It was 2009 and I was shocked at what I was reading: Obama was actually increasing strikes in a highly controversial, if not downright illegal drone bombing campaign in Pakistan that began under the Bush administration.
When Obama started rocking-and-rolling in his foreign policy adventures, the press gave his global drone bombing campaign hardly any attention, but I was following it closely (especially in Pakistan). Reports noted how Pakistani women and children were killed in the dozens. Villages that had no links to the ‘bad guys’ were decimated. Anti-American sentiments inevitably ran rampant. Potential allies were turning into real enemies. Many Pakistanis started seeing Americans as the real terrorists, war criminals, and cowards for not fighting on the ground like true warriors. The latter point is particular important in the tribal areas of Pakistan, where the notions of shame and honour are utmost in society. In essence, Obama’s drone bombing campaign wasn’t helping any group, Americans or Pakistanis.
I was so frustrated with Obama’s approach to Pakistan that I started to publish articles regularly on the drone bombing campaign. Most of these articles were published under World Can’t Wait, a ‘radical’ left-wing activist organization in the U.S, before the press really started to cover the drone bombing campaign. Much of what I was saying then is coming to fruition now.
A newly released study, Living Under Drones, written by human rights researchers from Stanford and New York Universities, details hundreds of Pakistani civilian casualties and the devastating effects of drone strikes on the local population (Source: Common Ground News Service). The study states: ‘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 killings” of terrorists, with minimal downsides or collateral impacts. This narrative is false’. Instead, ‘the study concludes that the CIA drone program in Pakistan has not made America any safer and instead has turned the Pakistani public against the United States. Indeed, 80% of Pakistanis have a negative opinion of the United States and three-in-four Pakistanis consider the United States their enemy’ (ibid).
And what I found most shocking about Obama is how he’s even deploying drones to spy over Americans on U.S. soil. I’m also concerned that the increasing frequency in which drone strikes are reported could result in the numbing of the American public, that is, the more Americans read about them, the more they become numb and apathetic to them. It’s also worth nothing that the U.S. government is proliferating drone warfare by selling drone technology to countries like Italy.
If you would like to read my previous articles on Obama’s drone bombing campaign, click here and find the articles for World Can’t Wait. Please share them in order to increase awareness of the dangers of Obama’s drone bombing campaign.