May 29, 2013

Drone strikes kill terrorists

US drone
Yesterday a drone strike killed Wali ur Rehman Mehsud, the 2nd in command of the Tehrik e Taliban Pakistan (TTP). News reports say he was killed with his close aide Fakhr-e-Islam and 5 other Uzbek militants.

When I rejoiced at the thought of this snake being killed in a drone strike on Twitter, a very dear friend of mine pointed out that this is unacceptable and should not be tolerated under any circumstances. Normally I'd be prone to agree with him. After all, which country would tolerate another country's weapon of mass destruction firing missiles into its territory?

But these are not normal circumstances. Why does the US feel it has to fire missiles into Pakistan to kill terrorists? Because a) our army does not/dare not go into North Waziristan Agency which has known hideouts of terrorists and b) the Pakistan army has given its blessing to the American drone strike program. And for good measure. Many terrorists have been killed by these very drones that the Pakistani public loves to hate. The government maintains plausible deniability (or used to; recently the US has gone solo on the program so now the government actually has no advance knowledge of a drone strike according to the NYT) and builds up anti US rhetoric which keeps the masses united in their hatred against anything to do with the West and also keeps the terrorists from sparing them (or so they hope!).

Drone strikes have taken out legions of terrorists. According to the Bureau of Investigative journalism, there have 366 drone strikes in Pakistan up to now. Between 2,537 - 3,581 people have been killed in these strikes. Of these people killed between 579 - 1,081 are civilians and children. Whatever way you cut it, that means there's between 1000 - 1500 terrorists who have been killed in these drone strikes. In war there is collateral. And this collateral, between 1000 - 1500, is very limited considering the kind of dangerous animals have been killed.

But of course collateral damage of any kind is unacceptable. And then there's the issue of Pakistan's sovereignty. Ah. The fabled sovereignty. Countries with honest leaders, and honest people have sovereignty. Countries who are willing to fight to the death to defend their honor have sovereignty. Countries who are ready to face long periods of hardship have sovereignty. Iran has sovereignty. Venezuela has sovereignty. Cuba has sovereignty. We only have tatters of indecency which are sold for peanuts. So the myth of Pakistan's sovereignty is just a smokescreen designed to fool the gullible. But let's get back to the drone strikes, and how they violate Pakistan's sovereignty. Fair enough. Why doesn't the Pakistan military shoot down some drones? If we have sovereignty, why doesn't the Pakistan Air Force take down a couple of drones? Show the world we've got some muscle, no matter how puny, and we aren't afraid to use it to defend our honor?

And when the Pakistani people talk about "sovereignty" will they please explain to me where that sovereignty goes when Uzbeks, Tajiks, Afghans and Arabs decide to recreate scenes from Call of Duty on our streets? Uzbeks, Tajiks, Afghans and Arabs are not "Pakistani" people. Will the Pakistani people explain to me how these are "our" people and yet they found it so easy to slaughter 50,000 civilians? Innocent people who had nothing to do with this heinous war? Will the Pakistani people please explain to me what "sovereignty" they talk about when motherless bastards such as Hakeemullah Mehsud order the slaughtering of 130 innocent people in the 10 days before elections just because those people "support" a certain political viewpoint? What sovereignty is there when Pakistani land is allowed to be used to devise and plan terrorism acts WITHIN Pakistan, let alone the rest of the world?

The drones have killed 3500 people. A majority of them terrorists. Terrorists have killed 50,000 people. 46,000 of whom were innocent bystanders, or first responders. 4,000 of whom were military personnel. These are FACTS.

Another point that's objectively raised is will the US allow such drone strikes to occur on its own soil? Of course it won't. It's the world's most powerful country. Other countries dare not touch it. Besides, terrorists are not known to live and train in the US. Terrorists are not known to have safe havens in the US.

Let's get something else clear as well. The love Afghanistan and Afghan Taliban narrative that's eschewed in Pakistan has bitten us on our ass many, many times now. The Afghans have so much hatred for Pakistan, it's unbelievable. Instead we've taken 3.5 million Afghans and given them homes and jobs. The Afghan Taliban, vicious beasts that they are, were the ideology that led to the birth of the Pakistani Taliban. Declan Walsh is right when he says the Pakistani Taliban are a nihilistic organization. Snakes.

Also when you read and research about the objectives of the Pakistani Taliban, it is not to wage a war against the conquering forces. It is establishment of THEIR version of Sharia which as we've clearly seen is bordering on the insane - a far cry from Islam, or any other religion for that matter. So if the Pakistani people think once the US leaves the region things will get back to normal, they are highly mistaken.

Are drone strikes in a moral grey area? Sure. But they've been helpful. They've been helpful in killing the snakes who desecrate the Pakistani people's homes, maim their children, violate their women. And for that, I am thankful for the drone strikes.

And if you still want more certainty, here's a list of the world's most wanted terrorists killed by drone strikes:
  1. Nek Muhammad Wazir
  2. Haitham al-Yemeni
  3. Abu Hamza Rabia (3rd in command of Al Qaeda)
  4. Abu Laith al-Libi
  5. Abu Sulayman al-Jaziri
  6. Midhat Mursi
  7. Abu Ubaidah al Tunisi
  8. Khalid Habib
  9. Abu Jihad al-Masri
  10. Rashid Rauf
  11. Usama al-Kini
  12. Baitullah Mehsud
  13. Tohir Yoldosh (leader of Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan - what the hell was he doing in Pakistan?)
  14. Ilyas Kashmiri (was supposed to be a successor to Osama bin Laden)
  15. Sayeed al-Misri
  16. Jamal Saeed Abdul Rahim
  17. Bahadur Mansoor (responsible for the FIA HQ bombing in Lahore)
  18. Hussain al-Yemeni
  19. Hamza al-Jufi
  20. Sheikh Fateh al-Misri
  21. Wali ur Rehman Mehsud
I've obviously missed out on a lot of other terrorists killed in these strikes but this ought to prove to you their effectiveness. These terrorists are responsible for killing millions of people around the world. Also, most of these terrorists aren't even Pakistani yet were killed in Pakistan. Proves the ineptness of our security apparatus. And yet we still want to blame the US for sending in drones?