From Ceasefire Magazine online Sept. 19, 2010
Piece by Musab Younis
An excerpt ...
The drone issue is an interesting one. A typical report from the BBC this week, for example, mentions that “twelve people were killed” in a drone strike, probably “militants”, in what is “the 12th drone strike this month in the region”, before adding: “The American military does not routinely confirm drone operations.”
The report is striking by virtue of omission. Nothing is mentioned of the civilian casualties of drone strikes – which were reported by Pakistani authorities to have reached 700 in January of this year (the figure now is surely higher), since the drone war began. Nothing is mentioned of the Gallup poll conducted for Al Jazeera which suggests that less than one in ten Pakistanis support the drone strikes. The same poll asked Pakistanis who they considered to be the greatest threat to their country – the Taliban, India, or the US. A majority of 59 percent said the US. 11 percent said the Taliban.
None of this is mentioned by the BBC. Why should we care what Pakistanis think about the military attacks taking place in their country? And the suggestion that most of them consider the US a greater threat than the Taliban is a difficult one, because it would undercut the central narrative of the news coverage of drone strikes: that though they at times entail unfortunate consequences, they are conducted for the security of the West and Pakistan. The idea that the US could be making the region less secure is, in this context, inconceivable.
Statistics have also vanished: such as the fact that this year, the US has allocated fifteen times more money to Predator drones than to the Pakistan floods relief effort ($2.2bn versus $150m). And there is no question of the reader being subjected to any uncomfortable suggestions, such as that made by the New Yorker last year that assassination, euphemistically termed “targeted killing”, is now “official US policy”, despite the violation of international law, and even the US constitution, that it entails.
Warfare continues to become more professional and dehumanized every day.
The purpose of Extraordinary Edition is being revisited for winter, headed into 2013. U.S. foreign policy, Central Asia and the Middle East remain key focal points. Economics and culture on your front doorstep are coming into focus here.