Obama, participating in a YouTube/Google Plus town hall with
the public, had some tough questions about foreign intervention,
the first time acknowledged that America uses unmanned aircraft to kill
in Pakistan, a supposed ally.
The Nation, Pakistan
Finally Admits to the Obvious: Murderous Drone Attacks
fact is that only a small number of those killed were confirmed as militants,
while the rest were civilians posing no danger to the 'U.S. and its citizens,' which
is the cause of the drone strikes according to the American leader. … they have
resulted in widespread public anger and resentment in Pakistan and are
counterproductive to the purpose of the war on terror."
President Barack Obama has at
last acknowledged what has long been undisputed fact to even the most casual observer:
CIA-operated drones have been carrying out missions in the Federally
Administered Tribal Areas. His claim that they targeted “al-Qaeda and its
affiliates” and not civilians, however, raised more than a few eyebrows. After
all, if all of the 2,661 people killed in the 303 drone attacks since 2001 were
militants and their affiliates, the phenomenon of terrorism would have fizzled
out long ago. The fact is that only a small number of those killed were
confirmed as militants, while the rest were civilians posing no danger to the "U.S.
and its citizens," which is the cause of the drone strikes according to
the American leader. Mr. Obama made his remarks in a
discussion with Web users on Google Plus and You Tube [watch excerpt in photo box].
Before that, U.S. officials had refused to talk about the drones in public.
Immediately after Mr. Obama
owned up to the strikes, Amnesty International
came out with a list of demands that America might find hard to meet. Amnesty
wants to know how the United States has been monitoring civilian casualties and
whether there was any system of accountability in place for those responsible
for civilian deaths. These questions are quite logical and extremely pertinent.
Unless such operations are monitored to determine just who is being killed, one
cannot justifiably deny that civilian deaths have been regularly taking place.
While welcoming the confirmation of the use of drones in Pakistan and calling
it the “first step toward transparency,” Amnesty wanted to know details of
those killed and the legal framework under which these attacks are being
On the other hand, Pakistan
Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit has reiterated that the drone missions are
illegal and that they constitute a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial
integrity. Drone strikes have not only added another irritant to U.S.-Pakistan
relations, but they have resulted in widespread public anger and resentment in
Pakistan. Besides, they are counterproductive to the purpose of the war on
terror, as Mr. Basit pointed out in his comments. He also said that Pakistan has
made repeatedly made its own position abundantly clear to the U.S. Defense
experts here have endorsed the contention of a former Pakistan chief of Air
Staff that such pilot-less planes can be easily shot down. All that is needed
is a government order to do so.
The public has raised a hue
and cry over these attacks, Corps commanders characterize them as “intolerable,"
and only Tuesday, Chief of Army Staff General Kayani
said that the armed forces are fully-prepared to confront any challenge to the
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