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U.S. drones breeding new terrorists?

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#1 concert andy

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 02:20 PM

Swat Valley, Pakistan (CNN) -- The Sabaoon School for boys in northern Pakistan is anything but average.
Nestled amid the bucolic charm of the Swat Valley's fertile terraced fields and steeply rising crags it looks idyllic. But if you get up close, a harsher reality becomes clear.
Two army check-posts scrutinize visitors entering the sprawling site. Once inside, the high razor wire-topped walls around the classroom compounds create a feeling reminiscent of a prison.
The boys here, aged 8 to 18, were all militants at some point. Some are killers, some helped build and plant improvised explosive devices, and others were destined to be suicide bombers until they were captured or turned over to the Pakistani army. All of them are at the school to be de-radicalized.
Ninety-nine percent of the boys, I am told, have never heard of Osama bin Laden, despite the fact he was killed by U.S. Navy SEALs in the next valley over from here. What has radicalized these boys instead, the school's director says, is what turns teenagers the world over to crime: poverty, poor education, limited prospects and often lack of parental control.
It is in this setting that the boys have made ready recruits for Taliban scouts who wean them on tales of the U.S. drone strikes that have killed scores of Pakistani women and children over the past few years.
The walls of the school, I learn, are not so much to keep the boys in, but to keep the local Taliban out. A few years ago they held sway in the Swat Valley, and while the army has since reclaimed control, the militants remain a threat -- particularly for the teachers.
The boys here are being schooled in basic math and literature. Drama and sports are also encouraged, as is art. Physiologists evaluate the boys and offer council, and a religious scholar is attempting to draw them away from extremist ideology and back towards mainstream Islam.
For Pakistan it is a new approach to radicalism that has been forged out of necessity.
The director tells me the need for more resources in Swat is huge. Just a few days before our visit, a dozen more child militants were arrested by Pakistani officials.
The U.N. Special Rapporteur on drones, British lawyer Ben Emmerson, recently visited Pakistan and told me: "The consequence of drone strikes has been to radicalize an entirely new generation."
In early March he spent close to a week in Pakistan meeting government officials and tribal leaders, some of who claim to have lost family members in strikes. Since 2003 there have been more than 350 drone strikes in Pakistan, but no one has a reliable figure for precisely how many have been killed.
The New America Foundation estimates that in Pakistan, drones have killed between 1,953 and 3,279 people since 2004 -- and that between 18% and 23% of them were not militants. The nonmilitant casualty rate was down to about 10% in 2012, the group says.
A study by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates that since 2004, Pakistan has had 365 drone strikes that have killed between 2,536 and 3,577 people -- including 411 to 884 civilians.
U.S. President Barack Obama has maintained the strikes are necessary for defeating al Qaeda and the Taliban, but others including Emmerson have their doubts.
He said: "Through the use of drones you may win the immediate battle you are waging against this particular faction or that particular faction ... but you are losing the war in the longer term."
Emmerson's legal insights will form the basis of his report to the U.N., expected later this year. For the United States, at least, it could make for a damning read.
Emmerson says the drone strikes are illegal under international law as they violate Pakistan's sovereignty and fly in the face of Pakistani government calls for them to desist -- and that they also legalize al Qaeda's fight against America.
He said: "If it is lawful for the U.S. to drone al Qaeda associates whereever they find them, then it is also lawful for al Qaeda to target U.S. military or infrastructure where ever (militants) find them."
Until now the U.S. has used its own lawyers to give legitimacy to the covert war being waged by drones. Now Emmerson believes it is time to challenge them.
"There is a real risk that by promulgating the analysis that is currently being developed and relied up by the United States they legitimize, in international law, al Qaeda, by turning it in to an armed belligerent involved in a war and that makes the use of force by al Qaeda and its associates lawful," he told me.
The boys of Sabaoon School are at the sharp end of the drone debate and are living with its consequences.
And in the relative safety of these classrooms, there's little doubt change is long overdue.

#2 Joker

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 03:08 PM

Right now, in Boston and across the US, we're seeing what happens when bombs go off killing and injuring innocent nonmilitant people. I'd imagine people in other countries feel the same way when it happens to them.

#3 JBetty

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 03:23 PM

Right you are, Joker.

We're so horrified when stuff like this happens on American soil and wonder how these awful people could do such a thing, yet we are the terrorists doing the exact same thing in other countries.

Makes me want to puke.

#4 Joker

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 08:05 PM

Even as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff met with Afghan military officials this weekend about the drawdown of U.S. troops scheduled for December, an airstrike in Kunar province near the border of Pakistan killed 18—including 11 children according to Al Jazeera.


New York Times called the strike a “joint mission of Afghan and American Special Operations forces targeting a high-profile Taliban commander,” Ali Khan. After becoming embroiled in a firefight with Taliban insurgents that lasted several hours, American forces called in the airstrike to level the Taliban commander’s house. He was killed, along with 11 children. Five women were also wounded.


The U.S. now maintains 66,000 soldiers in Afghanistan, down from about 100,000 at the peak of operations in 2010. The Joint Chiefs anticipate leaving about 9,000 troops in Afghanistan after this December’s pullout—but the most deadly attacks from the U.S. military come not from troops on the ground, but from unmanned drones in the sky.


separate report in the New York Times this weekend contends that “Since Mr. Obama took office, the C.I.A. and military have killed about 3,000 people in counterterrorist strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, mostly using drones,” while only “a handful” have actually been captured and brought into American custody for trial.


The massive collateral damage in killing innocent civilans probably helps explain the disparity of drone strikes’ popularity between Americans and Pakistanis—just 17 percent of Pakistanis support the use of strikes against extremists, while 65 percent of Americans still support drones.


Gen. Amrullah Aman, a military analyst in Kabul told the Times, “Government officials might tell you that Afghan and foreign forces only have the right to use airstrikes in unpopulated areas, but in practice it is different. Americans will use their air support whenever they need it, no matter where it is and no matter how many presidential decrees are issued.”

#5 Julius

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 08:18 PM

No question about it. But as usual it has absolutely NOTHING to do with drones versus any other type of US attack. If you kill people's families they hate you. Do they hate you more if you use a gun instead of a sharp rock? No.

#6 Joker

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 09:03 PM

You're wrong if you believe the use of drones is no different than any other attack. Just their presence alone has an adverse affect on innocent civilians. There's more to this tl;dr at the link


Second, US drone strike policies cause considerable and under-accounted-for harm to the daily lives of ordinary civilians, beyond death and physical injury. Drones hover twenty-four hours a day over communities in northwest Pakistan, striking homes, vehicles, and public spaces without warning. Their presence terrorizes men, women, and children, giving rise to anxiety and psychological trauma among civilian communities. Those living under drones have to face the constant worry that a deadly strike may be fired at any moment, and the knowledge that they are powerless to protect themselves. These fears have affected behavior. The US practice of striking one area multiple times, and evidence that it has killed rescuers, makes both community members and humanitarian workers afraid or unwilling to assist injured victims. Some community members shy away from gathering in groups, including important tribal dispute-resolution bodies, out of fear that they may attract the attention of drone operators. Some parents choose to keep their children home, and children injured or traumatized by strikes have dropped out of school. Waziris told our researchers that the strikes have undermined cultural and religious practices related to burial, and made family members afraid to attend funerals. In addition, families who lost loved ones or their homes in drone strikes now struggle to support themselves.



#7 concert andy

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 01:50 PM

Not sure he is wrong, his perspective or opinion may be off and def not in allignment with yours, but wrong?  Not sure.


Sometimes sensativity to this subject can be lost because it happens so far away.

#8 china cat

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 02:00 PM

Right you are, Joker.

We're so horrified when stuff like this happens on American soil and wonder how these awful people could do such a thing, yet we are the terrorists doing the exact same thing in other countries.

Makes me want to puke.



#9 china cat

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 02:03 PM

living in an area that faces attack from any type of weapon invites terror--I would imagine drones circling villages invites heightened paranoia and uncertainty.


Mental Health Impacts of Drone Strikes and the Presence of Drones

One of the few accounts of living under drones ever published in the US came from a former New York Times journalist who was kidnapped by the Taliban for months in FATA.[198] In his account, David Rohde described both the fear the drones inspired among his captors, as well as among ordinary civilians: “The drones were terrifying. From the ground, it is impossible to determine who or what they are tracking as they circle overhead. The buzz of a distant propeller is a constant reminder of imminent death.”[199] Describing the experience of living under drones as ‘hell on earth’, Rohde explained that even in the areas where strikes were less frequent, the people living there still feared for their lives.[200]

Community members, mental health professionals, and journalists interviewed for this report described how the constant presence of US drones overhead leads to substantial levels of fear and stress in the civilian communities below.[201] One man described the reaction to the sound of the drones as “a wave of terror” coming over the community. “Children, grown-up people, women, they are terrified. . . . They scream in terror.”[202] Interviewees described the experience of living under constant surveillance as harrowing. In the words of one interviewee: “God knows whether they’ll strike us again or not. But they’re always surveying us, they’re always over us, and you never know when they’re going to strike and attack.”[203] Another interviewee who lost both his legs in a drone attack said that “[e]veryone is scared all the time. When we’re sitting together to have a meeting, we’re scared there might be a strike. When you can hear the drone circling in the sky, you think it might strike you. We’re always scared. We always have this fear in our head.”[204]




and http://www.thebureau...or-study-finds/

#10 Uncle Coulro

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 03:55 PM

"They set a slamhound on Turner's trail in New Delhi, slotted it to his pheromones and the color of his hair. It caught up with him on a street called Chandni Chauk and came scrambling for his rented BMW through a forest of bare brown legs and pedicab tires. Its core was a kilogram of recrystallized hexogene and flaked TNT. 

He didn't see it coming. The last he saw of India was the pink stucco façade of a place called the Khush-Oil Hotel."
-- Count Zero, William Gibson, 1986