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

The Whiteness of Lawrence Summers

My comment #51
April 06, 2009 9:20 am
Summers' 'versatility' and his 'success' at the hedge fund owes much to an identity available to whites in the US political economy, especially white males. I might add that it took Jews, like the Irish, a while to become "white" -- to exchange ethnicity and culture for US racialized dominant default identity.
Summers embodies how WHITENESS works. Persons of color can recognize it on a visceral level especially if we resist the US Whiteness system. We live it every day.

Summers adeptly performs Whiteness. Whiteness goes beyond white (male) skin privilege. Whiteness is a System of dominant racialized, unshared, inequitable, unearned POWER.

Summers was kicked out of Harvard because he made male chauvinist statements about the abilities of female faculty, both of which groups, at Harvard for sure, are mainly white. In fact an African male anthropologist led the charge against Summers.
What does Summers get for his sexist statements, unsupported by scientific evidence? He resigns from Harvard and gets More money, more prestige, more power!

Did Obama perform Whiteness by appointing Summers? It's a system, remember.

Chithra KarunaKaran
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice
Theory of Systemic Whiteness
A Rich Education for Summers (After Harvard)
After leaving Harvard, Lawrence H. Summers earned nearly $5.2 million advising elite math wizards and scientists at a New York hedge fund.