When I read Mohsin Hamid’s excellent piece on drones (more accurately, when I done readin’ Mohsin Hamid’s writin’ ) I thought that the last word had been said on drone attacks. But no! A new article by Christine Fair has dropped from the sky like … err … a hellfire missile from a drone. The article (based on a pew study) argues that only a minority of Pakistanis are aware of drone attacks and even among them, only a section of the population oppose it. Interesting.
There are two classes of objections to the drone program
- Drone attacks perform the role of judge, jury and executioner without offering the victims a right to appeal. Furthermore they cause civilian casualties. Pakistanis who sincerely profess this line of argument are truly concerned about human rights. For a moment, let us ignore those 11 pesky Pakistanis. Those leftist busybodies!
- Drone attacks invade the sovirginity of Pakistan, inflame passions among those attacked and ultimately are counterproductive. Most people fall under this category, based on my unscientific polling.
Let us take up the sovirginity argument. To argue loss of sovirginity, we have to assume that Pakistani government (and the powers that be) have clearly stated their opposition to the drone program. And they have on several occasions. For example Ahmed Mukhtar has categorically stated:
The drones do land in Pakistan territory but do not take off from there (they are forced to walk back to Afghanistan)
And ofcourse Pakistan provides only moral, political and diplomatic support for drones and not material support or shelter, somehow Google earth’s satellite didnt get that memo.
But what of the outrage after every violation of sovirginity you ask? Well as Senator Dianne Feinstein spilled the beans:
I don’t know whether you’d care to comment on this but [I] also noticed that Mr Holbrooke in Pakistan ran into considerable concern about the use of the Predator strikes in the FATA area of Pakistan. And yet, as I understand it, these are flown out of a Pakistani base
As I understand it, American politicians are truthful on non-fellatio related issues.
So drones possibly take off from Pakistan (or atleast most probably did so, till the recent past), drone attacks are being carried out with full knowledge and support from Pakistan army, who probably supply targeting (if not tolerate them in “Kill boxes“). And since Pakistan army does nothing for free, it is reasonable to conclude:
- They are doing it for money. Our as our straight shooting comando would like to put it:
We have captured 689 and handed over 369 to the United States. We have earned bounties totaling millions of dollars. Those who habitually accuse us of “not doing enough” in the war on terror should simply ask the CIAhow much prize money it has paid to the government of Pakistan
- They are doing it because they got a “with us or against us” call
- Pakistan professed its inability to do its usual counter insurgency (announce an operation, create 1.5 million people in tents, bomb and flatten houses using artillery) and had to reluctantly agree to US use of drones.
Or what a reasonable person will deduce
- All of the above
So the outrage in public, while approve in private is most probably a well thought out policy by the powers that be, which leaves us two choices about the people who trot out the sovirginity angle about drone attacks
- They are hypocrites
- They are gullible idiots
Since yours sachly never attributes malicious intent, let us go with the gullible idiots explanation. So, what should the gullible idiots do to stop drone attacks?
- Reject coveting free and subsidized american arms. This is possible only if Pakistan normalizes its relationship with her neighbours, like India
- Conduct a full spectrum counter insurgency, by cutting off money, recruits, patronage and encouragement to any and all extremist organizations. This means ceasing to recognize the difference between “good” taliban and “bad” taliban. Proceeding on all terror cases, irrespective of whether they are committed for or against the objectives of the state, purging serving and retired officers from all armed forces who encourage such organizations, truly enforcing bans on banned organization, instructing the judiciary to enforce the law in letter and spirit.
I was kidding I was kidding. Got you there didnt I? Let the money for drones, fake outrage and articles on drones continue ……