Thursday, May 24, 2012

#NATOvictims - Drone Strikes in Pakistan

The juxtaposition of the vainglorious NATO Summit in Chicago and today's latest set of CIA drone strikes in Pakistan is just too much to take.
Much of the world press regurgitates the standard United States government narrative of these drone strikes -- see for instance the New York Times account: Pakistan Says U.S. Drone Strike Kills Suspected Militants. In contrast, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ) compiles as many accounts as possible, which gives a far more truthful account of the facts -- especially those related to injury and death inflicted on innocent people. According to BIJ, in the latest attack:
The CIA’s drones returned to the attack for the second time in 24 hours, killing ‘suspected militants’ in an attack on a house. But a nearby mosque was also hit as villagers attended morning prayers. At least three civilians died. ‘The drone fired two missiles at the compound. We believe it was being used by militants,’ one official told Reuters. Associated Press’s sources said that ‘most of those killed were Uzbek insurgents,’ although KUNA reported tribal elders as saying that all of those killed were ‘innocent local tribesmen.’ At least three civilians were reportedly killed when a nearby mosque was also struck during the attack, according to AFP. A security official told the news agency that the three worshippers, believed to be Central Asians, ‘were seriously wounded and died later in the hospital.’ Channel 4 News said that most of the dead were local villagers, with four being ‘foreign fighters, believed to be Turkmen.’
Would someone please look at the list of drone strikes in Pakistan -- week after week after week -- compiled by BIJ and figure out a way to convey to Americans what this would feel like if it the UNITED STATES were on the receiving end of this terror?
There can be no question but that Americans and the rest of the world will eventually wake up to the terror being inflicted in their name on Pakistanis and others. The only question that will then remain will be whether Obama, Panetta, and the whole drone "kill chain" will be prosecuted as war criminals or as ordinary criminals. (And God help them if they are condemned to the limbo of "unlawful enemy combatant" - entitled to neither civil nor military justice.)