Thursday, December 2, 2010

David Ignatius "Droning On" . . .

OK, stupid pun, but in fact David Ignatius poses important questions (albeit, not as much in outrage as in a "just sayin'" tone) about the US's ramped-up use of drones in Pakistan (and, as Wikileaks has confirmed, in Yemen) to take out "bad guys." The rub? The US/CIA no longer focuses on capturing and interrogating said "bad guys," largely because of the legal and ethical hassles in holding and interrogating people now that the CIA may no longer (so we're told) round people up, take them to secret prisons located god knows where, and torture the hell out of them to get information.  That means much poorer intelligence as to what they may be up to . . . which means greater reluctance to send US troops into harm's way, since they'd be going in more blindly . . . which means, says Ignatius:
It's not that the Obama administration's limits on detention and interrogation are wrong. They have applied clear guidelines to what had been, before 2006, a murky area. The problem is that these rules, and the wariness of getting into more trouble, have had the perverse effect of encouraging the CIA to adopt a more lethal and less supple policy than before.

U.S. and Pakistani officials support drone attacks because they don't see a good alternative to combat al-Qaeda's operations in the tribal areas. I don't disagree with that view. But this policy needs a clearer foundation in law and public understanding than it has today. Otherwise, when the pendulum swings, the CIA officers who ran these supposedly clandestine missions may be left holding the bag.

In other words, it's easier, and probably cheaper (even using costly drone weaponry) to simply take 'em out, just as the Israelis have been doing with Hamas leaders (and perhaps Iranian nuclear scientists).  The fancier term is "targeted killing" - or assassination.  The Israelis have been doing this on a regular basis for years, with the US looking the other way (even while the Israelis are doing it with weapons supplied by the US.  Their operations have regularly brought a lot of collateral damage - dead civilians whose only offense was to be (a) in the area and (b) non-Israeli.  Same thing for the US's targeted killing-by-drone - or by night raid - in Pakistan and Afghanistan, which likewise kill (ooops) scores of civilians (despite, of course, our very best intentions and post-facto regrets).

So Ignatius feels it's time to pose an important question to his fellow Americans:
So ask yourself: If you don't like the CIA tactics that led to the capture and interrogation of al-Qaeda operatives, do you think it's better to vaporize the militants from 10,000 feet? And if this bothers you, what's the alternative?
Gee, David, good luck on getting a significant response to that?  Don't you get it yet?  The huge majority of your fellow Americans could give a rat's ass about offed Afghan and Pakistani old men, women, and kids.  Bothered?  Are you serious?  When was the last time that enough Americans were especially bothered about their father/brother/husband/son heroes killing locals (especially Muslim and/or dark-skinned locals) in faraway countries whose names most of them can't even pronounce. ("Eye-rack," anyone?).

"And gee, anyway, what can we do about it?"


"I know.  Let's watch Bristol dance tonight on TV!"

So, Dave, how about less of "whatcha think about this, Americans?" - and a lot more "Wake up, you bozos - and start caring about how your government's policies and actions are tarnishing that bright and shiny U S A that you all so loudly pledge allegiance to."

No comments:


Blog Archive

Cluster map

Search This Blog

ICAHD - 18,000 Homes Campaign (large banner)