Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The empire drones on

According to a recent study, between June 2004 and September 2012, US drone strikes have killed up to 3,325 people in Pakistan, including as many as 881 civilians (176 of whom were children), and injured as many as 1,362 others. These estimates are in stark contrast to the prop-Obama-ganda coming out of Washington.  

"High level" targets (read: horrible bad guys, or people who represent a potential threat of some sort to US corporate interests, or maybe just someone with the wrong family connections) represent around 2% of those killed. Don’t know about you, but if I had a gun that could only actually hit the target one out of every 50 rounds no matter how carefully I aimed it—and "accidentally" killed innocent bystanders with the other 49 rounds—I might think about getting another gun.

Of course, the collateral deaths are anything but accidents. And these statistics are irrelevant for evaluating the success of the drone program. Drone strikes are not designed to kill bad guys. Their singular purpose is to establish fear and dread and passive compliance in the face of overwhelming force. And the Pakistanis are just cannon fodder—lab rats for working out the technological kinks in the system prior to its broad application, both around the world and as a weapon in the domestic police arsenal back home.

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