Pakistanis are children of a lesser God….

r-PAKISTAN-US-DRONES-large570The sole super power needs to fix scanners in deadly drones to separate the targets on the basis of their passport details; because under the provisions of the American Constitution, it is legally not permitted to kill an American terrorist through predator drone. There was a lot of hue and cry when an al Qaeda terrorist, Anwar al-Awlaki was killed by drones in Yemen in September, 2011. As the droned terrorists held American passport, his killing raised questions about the legal authority under which the US Government can target its own citizens for assassination. He was a recruiter for Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.  Also killed in the attack was American-born Samir Khan, editor of Al Qaeda’s English-language magazine “Inspire.” Civil libertarians and some constitutional scholars said what amount to targeted assassination of US citizens could not be justified – even in wartime. What’s to prevent the government from killing terrorist suspects on US soil, they ask?

While the US Constitution does not allow killing of American terrorists, it implicitly encourages killing of non-Americans, terrorists or otherwise, guilty or innocent, men or women, young or old, without due process of law. That is not a crime; because that is not just killing; it is war where children, women and innocent are not killed, they only die as just collateral damage.

This issue has come up for debate by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. The members have shown a remarkable indifference to deaths of lesser human; non-American and more specifically Pakistanis. According to a report titled, Are Pakistanis People?  It is only American deaths which matter.  During last Thursday’s confirmation hearing for John O. Brennan as CIA Director the Committee’s exclusive focus was on American deaths from drones.  Not one Committee member asked about the hundreds of innocent Pakistanis, Afghans, Yemenis, Libyans, and Somalis, many of them children, who have lost their lives as “collateral damage” in U.S. drone strikes.

U.S. execution of its own citizens is a serious matter, though; only three Americans have been killed by drone strikes. The most charitable explanation for the Committee’s failure to ask about foreign deaths is that the Committee members accept assurances by the President and Brennan that the U.S. has done its best to keep civilian casualties low.  The United States paints drones as a business case; surgically precise weapons kill terrorists while taking few civilian lives.  Speaking publicly in June 2011, Brennan said that no civilians had been killed by drones for nearly a year.  When that claim raised eyebrows, Brennan backpedaled, telling the New York Times a few days later that there had been no “credible evidence” of civilian casualties for the past year.  The independent Bureau of Investigative Journalism contends that at least 45 civilians were killed by drones during that period.  All Brennan could say on Thursday, in answer to a question from Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), was that Administration use of drones is “very judicious” and that drones are used only as a “last resort” to save lives when capture is impossible.

According to the report, the White House inflates kill figures by deeming every male of military age in a target area a militant.  Conflicting figures on civilian deaths abound.  The New American Foundation think tank which monitors drone attacks estimates that 16% of those killed by drones are noncombatants.  Many victims are children:  176 children in the period from 2004 to mid-September 2012 according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.  Estimates from within Pakistan are considerably higher:  as high as 90%, according to the Pakistani government.  The independent Pakistani NGO Pakistan Body Count claims civilian casualties of from 75% to 80% since the drone strikes began.

Drones have killed so many Pakistanis that they have not only become the number one recruiting tool for the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, these attacks are leading to a rise in Anti-American feeling in Pakistan.  As against the official US perception, Pakistanis are human beings.  The major reason that Pakistanis are considered children of a lesser God when it comes to killing by drones is that Pakistanis are not considered humans by their own country. A majority of them is living a life of sub-humans with food, shelter and other necessities being pushed out of their reach by the very people they chose to manage their country.

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