At Least We’re Not Measles: Rationalizing Drone Attacks Hits New Low

Thales Watchkeeper WK450 UAV

The inimitable Matt Taibbi takes on the drones issue for Rolling Stone:

Read an absolutely amazing article today. Entitled “Droning on about Drones,” it was published in the online version of Dawn, Pakistan’s oldest and most widely read English-language newspaper, and written by one Michael Kugelman, identified as the Senior Program Associate for South Asia at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

In this piece, the author’s thesis is that all this fuss about America’s drone policy is overdone and perhaps a little hysterical. Yes, he admits, there are some figures that suggest that as many as 900 civilians have been killed in drone strikes between 2004 and 2013. But, he notes, that only averages out to about 100 civilians a year. Apparently, we need to put that number in perspective:

Now let’s consider some very different types of statistics.

In 2012, measles killed 210 children in Sindh. Karachiites staged numerous anti-drones protests last year, but I don’t recall them holding any rallies to highlight a scourge that was twice as deadly for their province’s kids than drone strikes were for Pakistani civilians.

Nor do I recall any mass action centered around unsafe water. More people in Karachi die each month from contaminated water than have been killed by Indias army since 1947 . . . 630 Pakistani children die from water-borne illness every day (that’s more than three times the total number of Pakistani children the BIJ believes have died from drone strikes since 2004).

So I’m reading this and thinking, he’s not really going to go there, is he? But he does…

[continues at Rolling Stone]

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  • “Big” Richard Johnson

    This guy is a real Quisling.

    • jnana

      god bless you

  • BuzzCoastin

    the drone strike think is overblown
    when it focuses on the deaths of children
    like murder is OK after puberty
    but killing kids is somehow more heinous
    and killing American citizens without due process is simply de rigueur for Der Homeland

    Der Homeland’s war machine has an impressive list of kills
    that goes back to Plymouth Rock
    the drone strikes are just a continuation of genocidal policies long in place

    • LucidDreamR

      The increasing level of detachment from the battlefield is a bit troubling to me. It’s one thing to kill face to face, and military studies have shown the majority of men in this situation will intentionally not ‘hit their target'; but when you start having guys thousands of miles away, looking at a screen in an atmosphere much like the video games they grew up on- it strikes me as another step down an even uglier path. If that’s even possible, I know… Then there’s the idea of these things becoming fully automated, which opens a whole new can of worms…

      • BuzzCoastin

        the dronish detachment is actually a harbinger of change
        from physical war
        to an electronic virtual battlefield
        where the fates of corporations and their nations
        are determined by algorithms & joystick jockeys

        death by warfare
        as a percentage of population
        is at an all time low
        and has been declining significantly in the last 1000 years

        • LucidDreamR

          I wonder though how those percentages have changed as far as civilian vs. combatant casualties? And also if it’s a backing off on the killing, or that the population explosion is outpacing our ability to kill each other? Either way- I still prefer the idea of a man having to really face the repercussions for his actions right then and there. This change might be planned: knowing full well that most of us humans actually don’t want to kill each other, this change might bring those failing casualty numbers back to the front. I’ve also seen some incredibly horribly written code out there that would seriously scare me if left to decide who lives and dies… but then again, maybe we’ll get lucky and the dog will turn on it’s master.

          • BuzzCoastin

            civilians have long borne the brunt of war
            victimized by both sides
            there really hasn’t been much face to face warfare
            since the invention of the stirrup & the bow & arrow
            even before that it was mostly a mêlée
            (the Iliad was poetry not history)

            the other thing to remember about all this drone shit is
            what goes around comes around
            and one day Karma’s gonna come to roost in Der Homeland

          • LucidDreamR

            What an interesting parallel; that even from such early days we found ways to distance ourselves from such ugly deeds, but at the very same time can be so easily and quickly convinced to do so- for such horrible reasons by even more horrible people no less…

            I couldn’t agree more that it’s bound to come back around. Here’s hoping sooner than later

  • InfvoCuernos

    The mathematics of collateral damage only works if you are the one doing the damage. Just ask Timothy McVeigh about that one-oh ya, you can’t because justice was served to him.

  • Bluebird_of_Fastidiousness

    How fitting that his organization bears the name of Woodrow Wilson; the treacherous weasel that created the Federal Reserve, the IRS and “kept us out of the war” (not valid when re-elected).

    I especially like the implication that the locals aren’t interested in vaccines. I wonder why?

  • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

    I just hate these fucking assholes, I can’t come up with anything ironic to say.

    • Calypso_1

      The anal scenes really aren’t my thing either.

  • Andrew

    Now compare 9/11 with traffic accident deaths!

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