Middle East

Oct 11, 2012

Drone march to Waziristan with Pakistan’s unofficial war victims

Imran Khan and victims of the US drone war in Pakistan invited media and activists to join a convoy of protest through the outskirts of the war-ravaged nation. Justin Randle was among them.

Last weekend in Pakistan, Imran Khan lead a convoy of vehicles toward Waziristan which was at times over 20 kilometres long. The peace march, which I flew from Australia to attend, mobilised thousands to focus world attention on this impenetrable region and the still officially secret US drone war that is being carried out there.

According to Clive Stafford Smith, director of the legal charity Reprieve, the journey to Waziristan was Imran’s idea. According to Imran, it was Clive’s. But while they may joke around together, there is no friendly disagreement on the purpose. It was to protest drone strikes that have decimated the region and continue to kill innocent people. The strikes are not only against international law; they are also counterproductive and fuelling extremism in Pakistan. Though derided by critics as politically expedient, the peace march was an historic step in the larger global effort to lift the veil of secrecy that shrouds this extrajudicial assassination program.

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2 thoughts on “Drone march to Waziristan with Pakistan’s unofficial war victims

  1. Christopher Nagle

    Drones carry the war to the Taliban in their own heartlands. And while I cannot be privy to how targets are selected, there must be an intelligence system that identifies enemy targets which presumably has some degree of reliability, which doesn’t mean that it is always right or that collateral damage won’t be inflicted as well.

    After all, Taliban do not conveniently set themselves up in military enclaves so that drones will only hit them, and not ‘civilians’ (whatever that means to people who are prepared to use children as suicide bombers).

    Let us remind ourselves that the Taliban are enemies that must be fought. They are ruthless enemies who will not just attack absolutely anybody, using any means, but will use anybody in their control for any purpose they see fit, such as collateral damage propaganda.

    And let me remind the writer of this article that one cannot always rely on what one is told by ‘civilian’ witnesses. These witness statements about the iniquities of drones can’t be checked. Are they Taliban sympathizers who agree that girls shouldn’t get an education and deserve to be flogged or shot if they try to oppose Taliban will. Were they relative or friends of Taliban? What would happen to said witnesses if they confirmed that Taliban were using villagers as human shields and Taliban found out?

    I just cannot get over what uncritical ideological sucks some reporters can be? That doesn’t mean drones do not have negative effects. But that is how it is in wars, I would have thought. Nasty things, wars…..

  2. Peter Hindrup

    Christopher :
    So simple! The US says that ‘they’ are Taliban, ‘we’ are at war with them, note: they are not at war with the US and its allies, or at least only to the extent that the USers are invaders in their country/s with the avowed intention of destroying their way of life, imposing the far superior lifestyle of the ‘West’, a lifestyle sustainable only on the basis that the resources of all those not powerful enough to prevent the theft of their resources, and the slaughtering their people.

    No: the USsers are making war, murdering innocents, in an attempt to seize control of the worlds diminishing oil/energy supplies. It is they who are the invaders, murders, plunders, terrorists. That they depict the Taliban and anyone else who opposes them as ‘terrorists’ and a threat to the world is for the consumption of those too bloody lazy, too bloody careless of the rights and lives of others to care.

    The then Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s answer on U.S 60 Minutes (5/12/96) on to Lesley Stall sanctions against Iraq: ‘We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?’
    Secretary of State Madeleine Albright: ‘I think this is a very hard choice, but the price–we think the price is worth it.’ illustrates how completely unhinged people in these positions can become.

    On the basis of that answer alone, why was she not taken out and hanged?

    And do not splutter to me about 9/11! As in all things follow the money, follow the trail the those who benefited, and those who benefited most.
    It was most certainly not the Taliban, the Afghanistani, the Iraqi.

    These people that the USers abuse are too damned civilised for their own good! It is past time that they realised that merely killing a few ‘soldiers’ was a waste of time. Rather they ought identify politicians supporting the invasions, the officers and those soldiers involved in atrocities and target their homes, the schools which their children attend and the hospitals that treat the war maimed. Yes, I mean right there in the states.

    Let them know that while they can certainly main and kill the innocents in the countries that they invade they cannot protect their own, at home. It is time that the USers were made the understand what ‘terror’ means. Understand what it is to dig the broken remains of their kids from the rubble.

    They are to thick to understand anything less.

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