Opponents of drone strikes say they violate international law and have caused unacknowledged civilian deaths. Proponents insist they actually save the lives of both U.S. soldiers, who would otherwise be deployed in dangerous ground operations, and of civilians, because of the drone’s capacity to survey and strike more precisely than combat. If the alternative is a prolonged and messy ground operation, the advantage of drone strikes in terms of casualties is indisputable, and it is not my intention to dispute it here.
But the terms of this debate give a one-sided view of both the larger financial and political costs of drones, as well as the less than lethal but nonetheless chronic and intense harm continuous strikes wage on communities.
It might be instructive to ask ourselves how we would be reacting if Iraqi commandos landed at George W. Bush's compound, assassinated him, and dumped his body in the Atlantic (after proper burial rites, of course). Uncontroversially, he is not a “suspect” but the “decider” who gave the orders to invade Iraq -- that is, to commit the “supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole” (quoting the Nuremberg Tribunal) for which Nazi criminals were hanged: in Iraq, the hundreds of thousands of deaths, millions of refugees, destruction of much of the country and the national heritage, and the murderous sectarian conflict that has now spread to the rest of the region. Equally uncontroversially, these crimes vastly exceed anything attributed to bin Laden.
Violence and Repression in Western Afghanistan. "A man who was severely beaten by Ismail Khan's forces described to Human Rights Watch the effect of the repression: 'At any time I feel that I am in danger. When I leave my house, I do not know if I will return. I do not know whether something will happen to me, if there will be some car crash, or that I will be hit in the back of the head.' Another witness talked about how his community's hopes after the hated Taliban regime was ended have been deflated: 'What has changed in Afghanistan? All our hopes are crushed. We are completely disappointed. Look-all the same warlords are in power as before. Fundamentalism has come into power, and every day they strengthen their power.'
A story that seems to be good news no matter what side of the 'war' you're on. The dragnet around Bin Laden is reported to be closing quickly, and currently stands, says the Sunday Times, at about 30 squares mile. So, what happens next? (via Plastic.com)
posted by Hildago
on Nov 18, 2001 -
More Q & A on Terror and War "A number of folks feel that current events -- particularly in the last few days -- have dramatically changed the logic and morality of what has been done in Afghanistan, calling into question much of the analysis and assessment that has been offered by critics of the war. Here are some of the questions we have been asked, and our brief replies."
posted by mapalm
on Nov 18, 2001 -