Attack of The Drones

drone_attack_Obama_090123_mnBy: Grainne Rhuad

While we here in the States have had our minds on the issue of Health Care and gun toting Americans showing up at town hall meetings, a continued war has been raging unchecked in Pakistan in and around the Afghanistan border.

The hills surrounding the area of the Pakistan/Afghanistan border are seemingly desolate, but as many a journalist, lost traveler and border patrol guard will tell you they are far from unpopulated.  The hills and valleys provide the perfect protection for the blooming Opium industry and hiding spots without end for the insurgents chased out of Afghanistan by American, British and NATO troops.

This is a hotspot that nobody wants responsibility for and as a result it is a place where crime, punishment and the thin line between the two are so completely blurred it is hard to tell who is in the right.

In his address to the Pakistani people reported on by the BBC on Sept.14, 2009, Asif Ali Zardari Stated that this gray zone is un-patrolable without global support.  Further, he stated that while it is technically in his country and jurisdiction, he is unable to enforce law there.  This seems unreal given that he commands 700,000 troops that are well trained in this type of mountainous military action. However with the announcement on Sept 17, 2009 that U.S. President Barack Obama is considering more troops to the Afghanistan it becomes clearer that Asif Ali Zardari who has leaned in the direction of U.S. support is only waiting to see if the U.S. will clean house for him.    Pakistan is afraid, and not without good reason, they are caught between a rock and a hard place.  They seem content to lay low for now and see what the American led troops will do.

On Sept 17, 2009, Reuters reported that “A top al-Qaeda commander and a senior Uzbek militant linked to the international terror group are believed to have been killed in two separate U.S. drone attacks in northwestern Pakistan, said officials on Thursday.

Pakistani intelligence officials on condition of anonymity said they believe al-Qaeda commander Ilyas Kashmiri was killed in a U.S. drone attack on a compound in Pakistan’s North Waziristan region on 7th September, while senior Uzbek militant Kamolitdinovic Jalolov was killed in a similar U.S. strike near the border town of Mir Ali on 14th September.

Kashmiri, a Pakistani who had led Harkat-ul- Jihad Al-Islami’s (HuJI) operations in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir in early 1990s, was believed to the operations chief of the al-Qaeda in Pakistan.

Jalolov, also known as Yahyo, was the founder of an al-Qaeda-linked militant group called the Islamic Jihad Union, and was among the three top central Asian militant commanders affiliated to the al-Qaeda in Pakistan. His name appears on a U.S. Treasury list of individuals whose assets are blocked.”

With that it seems that America is still actively engaged in its “War on Terror” although you will not hear much of it from the President who seems to be focusing his energy on change at home.

Which leads me to question why this is not being better addressed here in the U.S.  Our President ran on the ticket of actively working to put an end to our troops being engaged overseas.   Yet seemingly we are doing anything but.

“The Obama Administration announced Thursday that it is revamping plans to build a missile defense system in Eastern Europe.

The plan for the missile defense system, originally enacted by former President George W. Bush, called for a radar system to be installed in the Czech Republic and for 10 ground-based missile interceptors to be based in Poland.

President Barack Obama said the new plan would be geared toward intercepting shorter-range missiles, which he said currently pose a greater threat to Europe.

The new plan would deploy the interceptors in areas closer to Iran starting in 2011, first at sea and then later on land in Northern and Southern Europe. The 2011 start date marks the beginning of phase one of the plan, with three more phases set to be implemented in 2015, 2018 and 2020.

“The best way to responsibly advance our security and the security of our allies is to deploy a missile defense system that best responds to the threats that we face and that utilizes technology that is both proven and cost-effective,” Obama said. “(RTT News)

Recent Updates suggest that planned missile sites have changed but not been abandoned.  After this piece was written it was reported that the land based missile program was changed to a more sea  based one probably in the area of Turkey, Romania and Israel as they were more “cost effective.”

Why is this not being talked about at home?  Why are we being deflected with plans for healthcare that seemingly are not even completely developed?

Another concerning trend is the increase in military advertizing for young people which had experienced a drop over the last couple of years.  In the last two months we have noticed an increase in spending, production and time slot allotment for these commercials which were the norm in the years following the 9/11 attack on American soil.  Parents of graduating seniors are noting an increase in phone calls to their homes from recruiters most times even after being told that their sons and daughters have no interest in military service.

Like any good magician, politicians have long employed tactics of distraction when trying to accomplish unpopular programs.  Which leads one to ask themselves, are the town hall brouhas  a way of distracting us from what’s going on in the rest of the world, and in particular our own employment of continued armed force?

What we have been missing in our country over the past couple of months while we have been domestically embroiled in Health Care and Right to marry issues is the full realization that we are still a country at war and our fronts are spreading.  This should be cause for concern.  It should also be cause for us to band together and do right by one another.  As we have all been taught a nation divided cannot stand.  We are so greatly divided on so many issues at this point and faced with a global political climate that could in fact be our downfall.  Do we really need to be bickering about health care or can we find it within ourselves to break out the super-glue needed in time to deal with some of the very real global issues that are facing us while we bicker amongst ourselves?

10 Comments on “Attack of The Drones”

  1. Nice piece and good point. Our government is frieghtfully good at deception and distraction. The sad part about this is that your average Joe American is dooped by it every time. Pakistan is in an impossible place. The recent bombing in and around Islamabad again speak to the division within that country. And Ramadon isn’t even over yet! The US is walking a fraying tight rope as well. With the US being the Main importer of opium and the tremendous amount of commerse with India the last thing the US needs is to piss India off by dumping more military into Pakistan. Lets not forget that India and Pakistan hate eachother and they both have nuclear weapons.

  2. [QUOTE=Grainne Rhuad] Our President ran on the ticket of actively working to put an end to our troops being engaged overseas. Yet seemingly we are doing anything but.[/QUOTE]

    You know all that talk of “hope” and “change” Obama was spreading around through the election year? It was a load of BS! The fact of the matter is that the American government *needs* the overseas situation to remain as it is for the foreseable future – for the U.S. military to start pulling out of any of its occupied territories would protray the government behind it as weak and inept (sending the message to future enemies that they only need hold U.S. forces at bay until the next election cycle – as the new, incoming administration will simply withdraw the troops afterwards).

    To me, this is just one more promise Obama made that he can’t (and probably never intended to) live up to…

  3. Christopher in some ways I agree with your assesment. It was my concern from the beginning that our President was making promises that he would soon find himself unable to deliver on after his first de-briefing in the White House. Was this naive of him? Yes, but he had a fistful of hope and didn’t understand that there is actually a bigger picture out there. This first year has probably humbled (let’s hope) and scared him shitless. (again, let’s hope)
    Anyone who’s ever played RISK knows you can’t discount your overseas troop placement.
    But I do take exception to all the “Hope” and “Change” talk without real hard looks at reality from time to time and it seems to me nobody is taking reality seriously these days.

  4. imagine, wanting to change something that can’t be changed … some things, like power and influence are an illusion at best. I believe and like that the President is naive, thinking that he could come in and get a bi-partician work relationship with people who’s only agenda is his complete and total failure, to show once and for all that a liberal, which he really isn’t and a man of color cannot be trusted with the future of the white Christian race … I’ll bet he is scared shitless, but to his credit, he marches on … Does anyone really think that capturing or killing Osama will end terrorism ??? The war on terrorism cannot be won by killing civilians and torturing combatives, or having others torture them for us, and defiling the customs and religion, of which, we have no understanding. The war in Iraq and this ridiculous incursion into Afghanistan and Pakistan will gain us nothing but more terrorists and alienation with the third world …. healthcare as a Hitler inspired socialist benefit, Americans confronting elected official wearing guns .. people who can’t save a penny and never could, worrying about the deficit. If no universal healthcare, how about no taxing those of us who have no children and have only parents front the bill, why the hell should I pay for your kid to work at McDonald’s or Walmart ?? America has become almost everything we used to hate about other countries … the environment, fuck it … we are one of only two countries to not sign the Global Warming accords .. The international court, fuck it, we can do whatever we want …. it is of course OK to punish the leaders of other countries, but never an American …. get the hell out of Afghanistan, we laughed when the Russians got caught there, and now look who is getting their ass kicked …. never again invade a sovereign country without UN and international cooperation … we cannot be the worlds policeman .. or punisher. Look what happened at home while daddy was away at the war … ultimately, we get what force upon ourselves ….

  5. We do get what we ask for and when we buy a ticket to a show, Americans expect a grande 3 ring circus! We also want to entirely forget that there are caged wild animals behind the canvas, that clowns smoke pipes of all sorts and are very often dirty old men. That tighrope heros can be gay, and that The strong man cries into his pillow over love and loss. We all want so very much to believe in the slight of hand that we forget about real lives. Trouble is we have stopped going home from the circus. We are the Jackasses on the island of lost boys in Pinocchio.

  6. Grainne, i know you don’t like it when i say this, but America is grounded in a particular mentality that i’ve tried vainly to come up with an expression for that didn’t meet objections; but the best illustration i can think of is a line from the movie, “Philadelphia”. A black woman placed on the stand, testified that the president of the firm she worked for suggested she change her earrings as they looked too ethnic. He said she wanted her to appear “more American”. She answered, the earrings were American; ethnic American.

    This subtle mentality follows the assumption there is only one American way; one that adheres to Abglo-American social values and their system of indebtedness. This is not truly a majority “we”, but one side is organized through a hundred years of elitism, while the other side has no real leaders. The one side has infiltrated the minds of many minority intellects and filled them with their corporate agenda.

    This agenda has failed us because we forgot there are other ways of resolving issues. It’s failed us because we thought sameness would equalize out our differences. It will continue to fail us until we can learn to solve our problems without war, without bloodshed, without forceful jurisdiction; when we can learn to adapt to new information and changes, building and growing instead of fighting among ourselves.

  7. Karla I think you stated your position very well here and I don’t dilike nor disagree with it. My arguement before was that Throwing down race cards was way too easy and didn’t cover the entire of the issue anyway. Your statement here, does a much better job and I concur with it. Our majority mentalitiy is mired and should be given up for dead, shot and bulldozed.

  8. This is truly a very good piece of writing and very informative. It gives depth to a situation we don’t always understand and to a region we know only (for the most part) from newscasts.

    One question though…. I believe the President only pledged to remove troops from Iraq, but in his campaign did state that the war in Afghanistan was a justifiable war. At the time he was campaigning, he seemed to be implying that this Afghan War would have to continue.

    He has of late begun to make statements that would lead one to believe that he was having second thoughts.

    How I hope both of these conflicts will be over soon, and all of our sons and daughters can be sage at home once again.

  9. I’m sorry David I want to be sure I understand before attempting any answer. Are you saying the President has made statments that may lead us to think he might be leaning towards pulling out of Afghanistan?

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