Friday, April 10, 2009
Gaza from the sky, but with an exponentially greater percentage of civilians killed. Both the US military and the IDF have the mission of compelling subservience through the indiscriminate killing of civilians. Plans for perpetual, ongoing operations of this kind are now being perfected by the Pentagon, with an additional 2 billion dollars for the use of drones currently on display in Pakistan.
Of the 60 cross-border predator strikes carried out by the Afghanistan-based American drones in Pakistan between January 14, 2006 and April 8, 2009, only 10 were able to hit their actual targets, killing 14 wanted al-Qaeda leaders, besides perishing 687 innocent Pakistani civilians. The success percentage of the US predator strikes thus comes to not more than six per cent.
Figures compiled by the Pakistani authorities show that a total of 701 people, including 14 al-Qaeda leaders, have been killed since January 2006 in 60 American predator attacks targeting the tribal areas of Pakistan. Two strikes carried out in 2006 had killed 98 civilians while three attacks conducted in 2007 had slain 66 Pakistanis, yet none of the wanted al-Qaeda or Taliban leaders could be hit by the Americans right on target. However, of the 50 drone attacks carried out between January 29, 2008 and April 8, 2009, 10 hit their targets and killed 14 wanted al-Qaeda operatives. Most of these attacks were carried out on the basis of intelligence believed to have been provided by the Pakistani and Afghan tribesmen who had been spying for the US-led allied forces stationed in Afghanistan.
The remaining 50 drone attacks went wrong due to faulty intelligence information, killing hundreds of innocent civilians, including women and children. The number of the Pakistani civilians killed in those 50 attacks stood at 537, in which 385 people lost their lives in 2008 and 152 people were slain in the first 99 days of 2009 (between January 1 and April 8).
Of the 50 drone attacks, targeting the Pakistani tribal areas since January 2008, 36 were carried out in 2008 and 14 were conducted in the first 99 days of 2009. Of the 14 attacks targeting Pakistan in 2009, three were carried out in January, killing 30 people, two in February killing 55 people, five in March killing 36 people and four were conducted in the first nine days of April, killing 31 people.
Of the 14 strikes carried out in the first 99 days of April 2009, only one proved successful, killing two most wanted senior al-Qaeda leaders - Osama al Kini and Sheikh Ahmed Salim Swedan. Both had lost their lives in a New Year’s Day drone strike carried out in the South Waziristan region on January 1, 2009.
Meanwhile, operations on the ground in neighboring Afghanistan aren't going much better:
Long time readers of this blog are no doubt familiar with how such disregard for the lives of civilians has been a common feature of US military activity.
Early this morning, the United States reported that its forces in the Khost Province had attacked and killed “four combatants,” ostensibly saving the lives of “fifteen women and 30 children.” It mentioned in passing that one of those killed in the attack, which at the time they claimed was a defensive action, was a woman. They added that another militant was wounded.
By the end of the day, the military was forced to admit that the four people killed were not in fact combatants, but a mother and three of her children. The person wounded in the attack was in fact an infant, who died later of his wounds.