Senators Defend US Terrorism

No official response yet in the US on Friday’s Predator attacks in Pakistan, supposedly targeting Ayman al-Zawahri, that have instead killed 13-18 civilians (see yesterday’s post). This is the second such strike in two weeks. There is no evidence that al-Zawahri was even in the homes that were destroyed. The ISI or CIA is expected to do DNA testing to check, although one Pakistani intelligence official didn’t think it was a good idea. “What do you think, that the families of the victims would let us or the Americans dig the graves of their loved ones for FBI tests? An absolutely crazy idea.”[1]

Three US senators have defended the acts of terrorism.

John McCain (R-Arizona): “We apologize, but I can’t tell you that we wouldn’t do the same thing again. We have to do what we think is necessary to take out al-Qaeda, particularly the top operatives.”[2]

Trent Lott (R-Mississippi): “My information is that this strike was clearly justified by the intelligence..Maybe they should have launched the strike sooner.”

Evan Bayh (D-Indiana): “It’s a regrettable situation, but what else are we supposed to do? It’s like the wild, wild west out there. The Pakistani border is a real problem.”

Both Lott and Bayh are on the Senate Intelligence committee. When asked if they had a problem with illegal, extrajudicial assassination attempts, Lott said, “I’d have a problem if we didn’t do that.”

“I agree wholeheartedly,” Bayh joined in.[3]

Protests in neighboring village of Inayat Qala.  Photo by AP/Mohammad Zubair Tens of thousands have taken to the streets around the country, condemning the attacks. In the largest protest, 8,000 marched in Karachi alone. Liberals are joining with religious conservatives, “in a rare gesture of solidarity.”[4]

One protester, Qazi Hussain Ahmad, called for US withdrawal from Afghanistan and Pakistan, since Washington is a “security threat to the area.”[5]

Pakistan Bombings: Our Terrorism

The CIA just bombed a village in Pakistan using one or more unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), killing 17 civilians. Remember, UAVs are the weapons Colin Powell warned that Iraq was going to use against us. The only country that has ever used UAVs to kill people is the United States. Damage in Damadola, Photo by AP/Mohammad Zubair

The purported goal of the assault was to kill Ayman al-Zawahri, supposedly al Qaeda’s “Number 2” and the real brains behind Osama bin Laden.
So far, no apology has issued from US officials, no insincere platitudes which at least would show that the US cared what people thought.

An AP reporter who visited Damadola about 12 hours after the attack saw three destroyed houses, hundreds of yards apart. Villagers had buried at least 15 people, including women and children, and were digging for more bodies in the rubble.

Villagers denied hosting al-Zawahri or any other member of al-Qaida or Afghanistan’s ousted Taliban regime, and said all the dead were local people.

More than 8,000 tribesmen staged a peaceful protest in a nearby town Saturday to condemn the airstrike, which one speaker described as “open terrorism.”[emphasis added] Police dispersed a smaller protest in another town using tear gas. A mob burned the office of a U.S.-backed aid agency near Damadola, but nobody was injured, residents said.[1]

This attack confirms that the US is just as willing to make an example of a group of civilians as the anti-US insurgents and “terrorist” cadres it is fighting. This hit on “soft targets” enforces the message: if we even suspect you or your village has had dealings with a “terrorist,” you should fear for your life. An added bonus for the CIA would be the actual death of al-Zawahri. An unnamed law enforcement official told Associated Press that, “The FBI anticipates performing DNA tests on the victims” to determine if al-Zawahri was indeed among the dead. If he was, “it would be a devastating blow to al-Qaida.”[2]

A prescription for US-style “counter-terrorism”:

  1. Show that you can be more fearful and more of a terrorist than your enemy.
  2. Kill a bunch of people and you may actually kill one of your enemies