In the United States, the dominant narrative about the use of drones in Pakistan is of a surgically precise and effective tool that makes the US safer by enabling “targeted killing” of terrorists, with minimal downsides or collateral impacts.- LivingUnderDrones.org
This narrative is false.
Following nine months of intensive research—including two investigations in Pakistan, more than 130 interviews with victims, witnesses, and experts, and review of thousands of pages of documentation and media reporting—this report presents evidence of the damaging and counterproductive effects of current US drone strike policies. Based on extensive interviews with Pakistanis living in the regions directly affected, as well as humanitarian and medical workers, this report provides new and firsthand testimony about the negative impacts US policies are having on the civilians living under drones.
Real threats to US security and to Pakistani civilians exist in the Pakistani border areas now targeted by drones. It is crucial that the US be able to protect itself from terrorist threats, and that the great harm caused by terrorists to Pakistani civilians be addressed. However, in light of significant evidence of harmful impacts to Pakistani civilians and to US interests, current policies to address terrorism through targeted killings and drone strikes must be carefully re-evaluated.
It is essential that public debate about US policies take the negative effects of current policies into account.
I am of the opinion that to any rational and informed voter in America, there is no choice for President this November; there is a vote for President Barack Obama, and there is a vote for a man who is a disgrace to our nation's aspirational principles, an empty figurehead of a party that has been corrupted beyond all recognition.
I am also of the opinion that Barack Obama has conducted himself with a commendable level of integrity; he is not the lesser of two evils, he is a representative of some of the best that America has to offer. I am proud to call him my President, and I suspect that in many ways, he will be the standard for competence, personal excellence, compassion, and grace under fire for decades to come. In unfavorable circumstances, he managed to bring American Healthcare into the modern world. You cannot understate that; that was an achievement which eluded Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry S Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton, not to mention countless Speakers and Senators on both sides of the aisle. None of them faced the obstructionism that President Obama did, and yet all of them were formidable political eagles of their time.
That does not mean, however, that Barack Obama is perfect. He has famously said of his job that, "Nothing comes to my desk that is perfectly solvable. Otherwise, someone else would have solved it. So you wind up dealing with probabilities. Any given decision you make you'll wind up with a 30 to 40 percent chance that it isn't going to work." He understands this. I believe that President Obama did not make his decision lightly. To the extent that he is a 'hawk', he has been a carefully calculated one, and not someone who crows thoughtlessly.
But it's time to stop this. Whatever value it may have held for us once, I do not believe it does now. The only type of war that can be won by battering your opponent into submission is total war, a complete war, an unethical war. Beyond that, war is a tool to buy time for diplomacy.