The Killer Drones and Pakistan - Terrorism

The Killer Drones and Pakistan

Posted by Aneela Shahzad on

All of us are familiar with the dull, continuous, low and monotonous humming sound of the mosquito that buzzes around our ears every time the mosquito wants to take a taste of our blood; ‘drone’ is the name of this sound. We remember how angry we get with the thought that this little creature has entered our rooms and is threatening to attack on us; yet, it is just a prick, the itching of which may last for only a few minutes. Imagine if something like that would drone over our houses, constantly humming the tune of death, threatening to take the life of a few each time it strikes, amputating some, leaving some without fathers and some without sons! Imagine how the invincibility of such a thing would have affected the minds of a human colony a few centuries back; it would surely be taken as ‘god’!

And, surely, today is a time when any fairly literate populace understands that the ‘killer drone’ is not a ‘god’, and that infiltration into one’s sovereign land is international terrorism; and today, humanity knows that human-sacrifice to please a ‘god’ is no longer a requirement. But perhaps those with the state-of-the-art Drone technology, the seemingly progressive human community with high rates of literacy, do not think the human race fit for such independent thinking; perhaps they have reverted to the ‘godly’ behavior of the olden times, when like in the Aztecs, a human sacrifice was made every day to aid the sun in rising.

What the Drones accomplish is as yet a question no one has been able to answer decisively. The US does claim the Drones to be a means of eliminating specific targets confirmed to it as terrorists; but the irony is that the one who confirms it as a terrorist is an informant, resident of that locality, probably with stronger ties and loyalties with the ones he lives among; and the one who confirms the death of that terrorist, is the same guy, or the terrorists themselves, no government body or organization from any side is present on the scene of action; how credible does that make this whole process? Or does it make this the nastiest game of horror and terror ever played on a human community in recent times, for whether the terrorist was eliminated or not always remains vague, but the terror present in the air of these people has become an ultimate reality, and the deaths and amputations of the civilians is a countable reality that remains, if one would care to count!

The government of Pakistan has categorically announced Indian involvement in the making and aiding of terror groups in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and these Indians have operated from inside the Afghanistan borders, not from inside India. This fact alone is enough to help one figure out that the Indian have been working under the auspice of the NATO army and the Karzai system, which both control Afghanistan. If the NATO machine does not provide such an umbrella, then why not drone the several Indian bases cum consulates stationed along the Pak/Afghan borders, from where the very blueprints of terror originate? Who can trust such an ally as the US, who would station our worst enemy between them and us, and ask for our unquestioning cooperation?

Or is it worse than that! is this not a bloody double game then, of creating a so-called foe and killing it in a so-called way, terrorizing a whole populace of a nation in the way? Are such the ethical values of nations that call themselves progressive and champions of humanity? Do they deem the lives and human right of these thousands worth the dust beneath one’s shoe? And is it ethical to kill civilians in war; to wage war and kill and maim in millions to extract a single-man-enemy; to come in the name of democracy and impose a small minority over the will and right of the majority?

One must notice another god-trait; a god thinks he is above accountability, he judges and nobody can judge him. A very recent example (Source) is the Security Council resolution drafted by Rawanda, asking the Hague, International Court of Justice to delay the prosecution of two African leaders – Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto, accused of orchestrating mass murder, post elections in 2007-8. The Hague-based tribunal has faced scorching criticism in the region following its pursuit of African leaders in Sudan, Libya, and Kenya. Rwanda, which drafted the Security Council resolution requesting at least a one-year delay in Kenyatta’s trial, has characterized the proceedings of the Hague as a modern form of Western imperialism.

“They have enslaved us, colonized us, beaten us, killed us, discriminated us, exploited us, and now they want to judge us?” Olivier Nduhungirehe, Rwanda’s deputy U.N. ambassador, said on twitter.

“One wonders whether the governments which pushed the resolution did so in a bid to ward off the possibility of their own officials being prosecuted for crimes in the future,” said Richard Dicker, an expert on the court at Human Rights Watch.

In such an international scenario, who is to judge which one of the victims of Drone-kill is a martyr (Shaheed) and which the terrorist? A recent report shows that the US has knowingly used Drones in eight countries – Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Mali, Yemen and Pakistan (Source). In each case there isn’t any mechanism to confirm if the information upon which the strike was conducted was accurate, and who and how many the dead were; nor is there any mechanism to provide rescue or treatment to the injured. All the places that have been droned lack any media presence; and at such dark points, the US likes to play its game of havoc.

Are the terrorists killed by the drones the real ‘martyrs’, or the civilians killed egregiously, or the ones in the Pentagon designing these missions with dead morals, or those pushing the death-button in their animation control-rooms turning soon into psychopaths, or those who let themselves be labeled as terrorists as they played proxies in return for dollars? Or are those nations the martyrs whose morale has been collectively killed each time the sovereignty of their nation is breached, or the politician who have to commit treason with their own people when they deal with each other under the table, for interests not concerning the welfare of their own people? Or was it the peace-process – that has been compromised several times, when it has been droned just when someone had shown willingness to talk – the real Shaheed? Were the Drones meant to eliminate ‘terror’ or to ensure its longevity?

The Drone brings no good; whatever its results are, they will always be un-measurable and un-confirmable. But they do serve the purpose of upholding the terror of a Superpower that has otherwise lost its credibility in the eyes of the rich and the poor nations alike – a Power that is willing to go to any level of barbarism, in a frenzy to grab any means that would reassure its dying glory.

The Drone and its appliers are equally as savage as the terrorists who bomb and cull innocent civilians in the name of a higher purpose. They have filled the international space with insecurity and suspicion. Instead of securing the next century for the US/NATO status quo, the drones have served to expose the brute hidden in their system, and may become a cause of its near annihilation. It has exposed America to be a church without a god, but one that deems to be a god itself, one that has failed humanity and brought much murder and suffering formerly alleged upon the church by its people.

So what can be the policy of states like Iraq, Somalia, Yemen and Pakistan over drones; states that are being forcefully used as disposable pawns in the greater design of the imperialistic chessboard? Deals are made through back door diplomacy, governments are bought through deals and in return they are required to comply with the ethics of international diplomacy. One must note here the difference between a state and its government. A state and the government governing it are two separate things. A government is a variable, its policies keep changing, and it may or may not be the right representative of the state and its people. But the ‘state’ is relatively permanent, it does not have variable policies but has permanent ideologies, it defines the will of its people; the existence, security and welfare of the state and its people are one. In short, a state is a collective noun, defining the collection of the whole people, their property and their interests; this process of defining the state, which is a natural process that unfolds in time, holds the subjective perimeter of what this people ultimately agree upon.

Thus the policy of a state, which is not a variable, is one which ensures the ideology, security and wellbeing of the people, and can never be oblivious of the life of even a single individual, as it is nothing but a collection of these individuals. Therefore, any government that gets the chance to manage the affairs of the state must be on its toes to ensure these interests of the state, for they determine whether that government is fully representative of the state or not. This means that as policy, the State of Pakistan cannot allow its people and its territory to be droned. But whether the government can comply with this requirement of the state, has to be calculated, the government may face complexities in the diplomatic front, where it has to deal with a network of issues in the international community. This network may prove very competitive, wherein any government has to face a hierarchy of systems layered in such a way that all its loop-holes open on the side of the Superpowers. In such scenario, the reactions of governments have to inevitably be diplomatic.

Nevertheless, difficult times ask for stronger resolve and smarter resilience, and the affairs of statesmanship have never been easy. Complexity of matters cannot be taken as a valid reason for a government to sell out the ideology or lives of its people. Repeatedly maligning the sovereignty of the state and breaking the subjective morale of the people is more lethal to the state then physical attack. Saying ‘No’ to the drone may provide the US a reason to attack our soil, but not saying ‘No’ is giving it a chance to attack us on a daily basis and return home safely. If terrorism is an ideology, this constant beat-and-run strategy is no way to eliminate it, it will only strengthen the sense of enmity and revenge; and because the nation will not be able to take its due revenge, it will fall in the pit of shame and self-disrespect. A nation broken subjectively will not be able to resist attacks, whether physical, psychological, economic or political. So perhaps it can be concluded that general Musharraf’s calculation of letting a few drones and saving the country from being attacked physically may have proved a miscalculation in the long run. But five years of democratic rule is where the real havoc of the drones has come in view; what a dictator did in the last of his seven years, surely democracy could undo in its first month, but it has allowed this barbarity to be committed upon its own people for five years now. The people of Pakistan should be able to determine now whether the policies of the government are representative of the state of Pakistan or of its foes.