Saturday, 4 May 2013

Drone hypocrisy

By Zenobia van Zelledongen

Reply to Dealing Remote-Control Drone Death, The US Has Lost Its Moral Compass
By Akbar Ahmed and Lawrence Wilkerson © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited

Akbar Ahmed is the Ibn Khaldun chair of Islamic studies at American Univerity in Washington, DC. He has also taught at Princeton, Harvard, and Cambridge Universities. Formerly, he was the Pakistan High Commissioner (ambassador) to the UK and Ireland. His most recent book is Journey into Islam: The Crisis of Globalization (2011)

Zenobia van Zelledongen remarks: Akbar Ahmed is an Islamist and terrorist sympathizer who recently published a book criticising what he calls an “American assault on Tribal Islam” throughout Central Asia,  North Africa and the Middle East. The first “victim” Ahmed bewails in … you guessed it, North Waziristan!

Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson is distinguished adjunct professor of government and public policy at the College of William and Mary. Previously, during a 31-year career in the US army, served as chief of staff to US Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Zenobia van Zelledongen remarks: Col. Wilkerson seems to have degenerated from a professional soldier to a whimpering ninny.

"Warfare by armchair warriors playing video games is little better than murder.
This misguided policy is fueling anti-American hate"

What nonsense! 

The morality or otherwise of using a weapon against a foreign state is not determined by rules of  fair play, i.e. whether the attacker runs any risk of retaliation or not. International law says attacks are warranted if they are in self-defense or serve to forestall imminent military attack. Furthermore international law forbids attacking non-combatants. That’s all. The only relevant issue is whether the US is abiding by international law.

And the answer is that sometimes it is and sometime it isn’t. 

US drone attacks on Yemen appear to have been poorly targeted, have caused many civilian casualties and fueled fuelled anti-American hatred. Moreover it is uncertain whether  they were intended to forestall imminent military attack. Consequently they should be condemned.

On the other hand US drone attacks on North Waziristan are clearly acts of self-defense against the terror training camps that abound in that district under the control of the terrorist Taliban, al Qaeda and others. A steady stream of terrorists has emerged from North Waziristan to slaughter European civilians. Consequently US attacks on North Waziristan are fully warranted, whether they be drone attacks or amphibious landings.

US drone attacks on North Waziristan fuel anti-American hatred. Sure they do.
So what?
In 1979, long before the US intervened in south and central Asia, Islamists looted and burnt the US embassy in Islamabad. Why? Because they charged the US with having instigated the Mahdist attack that year on the big mosque in Mecca. A likely story! Since the Islamists had no good reason yet to hate the US, they invented one.

Ergo, Pakistani hatred is a worthless standard by which to judge anyone’s actions. 
Moreover I doubt very much that Pakistanis are indignant at the US killing civilians. If killing civilians were a taboo in Pakistan, how come most Pakistanis adore Adolf Hitler?

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