2.35 civilian deaths. In other words, the drone strikes have been approximately forty times more effective at limiting civilian deaths than the methods used by Pakistan’s own forces.

    Your assumption about a “chain reaction” of civilian family vendettas as a result of unintended consequences would therefore result in a catastrophe of revenge directed against the Pakistani military and government. Recommend

  • Balal

    They all have been killed more than once. Does that also count as a benefit of drones?Recommend

  • WoW

    @WoW
    Well so far the majority of the votes are still against the drones. Even if the majority were in the favour of the drones, are you really going to use that logic to justify something that is as per law considered to be ILLEGAL by even the UN? There were alot of people (including publications like NYT) which were in favour of the Iraq war (despite the fact that Security Council was completely by passed and those supposed WMD’s never proven to exist) would you in retrospect still use that logic to support such a war, like you are now using to support drones.
    The main problem is that you call yourself a peace activist while advocate violent illegal actions. That is not only intellectually dishonest but not exactly the behavior of a human rights/peace activist. Also your article is riddled with factual errors, there are several names in the list like libi that were declared to be dead only later to be found unconfirmed. US accuracy on intelligence has always been sketchy and doubt since the days of Iraq’s WMD’s which were never found!!!
    Meanwhile there are others in the forum, who have used their personal names to address and question, please attend to these queries if you have any concrete response.Recommend

  • Future_of_Pak

    I think the problem with supporting drones, as proposed by Keith Gentile and Vikram, is that they’re revealing their extreme naivete and being virtually brainwashed by classic military propaganda. The military machine is the most effective propaganda instrument on the planet. They will go out of their way to dehumanize the “enemy” and make you believe that collateral damage is OK for the greater good. If you guys got your heads out of the butts of all these “brave” generals and read a little about human rights violations and basic law and order, you would realize that most sensible people all over the world have come to the following two conclusions:
    a) military intervention in nearly every single conflict to date has been far more costly and damaging in the long term, looking at all perspectives of societal growth.
    b) military financing and the defence budget is in a very precarious position because of their immense size. If there is no war, then millions of people in most “developed” and some “developing” countries would be out of jobs. It would be an absolute economic catastrophe. However, that does not take away from the fact that their emotional propaganda is completely flawed and routinely making puppets out of guys like you.
    Look, I don’t mean to be condescending, but apologizing for military aggression in this day and age makes you sound like neo-nazi’s. You seriously need to look around and understand the cost of this war. It has helped no one in this region and it hasnt helped the aggressors either. There are other ways to dismantle the “bad guys”. Recommend

  • WoW

    @Hashmi
    Also incase you have been behind on your reading, kindly read this : http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jun/21/drone-strikes-international-law-un
    Would like to know how you respond to this. If despite such blatant illegality you still jutify drone attacks than there is no difference between the US and Al Qaeda, both kill civilians for their own justified rationale. You really need to reconsider your stance!Recommend

  • http://denofzeus.blogspot.ca/ Colin

    I think the article hits on some interesting point. People in these regions are not going to say what they think, that gets you killed in those places. Most want the same things as most of us, peace, food, security, schooling and medical care for their kids.
    Most of the victims of the drones are hardcore guys and their associates, who likely run the local area as their fiefdom. For the local peasant for has to bow their head to these people, they likely have a inner smile watching that same guy casting nervous glances over their shoulders. Recommend

  • Keith Gentile

    @FutureofPak:

    While the idea of unilaterally declaring an end to wars has been proffered around for decades, nobody who has ever suggested it has ever been able to come up with an answer to the very basic question: If nobody stops the lunatics, the lunatics will rule.

    Obviously you received news in Pakistan of the atrocities committed by the Taliban while they were in power and what al Qaeda did and continues to attempt to replicate.

    You referred to those who would espouse war as sounding like Hitlers. Well, the one lesson that our fathers who fought in WWII wanted us to learn and remember, that they repeated time and again, was that you do not appease mad men.

    Acquiescing allows the tyrant to become stronger and stronger and push harder and harder. How many times have I heard the lament: if only we had said “no” to Hitler in Czechoslovakia before he had the chance to garner the accolades of uniting the Germans, tens of millions might have lived. To forget that lesson would be to let the men who fought the Axis and perished to have died in vain.

    As for the statistics offered from military/intelligence sources, I’m afraid we have no other way to verify them. One thing to keep in mind is that the Taliban control those territories and if civilians were being killed in large number, why wouldn’t they be showing the maimed bodies for the world to see? It would be a major propaganda coup. Fortunately for them, we have plenty of people willing to believe the worst about the drone campaign without the Taliban having to create the evidence.

    If I can get a little philosophical for a moment, anthropologists have suggested that the reason man developed the capacity for deep thought came with the advent of language. In that the weak could now plot against the bullies that had from time immemorial run the clans. By getting rid of the tough guys, mankind was amongst the first species of hominid that did not always have to be watching its back for cruel, arbitrary drubbings from higher-ups. Eventually man calmed down by whacking the hot heads, our energies spent in thought instead of defense, the pacifists became dominant and we even got to the point where different tribes could mingle and trade instead of killing one another at first sight.

    And guess what? We’re are doing just that right now.Recommend

  • Keith Gentile

    @WoW:

    I wish you would reconsider your stance.

    First of all, its no secret that the Pakistani government was on board for the drone campaign up until the point that people were (in my opinion, and that of many other Americans) radicalized into believing that the drone war was resulting in inexcusably high numbers of civilian deaths. (Please see my previous post on civilian casualties.) Now under pressure, the government has declared that there will be no more drone strikes and that they are not willing to root out the terrorists or allow NATO to do so on Pakistani soil.

    Effectively a protective blanket has been thrown over some of the worst blood-thirsty terrorists the modern world has known. Now that may be okay with you and you may stand by and trumpet UN law, but that doesn’t change the right and wrong of the issue.

    When will you learn that those who tolerate terrorism when directed at others, eventually will live in a world of terror? Recommend

  • http://emobilez.com Sajid Iqbal

    I wonder if print media too has platnted journalists.Recommend

  • Saad Siddiqui

    @Keith Gentile:

    First of all your statistics are flawed, Here are the statistics from their sources

    Brookings Institution , Washington DC in 2009 reported that 10 civilians are killed per militant

    New America Foundation : The statistics fell in 2010 , as of August 2010 resulting 435 civilian deaths

    As of Conflict Monitoring Center, Islamabad ,in 2011, 2000 civilians , and it showed that 134 strikes inflicted 900 deaths

    Bureau of Investigative Journalism, UK , reported that in mid 2011 385 civilians were killed 160 of them were children

    The Associated Press reported As of Feb 2012 , that According to 80 Villagers 194 ppl died in 10 attacks and in a single attack in 17th March 2011, 38 civilians died .

    And IF you THINK , because you are just assuming that tribal ppl have no problem in civilians getting killed for the greater good, then you are most welcomed to visit FATA and ask them yourself , as you can see in above comments , we have ppl from FATA too. You are infact just ASSUMING that the tribal ppl are satisfied .

    Lets come to your mention of 40,000 civilian deaths, probably you havent studied the statistics properly these 40,000 doesnt just include the civilian casualties by the hands of ground forces, but it includes most death caused by the suicide attacks and militants ambush on military and on civilians in the various cities and areas of Pakistan, so you are misguiding here by saying that these are civilian casualties by the hands of ground forces , my assumption of chain reaction is not an assumption, they are Facts mentioned in various reports mentioned by the same organizations and agencies that have given the statistics, considering the above mentioned details, civilian deaths are much higher than its supposed to be for greater good, I hope you have read the article by Jemima Khan . War is not just about winning by bombing , its also about winning the hearts and minds of the people, innocent ones do suffer in wars but only if they see the light at the end of the tunnel, and
    that light is nowhere near, because US is not winning any support back here in Pakistan , but losing it , not just in the hearts and minds of the tribal ppl but among the ppl living in cities too. This hasnt given US any kind of pleasue ,infact like the previous bush govt., obama administration has also lost much of its support because of that ongoing war in Afghanistan. And now US is forced to do talks with the Taliban, because after the US leaves in 2014, it will leave the mess as it did in the Soviet war and the fight between the Govt. of Afghanistan and Taliban will continue because the Karzai govt. is against the Pashtuns , and you cannot oppress the majority , still Taliban hold the strong positions in Afghanistan and directly and indeirectly it will affect the stability of Pakistan more, so if you thinks that drone attacks are of any help to Pakistan , then yes its just helping in increasting hatred, suicide bombings, extremism, economical loss and chaos. And that is a Lose-lose situation for PakistanRecommend

  • WoW

    @Keith
    The problem with your americans is that you assume that the response for every problem in the world is millitary force regardless of the outcome despite the plethora of examples in history proving that in the long run it always ends up misfiring. Why does the US have to behave like the world’s sheriff ? The US strategy in the region esp War on Terror has created more enemies and problems than solved. Yes my govt is involved in alot of things like giving approval for drones, assisting US with extraordinary renditions, but does that make the US safer? You guys bulldozed through international condemnation, lie in the UN and violated the law to invade Iraq under the pretext of finding WMD’s. Did it make you safer? Did Vietname make you saver? Americans need to realise that operating outside the realm on law only achieves short term goals but in the long term produces extremely dangerous results. Now even reputed journalists and policy makers are warning about the long term harm that drones will cause. I mean seriously your 150,000 strong force couldnt stabilise Afghanistan in 10 years and prevent the return of Taliban, you think a bunch of flying millitary toys will solve terrorism? You guys are producing your own terrorism. In essence Americans are their own worst enemies because of their ignorant actions. Please read the articles below from your own media to discern the serious national security concerns that are arising out of drones use:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middleeast/in-yemen-us-airstrikes-breed-anger-and-sympathy-for-al-qaeda/2012/05/29/gJQAUmKI0Ustory.html?hpid=z2
    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/05/do-obamas-drone-strikes-imperil-america/257879/
    Trust me you are not making your country safer in the long run. And just like Iraq and Afghanistan misadventures backfired so will this!!!Recommend

  • abhi

    @WoW
    It is really a great feeling when you curse and prophesize the doom if things are not done as per your liking.
    so as per opinions of many, the drones are single biggest problem and cause for rising terrorism. If it is really true, why there was terrorism before this war? Why 911 happened? why train bombing in London happened? Why Buddha statue in bamian got demolished? Why the stadiums in afghanistan were used a execution grounds?Recommend

  • WoW

    @abhi
    I think you have bigger problems to solve first. You guys are not exactly the moral authority to come and preach us what to do. Everyone including the UN has criticised the 5000 unmarked graves that have been found in Kashmir, and to avoid your culpability being publicised you have repeatedly denied the UN rapporteur the visa to come to kashmir. Everyone knows about the blatant violations in Kashmir and if you think you can artificially maintain peace there through use of force you are mistaken. From Chechenya to Syria to Libya to Iraq and Afghanistan, millitary force and oppression only maintains short term goals but in the longterm people eventually revolt. Kashmir is brewing and there have been riots by the people in the past. Ignore at your own peril, at some point even force will not be enough to control them.
    So yea please sort that out and then preach us. Noone is denying that problems existed with Taliban rule, but has US use of millitary force stabilised Afghanistan and solved its problem 10 years later? The facts on the ground speak for themselves so please keep the bigger picture in mind. If millitary force was this effective peace would have prevailed which hasnt.Recommend

  • Pirzada Hasaan Hashmi

    @ All

    1) I am not an ”Amreeki Agent ” , I never understand why in Pakistan this happened that someone talk on a topic which people are afraid to talk and suddenly people will label his/her as an Agent .

    2) How can one Justify drone Attacks?

    My Justification is very Simple, These terrorists in Tribal Areas are killing innocent Pakistani people around 35000 people had been killed till this date. & in response to see who counter these terrorists well just compare the results produced by Drones and Operation by Army in Tribal Areas.

    Drones give instant results and more the 90% these are accurate and remember you are war at Tribal Area , War not only come with success , sometimes you have to lose your CivilianRecommend

  • Keith Gentile

    @WoW:

    First of all, do to my rushing and inexplicable juxtaposition, I have to write a mea culpa on the Brookings estimate. I don’t know how that happened that I swapped the numbers, but yes indeed, he did say 10 civilians for every terrorist killed.

    That said, I did take the time today to read the full Wikipedia article on the drone campaign. Here are the numbers that came up:

    Daniel L Byman writing in the opinion section of a Brookings Institute publication in 2009 wrote: “Sourcing on civilian deaths is weak and the numbers are often exaggerated, but more than 600 civilians are likely to have died from the attacks. That number suggests that for every militant killed, 10 or so civilians also died.” No other information was provided to back up this claim and was published only as an opinion piece and was not stamped as approved by the Brookings Institute.
    The Islamabad-based Conflict Monitoring Center (CMC) claimed, as of 2011, that more than 2000 persons have been killed, and most of those deaths were civilians. However, they went on to reveal their true prejudices by going on to claim that the CIA drone strikes were an “assassination campaign turning out to be revenge campaign.” Revenge? Against innocent Pakistani people? Look, people can believe whatever they want, but the likelihood of the CIA intentionally killing innocent civilians and in doing so undermining their ability to continue to conduct operations is ludicrous. But the CMC is somehow able to look into the hearts of the CIA establishment and was able to garner their “vengeful” intentions. Remarkable.
    Long War Journal: 2018 terrorists, 138 civilians.
    The New America Foundation: 80% militants killed.
    Bureau of Investigative Journalism: 282-535 civilians as of 2011.
    Pakistan Body Count: 2179 civilians killed.

    Quite a spread of numbers, although even the high estimates (for those who went as far as to attempt to quantify) are less than 1:1. So we choose the numbers that fit our narratives. Even the most anti-drone numbers would probably not surpass those of civilian casualties arising from Pakistan’s own convention warfare methods.

    And anybody who has any concerns about the sentiments of the people of Waziristan I beg them to read the multiple Wikipedia-cited studies on local opinions, which are extremely condemning of the anti-drone campaign’s claims. And I would appreciate a defense on your part, WoW, of how you possibly counter that.

    As to your claims of whether the US is safer after the various wars we’ve been involved in, that would involve one LONG debate that I don’t think either of us is ready for. However as a general response to your general questions, I would say that those who ask this never take into account the benefit, but only look at the cost.

    And please answer the following concerning the topic at hand:

    How do you fight a war without civilian casualties? If you choose not to fight the war, how do you keep those who choose to fight you from doing so? The US didn’t start this, religious bigotry did. And please don’t say we have to “negotiate.” How do you negotiate with an organization that wants nothing less than to rule the entire muslim world and beyond? Do we hope Afghanistan is enough for them? Should we throw in Pakistan, as well? See my prior article on the lessons of appeasement.
    I believe that the current majority of opinion in Pakistan is that if the government hadn’t gone along with the US in fighting the Taliban, bombs wouldn’t currently be going off in Pakistan. While that may or may not be true, this Machiavellian logic would also excuse the US for rightfully and understandably wanting to attack a clear and present danger to itself, al Qaida and the Taliban. What the Pakistani government understands privately will be continued in the following to insure the previous.
    Recommend

  • Keith Gentile

    @Saad Siddiqui:

    While you may have a point in that Pakistani forces did not kill all 40,000 civilians, the methodology resulted in most of it. I don’t want to condemn the way Pakistanis have chosen to fight the “bad” Taliban, but to point out that no method of war is bloodless and that drone strikes are arguable the least likely to inflict civilian casualties.

    And please, please read this link to Wikipedia article under the section: “Reactions from people in Waziristan” concerning your argument of continual revenge.

    And, by the way, if the theory of endless and mindless revenge killings were true, there wouldn’t be a single person alive today. The very first killing would be justified by the very first killer, the killer of the killer feeling justified for the previous killing, the killer of the killer of the killer justified, and on and on.

    As to your point about Afghanistan being unstable due to the current conflict, that would assume that rule under the Taliban–along with its brutality–was better. The moral argument I would apply to this is the same I hope everyone would:

    If I were Afghani and the Taliban were ruling over me would I risk the chance of death to get rid of them by inviting in a foreign power? My answer would be a resounding “yes, of course!” The low risk of me being killed in the conflict balanced against the chance of getting rid of a bunch of murderous thugs–not only for me but for my children and their children–would lead me to an obvious conclusion.

    If, on the other hand, you would prefer not to risk your own death (the question of which may sooner than you think be the case), you would choose otherwise. But for those who highly value liberty above tyranny, our conscience on the matter of intervention is clear. Do Americans value freedom more than Pakistanis? If you were honest with yourself, I think you would have to answer “no.”

    But if outright war comes to Pakistan and the Taliban and assorted terrorists look like they are about to win, I will remember your answer and encourage those around me to abide by it. Recommend