July 2009
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by Thomas G. Vincent

Interested readers are invited to check out Tom's blog "Single Doubt"

When reading the news, I often find it informative to place similar articles next to one another. The dichotomies, paradoxes, and outright dysfunctionalities that pop up can be truly mind blowing. For example, consider the following two pieces:

Civilian Deaths Jeopardize Afghan War Effort: US general.

June 2, 2009 "WASHINGTON" (AFP) — The general chosen to lead US and NATO forces in Afghanistan warned on Tuesday that the war against insurgents could be lost unless civilian casualties were reduced. Lieutenant General Stanley McChrystal, nominated by President Barack Obama to take over as commander in Afghanistan, told a congressional hearing that civilian deaths from coalition operations risked inflaming public anger and undermining military advances on the battlefield. "If defeating an insurgent formation produces popular resentment, the victory is hollow and unsustainable," McChrystal said at his confirmation hearing.

Pakistan Says U.S. Drone Kills 13

June 18, 2009 "ISLAMABAD," Pakistan. Thirteen people were killed and several wounded Thursday in an attack suspected to have been carried out by an American drone or drones against the camp of a local Taliban commander in South Waziristan, a Pakistani intelligence official based in the area said. The remotely piloted aircraft fired four missiles into a compound in the village of Raghzai, near Wana, the capital of South Waziristan, which was being used as a base by the Taliban commander Wali Mohammed, local residents and officials said.

Think about it. Virtually on the heels of General McChrystal testifying that the war against insurgents in Afghanistan “could be lost” if we don’t stop bombing the crap out of civilians, the U.S.A. continues to bomb the crap out of civilians in Pakistan. Compare and contrast:

...Civilian casualties -- often from US air power -- have caused mounting popular outrage in Afghanistan and friction with the Kabul government, with US and Western officials worried about handing propaganda victories to their Taliban foes.


There have been 22 drone attacks in Pakistan so far this year, according to local residents and Pakistani officials, compared with 36 last year. Because the drone attacks often kill civilians, they are deeply unpopular among local residents.

Apparently, at the very same time the U.S. is saying they want to reduce “popular resentment” in Afghanistan by “reducing” civilian casualties, they are ramping up popular resentment in Pakistan by lobbing hellfire missiles into towns populated by civilians. In terms of family dynamics, this is akin to giving your son a spanking for hitting his sister. Pure disfunctionality.

And what is the reason behind this pathetic "parenting?"

The aircraft (drones) are operated by the Central Intelligence Agency.

Thus we now have the Army trying to sound like a nurturing mother while the C.I.A. continues to act like an alcoholic father reaching for his belt at the slightest provocation.

Oh, and lest you think that the efficacy of drone attacks is any better at targeting “bad guys,” than conventional warfare...

According to residents in the area, in an initial strike, two missiles hit the compound, killing one person. When people rushed to the scene to rescue the wounded, two more missiles struck, killing eight, the residents said. The intelligence official, who like the fighter spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that four other people had died....

So the people we targeted were Taliban, right?

...The drones had been flying over the Wana area for a day, local residents said, prompting most of the Taliban there to vacate their bases and training camps... Mr. Mohammed, who is also known as Malang Wazir, was not in the compound, a fighter loyal to him said in a telephone interview.

So, barely two weeks after the now confirmed supreme commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan tells Congress what a compassionate guy he is going to be in Afghanistan, the C.I.A. drops four Hellfires, (which cost about 68,000 clams apiece by the way,) onto a village in Pakistan, killing and wounding who knows who. To top it all off, the Taliban leader they are supposedly targeting isn’t even there! This is worse than spanking your son for hitting his sister. This is like spanking your neighbor for clubbing his son for hitting his sister. This is beyond immoral. It is insane.

President Bush once said that Islamic insurgents “hate our freedoms.”

Rubbish. They don’t hate us for our freedoms.

They hate our hypocrisy. They hate our greed and cowardice. They hate our dysfunctionality.

So do I.

And so should you.