01 April 2013

Graphic depiction of U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan

The visualization tracks the victims of the strikes using data from the Bureau for Investigative Journalism, specifically noting children and civilian collateral damage. Note the sharp uptick after President Obama takes office in 2009.
The image above is a screencap.  The interactive version is here, via HuffPo.

Of particular note is that the graphic displays drone strikes conducted by the United States in Pakistan - not Iraq or Afghanistan.  We are of course not at war with Pakistan.

I think I've posed this question before, but don't remember getting a salient reply:  If you support the American use of drones in Pakistan on the basis that "we need to go after our enemies no matter where they are," would you permit China to use drones to attack its enemies (Uighers for example), or Syria vs Syrian rebels and their supporters, or Turks vs Kurds if they were targeting their enemies within the United States?  Or is the U.S. special in some way that doesn't apply to other countries?

If it would be permissible, how many U.S. civilian casualties would be acceptable?

A hat tip to Stan B for the link.

16 comments:

  1. In my mind it is unacceptable for the US to be targeting individuals in another country without a declaration of war, or permission from the other country. I do wonder if Pakistan has granted the US permission, just not publicly.

    No, the US is not special in that way, and yes I am a US citizen.

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  2. Of course the US is special. Blessed by god. You hear it constantly. Must be true.

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  3. As I'm to understand it, Pakistan doesn't have control of the region where the drone strikes are taking place; they're publicly decrying them while privately condoning them. The whole situation is a lot more complicated than you're making it sound.

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  4. Here's Pakistan asking for _more_ drone strikes in 2008: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/20/us-pakistan-wikileaks-idUSTRE74J3UV20110520

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    1. With U.S. history of propping up leaders and giving aid in the area, Pakistan has somewhat of a client state relationship with the U.S. Ask actual citizens how they feel about the strikes vs. the requests of government leaders. Same can be said about Yemen.

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    2. It's more complicated than can be summarized in a comment on TYWKIWDBI. Here's a good place to start:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drone_strikes_in_Pakistan

      I'm Darren MacLennan, by the way; I don't know why it keeps ID'ing me as Unknown.

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    3. Thank you for the link, Darren. Despite the apparent "complexity", I still can't believe the public in this country would tolerate a foreign government conducting assassinations on U.S. soil.

      Re your signins on blogspot, I don't know why it doesn't recognize you or what profile you're trying to use; you might try instead entering your comments using the "Name/URL" option in the pulldown menu (without or without entering a URL), and putting your name in the indicated place. That should work.

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    4. Darren MacLennanApril 1, 2013 at 1:53 PM

      The United States wouldn't tolerate foreign strikes on American soil, but on the other hand, we have a strong government, strong military and are in full control of our own territory. Pakistan can't say the same. Think of having Florida controlled by the Confederates, or North Dakota controlled by Quebecois seperatists.

      Check this out as well: http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/03/are-drone-strikes-killing-terrorists-or-creating-them/274499/

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  5. Does anyone have a problem with drones specifically, or just with any tool the US uses to fight a conflict they think we shouldn't be involved in? People often attack the specific technology or technique when they mean to attack the situation where it's being used. People think gory pictures are an inappropriate political tool when they're of fetuses, but not when they're of Emmett Till; surely the political background (abortion okay, lynching not okay) has more to do with it than the pictures themselves. Likewise, most people who oppose drone strikes really just think we should be out of Pakistan.

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    1. Yeah, I have a problem with drones- specifically. I have a problem with a technology that assassinates people the world over (some of them US citizens), but when it does so, often kills innocent men, women and children- despite being touted as "surgical." I have a problem with a weapon that creates more enemies than it can ever effectively eliminate, particularly when it misidentifies the very target itself. Technology that creates more problems than it can actually possibly solve eventually becomes everyone's.

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    2. My point exactly: you just described war.

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    3. Except we have never declared war on Pakistan, Yemen etc. etc...

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  6. And what do you propose we do to stop our government from using the drones to surgically assassinate foreigners? I can't even get my Senator to answer my letters or my President to stop offering to cut Social Security or Medicare. The average citizen has no voice in our own politics today.

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  7. Back in the sixties, people were educated enough (due to the GI Bill, tuition free city universities, etc) to connect the dots- that's why you had A LOT of pissed off people marching in the streets everywhere, everyday, demanding accountability, and politicians at least went through the motions of being responsible. Now we're dumbed down to the extent that we get all sorts of ticked off if someone tries to take away the gallon sized sodas that are killing us, but don't say a goddamn word when that same billionaire amends the law just so he can run for a third term as mayor.

    Not to worry, the new iPhone is just around the corner, the the job creators have our back, global warming is just a theory...

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    1. There were a lot of "pissed off people marching in the streets" in the 1960's because we had a draft, and people did not want to participate in an illegal/immoral war. Today, we have a volunteer military, and our "liberal" media prefers to cover "social issues" like gay marriage, abortion, and gun control rather than spend money sending reporters to foreign countries to investigate what our government is doing IN OUR NAME.

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    2. Yes, the draft was a key issue, but not the only. Again, why do you think the media, and politicians, are able to conveniently focus on non and side issues to the detriment of what's most important?

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