Orphans clutching the remains of their neighbours house after a droke strike in Dande Darpa Khel, Aug. 21, 2009

Orphans clutching the remains of their neighbours house after a droke strike in Dande Darpa Khel, Aug. 21, 2009

What good will come of the continuous drone strikes on Pakistan?

Perhaps an aim to utterly eliminate terror prevailing from the country and the region or invasive increases in causalities and bereaved families?

The latter seems, to me, to be most viable to accept at current state.

Though the politics in Pakistan, as described by most, may be convoluted, peace talks with Taliban leaders and the United States continue with hopes to deplete terrorism. This is, naturally, the agenda for majority of states on the international level with prospects to maintain security, and of course a concern of upmost importance to the United States of America.

However, to what extent will drone strikes continue regardless of the collateral damage caused? How far can consequentialist principles triumph?

2004 was the birth drone attacks in Pakistan targeting senior Taliban or al Qaeda leaders issued by former President George W Bush’s administration. Since then, drone strikes have continued, unfortunately in an escalating manner where target-killings have become an increasingly recycled excuse.

This method of drone striking is appealing for the United States as it minimizes financial and militant costs, even though according to sources from USA Today, the United States government has spent an overwhelming $26 billion on a total of 7,500 drones. Other than the costs at risk, drone strikes come hand in hand with scandalous backstage conversation amongst Pakistani and American officials thus leaving the true logistics of the situation ‘out of sight, out of mind’.

Is it really out of sight, out of mind for those who have lost their loved ones?

According to The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, there has been 378 total CIA drone strikes in Pakistan where total casualties are between 2,528 & 3,644 from which civilians are estimated to be 416-948 (children killed 168-200), and injured lie between 1,125 & 1,545.

In 2002, President Bush stated: “Thousands of dangerous killers, schooled in the methods of murder, often supported by outlaw regimes, are not spread throughout the world like ticking time bombs, set to go off without warning…These enemies view the entire world as a battlefield, and we must pursue them wherever they are…in remote jungles and deserts, and…in the centers of large cities…We’ll deliberate, yet time is not on our side. I will not wait on events while dangers gather. I will not stand by as perils draw closer and closer.” Clearly, from the statistics above, intentions were to further emancipate more terror and expand the battlefield with new means of technology to contest against the ‘enemy’.

Under a consequentialist viewpoint, this method would be deemed acceptable, under certain limitations. The United States is conducting actions with the intentions of accomplishing motives moral for the greater good. Amnesty International and millions of Pakistani voices would disagree. This past week was the most recent CIA targeted drone activity in Pakistan where Taliban leader, Hakimullah Mehsud was allegedly killed alongside casualties and several injuries. Pakistani newspapers have been coveted in similar stories for months on end beside stories of shattered hope of bereaved families. Amnesty International has revealed stories about those whom have been taken from this World by drone strikes. Published stories include that of a 68 year old grandmother, Mamana Bibi who was killed in a double drone strike in October 2012 while conducting an innocent act of picking vegetables wit her grandchildren in her garden. Obama did state that, “Before any strike is taken, there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured – the highest standard we can set”. But how high is high?

Only time will tell when the end to drone strikes will come, till then we can only hope for promising news for tomorrow.


M Lyla Saifi


Image Credit: Spencer Ackerman, wired.com (does not endorse this article)