The Guardian on Thursday posted a chilling piece about drone warfare in Pakistan and Yemen. In it, six families recount how the remote-controlled planes of death changed their lives forever.

In one example, a 14-year-old boy named Sadaullah lost his home and some family members on Sept. 7, 2009, in a drone strike in north Waziristan, Pakistan. After the attack, he had to have both legs amputated and lost the use of one eye. His remaining family members went bankrupt because of his medical bills. The reason for the attack remains unknown.

Another attack in the same area took the lives of 40 civilians on March 17, 2011, during a tribal gathering over timber and mining claims on a mountain. According to the report, the drone strikes were part of an unrelated geopolitical tussle. No terrorists were killed in that attack.

Another drone strike in Pakistan on Dec. 31, 2009, may have targeted journalist Kareem Khan, who survived the attack but lost his son and brother.

The Guardian reports:

The people are left impoverished, anguished and infuriated. Justice, let alone apologies, never arrives, even as a modest amount of blood money flows from the local governments. The United States, which styles itself a force for justice in the world, is to them the remote force that introduced death into their lives and treats them like they are subhuman, fit only to be targeted. At any moment, they fear, another drone could come for them.

The White House has said it will soon release … a tally of drone deaths. Relatives of the dead and survivors of the attacks expect little of it to include the truth, and doubt it will lead to the public apologies they desire—particularly since a senior aide to Barack Obama recently told the Atlantic that the president “has not had a second thought about drones”.

The CIA would not comment for this piece. An Obama administration official said: “It is certainly not the case that lives of a certain nationality are more valuable to us than those of any other. What is true, however, is that the president has said … that the American people need information to hold their government accountable. That is in part why we have been especially transparent when it comes to the deaths of US citizens.”

Nabila’s father, and Mamana’s son, Rafiq ur-Rehman, took a different view. “If America kills any westerner, one of their own, white people, they apologize and compensate. But if it’s Pakistanis like us, they don’t care. In my opinion, America treats us worse than animals.”

Ahmed Jan survived the strike on the tribal gathering and now is heavily medicated, with a rod lodged in his leg; has gone bankrupt; and has lost all of his land.

“The agony continues after the drone,” Jan told The Guardian. “You’re worse off injured than being dead. You have to live with the pain and the suffering that continues.”

Continue reading here. 

— Posted by Donald Kaufman. 


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