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Forum Post: America's murderous drone campaign is fuelling terror

Posted 6 years ago on May 31, 2012, 2:15 p.m. EST by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Obama's escalation of a war that's already caused thousands of deaths will only destabilise his own allies and bolster al-Qaida

More than a decade after George W Bush launched it, the "war on terror" was supposed to be winding down. US military occupation of Iraq has ended and Nato is looking for a way out of Afghanistan, even as the carnage continues. But another war – the undeclared drone war that has already killed thousands – is now being relentlessly escalated.

From Pakistan to Somalia, CIA-controlled pilotless aircraft rain down Hellfire missiles on an ever-expanding hit list of terrorist suspects – they have already killed hundreds, perhaps thousands, of civilians in the process.

At least 15 drone strikes have been launched in Yemen this month, as many as in the whole of the past decade, killing dozens; while in Pakistan, a string of US attacks has been launched against supposed "militant" targets in the past week, incinerating up to 35 people and hitting a mosque and a bakery.

The US's decision to step up the drone war again in Pakistan, opposed by both government and parliament in Islamabad as illegal and a violation of sovereignty, reflects its fury at the jailing of a CIA agent involved in the Bin Laden hunt and Pakistan's refusal to reopen supply routes for Nato forces in Afghanistan. Those routes were closed in protest at the US killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers last November, for which Washington still refuses to apologise.

Wajid Shamsul Hasan, Pakistan's high commissioner in London, describes the latest US escalation as "punitive". But then Predators and Reapers are Barack Obama's weapons of choice and coercion, deployed only on the territory of troublesome US allies, such as Pakistan and Yemen – and the drone war is Obama's war.

In his first two years in office, the US president more than tripled the number of attacks in Pakistan alone. For their US champions, drones have the advantage of involving no American casualties, while targeting the "bad guys" Bush lost sight of in his enthusiasm to subjugate Iraq. Enthusiasts boast of their surgical accuracy and exhaustive surveillance, operated by all-seeing technicians from thousands of miles away in Nevada.

But that's a computer-game fantasy of clinical war. Since 2004, between 2,464 and 3,145 people are reported to have been killed by US drone attacks in Pakistan, of whom up to 828 were civilians (535 under Obama) and 175 children. Some Pakistani estimates put the civilian death toll much higher – plausibly, given the tendency to claim as "militants" victims later demonstrated to be nothing of the sort.

The US president insisted recently that the civilian death toll was not a "huge number". Not on the scale of Iraq, perhaps, where hundreds of thousands were killed; or Afghanistan, where tens of thousands have died. But they gruesomely include dozens killed in follow-up attacks after they had gone to help victims of earlier strikes – as well as teenagers like Tariq Khan, a 16-year-old Pakistani boy decapitated in a strike last November after he had travelled to Islamabad to protest against drones.

These killings are, in reality, summary executions and widely regarded as potential war crimes by international lawyers – including the UN's special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, Philip Alston. The CIA's now retired counsel, John Rizzo, who authorised drone attacks, himself talked about having been involved in "murder".

A decade ago, the US criticised Israel for such "extrajudicial killings" but now claims self-defence in the war against al-Qaida. These are attacks, however, routinely carried out on the basis of false intelligence, in countries such as Pakistan where no war has been declared and without the consent of the elected government.

Lawyers representing victims' families are now preparing legal action against the British government – which carries out its own drone attacks in Afghanistan – for taking part in war crimes by passing GCHQ intelligence to the CIA for its "targeted killings". Parallel cases are also being brought against the Pakistani government and the drone manufacturer General Electric – whose slogan is "we bring good things to life".

Of course, drone attacks are only one method by which the US and its allies deliver death and destruction in Afghanistan and the wider Middle East, from night raids and air attacks to killing sprees on the ground. The day after last Friday's Houla massacre in Syria, eight members of one family were killed at home by a Nato air attack in eastern Afghanistan – one of many such atrocities barely registered in the western media.

But while support for the war in Afghanistan has fallen to an all-time low in all Nato states, the drone war is popular in the US. That's hardly surprising, as it offers no danger to American forces – the ultimate asymmetric warfare – while supposedly "taking out" terrorists. But these hi-tech death squads are creating a dangerous global precedent, which will do nothing for US security.

A decade ago, critics warned that the "war on terror" would spread terrorism rather than stamp it out. That is exactly what happened. Obama has now renamed the campaign "overseas contingency operations" and is switching the emphasis from boots on the ground to robots.

But, as the destabilisation of Pakistan and growth of al-Qaida in Yemen shows, the impact remains the same. The drone war is a predatory war on the Muslim world, which is feeding hatred of the US – and fuelling terror, not fighting it.




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[-] 2 points by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA 6 years ago

Fueling the shit out of terror!

[-] 1 points by Nevada1 (5843) 6 years ago

Good post.

Have you seen DVD 'Loose Change 9/11: An American Coup' ? It accounts for this.

[-] 1 points by nomdeguerre (1775) from Brooklyn, NY 6 years ago

The drone campaign is a terror campaign. On my dime, but not in my name.

It's as though the Nazis won and have become our rulers.

I never thought our military would become a woman and baby killing machine. It's hideous.

[-] 1 points by TrevorMnemonic (5827) 6 years ago

Don't forget that hired mercenaries like Black Water are still being used in Afghanistan and other countries. Hundreds of millions in private contracts and they even got a piece of a billion dollar contract.

salon reports - http://www.salon.com/2010/10/01/obama_blackwater_again/

[-] 1 points by grapes (5184) 6 years ago

The drone wars are the most logical conclusion satisfying the U.S. populace's desires for apparently "sanitized," no-U.S.-casualty, no-messy-judicial-procedure, offshore-just-do-it-no-need-to-be-troubled-by, and technologically ego-aggrandizing strikes to clean up the terrorist mess which came glaringly and blatantly to the U.S. in the worst attack on U.S. civilians during peacetime on 9/11/2001. Actually al Qaeda did "declare war" on the U.S. in 1998 on ABC Nightline: "kill Americans, military or civlian." There was also the attack on the U.S.S. Cole in Aden but I believe that most of the U.S. populace did not remember those although the Department of State and President Clinton took notice.

There was a popular mandate to close down Guantanamo detainment center for the suspected terrorists but it could not be fulfilled because there was no place else to put them. The U.S. Congress, representing its people, did not want them in the U.S. Attempts to try them in judicial proceedings in the U.S. were shot down, too. Drone strikes take NO prisoners.

Pakistan, our MOST IMPORTANT "ally" in our "war on terror" leaked information about our effort to hunt down Osama bin Laden. It put the U.S. operation into jeopardy because the U.S. was STUPID enough to RESPECT Pakistan's sovereignty to cooperate with it and kept it informed. There are elements in Pakistan which proved again and again that they favored protecting known terrorists than to cooperate with Pakistan's ally, the U.S. They jailed the CIA agent on the bin-Laden operation because he had killed people going after him after the operation had been exposed. They even jailed the doctor helping the U.S. find bin Laden with a fake polio vaccine campaign. If anything, Pakistan should help the U.S. improve its targeting of the terrorists better to rid itself of them. Pakistan had been extremely reluctant to purge the terrorists and only did so after the terrorists had turned against Pakistan itself. The U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan are well justified although it is probably not achieving its stated objective. However, how many people in that part of the world ever question their own government about why there are these flying robots firing missiles at their country? Not many but there are many politicians there willing to fan the flames to improve their political and other fortunes just like it here in the U.S.

[-] 0 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 6 years ago

The entire Bin Laden story was a load of crap.

"Dumped his body in the sea"....gimme a freakin break.

We found the global leader in terrorism and decided to shoot and kill him instead of interogate him? Taht would certainly be a first.

What a joke.

[-] 1 points by Nevada1 (5843) 6 years ago


[-] 1 points by grapes (5184) 6 years ago

We cared enough about our special ops to allow them discretionary power in the raid. It was up to the commando to do what was necessary and appropriate. Yes, it would have been vastly better for our anti-terrorism effort if we could have captured Osama bin Laden alive but it was probably not worth the lives and limbs of our elite special ops as they had made the call themselves.

Believe what you will. If it comforts you at all to be in great company, there are probably billions and billions of people who believe similar ridiculous things, too. However, whoever have seen the light of Truth know that it does NOT depend on sheer numbers.

[-] 1 points by nomdeguerre (1775) from Brooklyn, NY 6 years ago

The whole capture-of-bin-Laden story is pure bullsh*t, you can bet that there are millions of people who know that. Your controllers must be getting desperate, they're losing their ability to sell lies.

Your language is so weak, you obviously don't believe it yourself. But of course, if someone is smart enough to be able to wipe their own ass, they are smart enough to recognize the bin Laden story as ridiculous.

[-] 1 points by grapes (5184) 6 years ago

I had learned from my online interactions that it did not matter much to try to convince people who do NOT want to be convinced. There are billions upon billions of us who live in our own non-reality and most of them had NEVER attained critical thinking abilities or if they did they did NOT bother to apply them. If you feel that my language is weak, that is perfectly fine with me. Truth is NOT a function of the strength of language. Too many earthlings believe that yelling enhances the truthiness and so it does for hoi polloi.

[-] 1 points by nomdeguerre (1775) from Brooklyn, NY 6 years ago

It's typical of Cass Sunstein's paid posters that they don't really engage with the subjects they write on. No surprise.

[-] 0 points by grapes (5184) 6 years ago

"I never thought our military would become a woman and baby killing machine. It's hideous."

Has any other military ever been better, not having killed women and babies? However infuriating it might have been to other countries, we do want to minimize U.S. casualties and we do it because we can and we should. If the people of other countries want to be valued in the same way, too, become an American and join our military. The U.S. takes in year after year more immigrants than the rest of the world's countries COMBINED so it is not all that unusual to BECOME an American.

[-] 0 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 6 years ago

100% of your truth is based on a press release from the Whitehouse.

Thats it. A press release. Sent to Reuters and the AP.

Good luck with that.

[-] 1 points by grapes (5184) 6 years ago

"The entire Bin Laden story was a load of crap." "Dumped his body in the sea"

On what basis did you conclude that? My hypothesis is that if the U.S. populace cannot tolerate trying Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in lower Manhattan. There is probably no appetite for dealing with Osama bin Laden, either. Both cases would likely attract unnecessary terrorist attacks. Also not having Osama bin Laden's body around makes sense to minimize the unnecessary carnage that may engender. Think about what had happened to the burning of already damaged Qurans. In that part of the world, people killed over THAT, being worshippers of the physical Quran but having no faith in the true spiritual power of the Quran.

[-] 0 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 6 years ago

Well, when I've heard various active members of the military say the whole thing is bullshit too, its obvious.

"not worth the life and limbs"....So now we give a shit about life and limbs? Meaningless raids are nothing, but the biggest one of all time we dont want to sacrifice a few lives? Come one dude, grow up.

[-] 1 points by grapes (5184) 6 years ago

Think about who were actually making the real call (whether to kill Osama bin Laden or not) in this case and where their interests laid. There were a lot that had been learned from the evidences gathered so it was still a huge scoop even if Osama bin Laden was not captured alive.

I believe that elite special ops are more valuable for accomplishing certain military objectives than gobs of run-of-the-mill troops. Think about how many troops we probably had to deploy to barge into the neighborhood of Pakistan's military commanders to capture Osama bin Laden, dead or alive. The whole thing's cover would be blown as soon as the U.S. amassed the number of troops necessary to fight their way to the destination. Even if they were successful, Osama bin Laden would have long escaped. Quality of instrument (and preserving that) is important in some cases although quantity has a quality all its own. Lives are to be treasured.

[-] 1 points by lkindr (58) 6 years ago

This is from Citizens For Legitimate Government - 25 Jul 2012 - http://www.legitgov.org US drone strike kills 13 in North Waziristan [Pakistan] - 23 Jul 2012 - Miranshah: At least 13 people have been killed in a US drone strike in North Waziristan Agency of Pakistan, northwestern tribal region bordering Afghanistan, sources said on Friday. The sources said that the drone fired eight missiles on a house in Shawal area of the agency, killing 13 people in the attack. "Fear prevailed in the area as more drones are still flying in the air," they added.

[-] 2 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 6 years ago

how sad that neither party is even talking about this

[-] 1 points by pirateman (-3) 6 years ago

What a hypocrite--it's OK to kill women and children with drones (just collateral damage) but it's a war crime to waterboard KSM who planned the killing of 3,000 Americans. I'm sick of Obama's campaign to appear as tough as Rambo. Just another Chickenhawk.

[-] 1 points by grapes (5184) 6 years ago

Judicial procedures can only be applied if one has control of the prisoners. KSM was and still is in the control of the U.S. so yes, it can be a war crime to waterboard him. KSM had never been proven beyond reasonable doubts in a U.S. civilian court to have planned the killing of 3000 Americans so he could be innocent or he could be guilty of it but still let go.

Killing innocent people is WRONG but in the absence of HONEST intelligence cooperation from Pakistan, collateral damage becomes inevitable. The U.S. will not give up hunting down the terrorist culprits because unfortunately, some of us have very long-term memories.

Obama may appear to be a Chickenhawk but is he not heading the chickens of the U.S. populace which even feel scared of a homeland trial of an alleged terrorist such as KSM? The Chickenhawk is doing our bidding because we are too chicken to face it ourselves.

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 6 years ago

there all bombers

a few fighter planes can control the skies

[-] 1 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 6 years ago

Muse - Uprising

no al-Qaida

[-] 0 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 6 years ago

Half the population thinks that since they dont want us over there, we should BOMB THEM, and the other half just doesnt give a shit.

We are in the middle of a cultural and intellectual crisis, and Im not sure what needs to happen to shock us out of it.

[-] 1 points by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA 6 years ago

You know what else is sad? I read like 95% of Afghan males never even heard of 911.

[-] 1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 6 years ago

Ive heard from soldiers that some think we are the freakin Soviets!!

[-] 0 points by adaldk (-11) 6 years ago

obama said the military serve on his behalf. thats what dictators say. the people in the armed forces take an oath to the constitution, NOT to the president.

[-] 1 points by hchc (3297) from Tampa, FL 6 years ago

I'ver heard him say quite a few very disturbing things lately.

I get into arguements sometimes about national vs local issues.

but it seems more and more, the national plans are dwarfing anything that a local area may want to do.

[-] -1 points by adaldk (-11) 6 years ago

disturbing statements from a mentally unbalanced person. go to the ulsterman report. read about what the whitehouse insider (WHI) has to say.

[-] 1 points by gnomunny (6819) from St Louis, MO 6 years ago

That's a great article. An interesting picture of Obama 'behind closed doors.' And this is the 'leader of the free world?'

[-] 0 points by adaldk (-11) 6 years ago

the ulsterman report is a great site. the WHI(whitehouse insider) and WSI (wallstreet insider) are well worth reading, the WHI stated what was going to happen with the obama administration long ago. go througth the archives.


[-] 0 points by 1sealyon (434) 6 years ago

175 children? That's nothing. In America we kill 1,400,000 children every year. Some just because they are girls or not as smart as the other kids.

Why are you surprised that Obama and other Americans care little about another 175?