Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Maybe If We Sent Sympathy Cards

In today's Spokesman Review we are brought the "good" news of a Taliban leader being killed.

The Pakistani Taliban confirmed Tuesday that their leader, Hakimullah Mehsud, died from injuries suffered in a U.S. drone missile strike last month, an attack that forces the insurgency to find a new leader for the second time in six months.

Those who say Obama is soft on terrorism may not be aware that he has increased the use of missile-bearing drones to attack Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders. The part that's always murky is the number of civilian deaths. From the Christian Science Monitor:

To be sure, there are frequently conflicting public claims about the number of civilians or militants killed in such attacks. On a number of a occasions, senior Taliban or Al Qaeda-linked figures have been reported killed, only to emerge on videotape later to say reports of their demise were exaggerated. Hakimullah Mehsud, the current leader of the Pakistani Taliban, was once reported dead – and then made a public appearance in good health. US officials now say they're confident that he was killed by a December drone strike. His predecessor, Baitullah Mehsud, was killed by a US drone strike in August, 2009.

Hmmm, the CSM didn't pursue the civilian deaths. And from Al Jazeera:

Washington's refusal to comment on its alleged attacks has been criticised, with even supporters of the raids as a tool in Washington's fight against the Taliban saying that the US needs to be more open to counter the fighters' allegations that only innocent civilians are dying.

"The US government doesn't even suggest what the proportion of innocent people to legitimate targets is," Michael Walzer, an American scholar on the ethics of warfare, said.

"It's a moral mistake, but it's a PR mistake as well."

According to the statistics compiled by Pakistani authorities, drones killed 708 people in 44 attacks targeting the tribal areas in 2009. Authorities said more than 90 per cent of those killed in the raids were civilians.

I'm sure that regardless of the number of innocent civilians killed by our missiles, the people there would be understanding because we're in a just fight against terrorism. So if you had family members living in the same place for many years and they happened to be next door to an Al Qaeda leader and a missile killed them along with that leader, you would understand, right? They shouldn't have been there, right? Who in their right mind lives near an Al Qaeda leader?

After all, the last thing we want is for this to go too far.

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