Talking about drones and the dirty war
If you want to understand how Obama can get away with drones, indefinite detention and the rest of it, you need to read Gene Lyons' column Obama's realpolitik drone strategy.
Lyons has spent much of his career documenting abuse of power. He has never been a Kool Aide drinker. That he can write a column like this is a measure of the task we have before us.
To put it plainly, if we cannot convince people like Lyons that the drone campaign does much harm and little good, then we cannot convince America. Rather than snide remarks, we need to address his concerns.
Looking back at Argentina's Dirty War (and I think Argentina is the historical comparison that makes the most sense) it started with a genuine domestic security crisis. Initially people like Jacobo Timmerman were supportive of the dirty war as an unhappy necessity. It was just gradually, by reporting on abuses, that Timmerman began to understand that the whole thing was out of control. Prisoner without a cell, without a number is a book for our times.
We need to talk about Tariq Aziz:
A group of Pakistanis met in Islamabad late last month to discuss the impact of U.S. drone strikes in their communities. One of the attendees was a 16-year-old boy named Tariq Aziz, who had volunteered to learn photography to begin documenting drone strikes near his home. Within 72 hours of the meeting, Aziz was killed in a U.S. drone strike. His 12-year-old cousin was also killed in the Oct. 31 attack.
If Pakistan is ever to become a stable democracy, we need people like Tariq Aziz. Now he has been stolen from us. We need to publicize such cases until the destructive quality of our policy is made clear.
We need to convince more Americans to read The Friday Times to consider the Pakistani point of view.
Finally we need to keep reminding everyone that more soldiers die from suicide than in combat. Clearly we are asking them to do things that they cannot live with.