Drones and again Drones and Democratic Values

Western television viewers may not always be watching, but in Karachi and Lahore they are glued to their screens. In the four years between 2004 and 2007, there were just nine US drone strikes in north-west Pakistan, with around 25 deaths a year; in 2010, there were 118, with estimates of up to 1,000 people killed. But how many of these dead were innocent?…

[A]n obvious danger of drone warfare is that it encourages reckless military activity, risking a high likelihood of innocent civilian death – with the hapless victims, including the very young, remaining faceless with no meaning at all to the military planners pressing their buttons several thousand miles away. Yet, these victims, young and old, have great significance in Pakistan, and their collateral destruction will surely have unintended consequences, coming back to haunt us soon enough…

Yet hypocrisy is a dangerous quality, particularly in a superpower. So in the shadow of Bin Laden’s death, the question for the west may be whether it is time at last for a different kind of campaign: one based less upon the skilful delivery of random and sudden death, and a little more focused on the democratic values on which we lecture our enemies.

Excepts, Ken Macdonald, The Predator drone paradox,Guardian, May 5, 2011

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