Monday, April 6, 2009

Drone 'em: US Policy Missteps in South Asia

My NYT Comment #18
April 06, 2009 8:53 am

The US should halt its drone activity. Not because Baitullah Mehsud called for it but because daily and nightly drone strikes KILL civilians -- children, women and men.

We can be almost certain that the US govt. and its overreaching military routinely underreports and criminally disregards loss of Afghan and Pakistani civilian lives. Are these hapless individuals wearing T for Taliban T-shirts, that the unmanned drones can accurately target 'terrorists' from the air? I think we all know that US intelligence (yeah, right) is flawed at best and criminal at worst.

The self-proclaimed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and the the Fedayeen-e-Islam are exploiting the US/NATO presence, especially the drone flybys, for their own pathological and murderous ends -- US drone killings of civilians serve as an excellent recruiting tool for the TTP and similar terror outfits.
Both Karzai and Zardari have called for an end to the drones.

On a more urgent and basic level, US state-sponsored terror and billions of US taxpayer cash-for-your-satellitized-subservience dollars flung at Pakistan's ISI-driven civilian government must cease. The US govt. should be proactive on intelligence and security of its own borders, airspace and waterways right here at home, not poke around South Asia creating terror that begets terror.

Instead, humanitarian assistance and other on-the-ground civilian services funneled through international aid agencies are a necessary alternative strategy to the failed and costly US policy of blatant interference and manipulation of weak states in the South Asia region.

South Asia can and must be free to negotiate its own geopolitics. The US presence distorts and inflames this fraught geopolitics.

Chithra KarunaKaran
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice
New York Times copyright
News Analysis
Time Is Short as U.S. Presses a Reluctant Pakistan by Jane Perlez

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