Monday, October 18, 2010

The stupidity of drone attacks

On Friday, US drones killed another ten people in Pakistan. As usual, the victims were mostly civilians. Meanwhile, in the Independent, Johann Hari points out the obvious: these strikes are stupid, counterproductive, and endanger us all:

David Kilcullen is a counter-insurgency expert who worked for General Petraeus in Iraq and now advises the State Department. He has shown that two per cent of the people killed by the robot-planes in Pakistan are jihadis. The remaining 98 per cent are as innocent as the victims of 9/11. He says: "It's not moral." And it gets worse: "Every one of these dead non-combatants represents an alienated family, and more recruits for a militant movement that has grown exponentially as drone strikes have increased."

Professor of Middle Eastern history Juan Cole puts it more bluntly: "When you bomb people and kill their family, it pisses them off. They form lifelong grudges... This is not rocket science. If they were not sympathetic to the Taliban and al-Qa'ida before, after you bomb the shit out of them, they will be."

In other words, by indiscriminately killing people, they're feeding the insurgency they are trying to suppress, and driving people to the very behaviour they're supposedly there to prevent. These tactics are threatening our lives. But I guess they keep the CIA and military in business.