Bombing the Pakistan flood victims into submission

Pakistani flood survivors move to safe areas in Muzaffargarh near Multan, Pakistan on Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2010

Now, this doesn’t seem to make a lick of sense.

ISLAMABAD, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) – A total of 13 suspected militants were killed during a U.S. drone attack launched Saturday night in northwest Pakistan, reported local media Express on Sunday.

According to the report, the U.S. drone fired three missiles at a village near Mirali in Pakistan’s northwest tribal area of North Waziristan late Saturday night.

Initial reports said that the drone strikes killed eight people and injured five others, and one of the missiles fired hit a house of a tribal man.

Saturday’s U.S. drone strikes coincided with Pakistan’s Independence Day and this could seriously hurt the feelings of the Pakistani people as many of the people killed in the past drone attacks are reportedly innocent civilians.

Read: “Suspected militants” until reports inevitably come out that civilians were mixed into the baddy pool. Then those irrational leftist Pakistanis will get shouty and probably burn President Obama in effigy. Oh, the strange, exotic mystery of the East.

Meanwhile…

The fasting month of Ramadan began yesterday in sorrow for 14 million Pakistanis, as one fifth of the nation is underwater from the worst monsoon-related floods in living memory.

And the only entity willing to stick around and offer aid to citizens appears to be the Taliban. The corrupt President Zardari (appointed via nepotistic assassination) was too busy gallivanting around Europe to bother with his underwater constituents. The second richest man in the country, who exists as president only because of his western allies, really could give two shits about drowned poor people. In that sense, these “undesirables” in Pakistan have a lot in common with the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans, although Dubya was never officially charged with murder.

When I was watching the teevee this morning, I overheard Savannah Guthrie gnashing her teeth on MSNBC, fretting over the risk of TERRORISTS getting their hands on a NUCLEAR WEAPON. The majority of Pakistan’s civilians, Tariq Ali writes, are “poor, illiterate or semi-literate.” That is the true threat to stability in the region. Mix in a climate catastrophe and a wildly inept, corrupt, unfeeling leader, and the Taliban has a wide window of opportunity to step in and play the roles of benevolent saviors.

I suppose it would be a bit like arguing with a ficus plant to point out that this kind of climate disaster will happen again, and indeed it is the greatest threat to global security. It’s a greater threat than the Taliban, and Al-Qaeda, combined. But admitting that much entails confessing that our climate is changing, and we all know Al Gore is fat, so that’s not going to happen.

The World Health Organization has now asked Pakistan to investigate reports of cholera cases in the northwest Swat Valley, a region the Taliban successfully captured in 2008. I doubt the Taliban has the tools to successfully contain a cholera outbreak, but even if they offer meager aid and services in the vacuum left by Zardari, they will forever buy the allegiance of his abandoned people.

And the U.S. solution to the environmental disaster appears to be to a cocktail of aid and drone attacks.

This is a bad omen, considering the U.S. can’t even get the aid part right. It’s been five years since Katrina, and here is the latest report from the Kaiser Family Foundation on how the recovery effort is going.

Five years after Hurricane Katrina, an increasing majority of the city’s residents says the rebuilding process is going well, but substantial majorities still report that the city has not recovered and feel the nation has forgotten them.

Well, actually, the rich people in charge and their cohorts in the establishment media have forgotten them, so they’re right in that sense.

What’s happening in Pakistan is far worse than Katrina, and the Taliban is the only on-location support for millions of people. If the extremists feed them, and the US bombs their destroyed villages, it doesn’t take a foreign policy expert to predict with whom the majority of Pakistanis’ will ultimately ally themselves.

According to the Pew Research Center, only one-in-five Pakistanis express a positive view of President Asif Ali Zardari, down from 64% just two years ago. The good news is, at least for the time being, 65% give the Taliban an unfavorable rating and 53% feel this way about al Qaeda. The bad news is only 17% have a favorable view of the U.S. About 59% of Pakistanis describe the U.S. as an enemy, while just 11% say it is a partner. Additionally, President Barack Obama is unpopular – “only 8% of Pakistanis express confidence that he will do the right thing in world affairs, his lowest rating among the 22 nations.”

There is a vacuum in Pakistan right now. To Pakistanis, the Taliban sucks, but so does the U.S., and now it’s a race to see who helps the most civilians the quickest. The U.S. is at a marked disadvantage here due to its policies of drone strikes and shadow wars where it freely invades whatever country it desires in the pursuit of an amorphous enemy. Perhaps, it’s time to set aside terrorizing civilians and start handing out aid.

4 Comments

  1. Hi Allison, I found this post on The Smirking Chimp but thought I’d visit your site and comment here. I feel for people of Pakistan and I agree we should help in any way we can with aid and support. It’s an incredibly devastating disaster. Innocent and good people are suffering and dying. It’s a shame and we as a planet, not just the US, should have the resources for all but instant relief. That’s as far as I can agree with you.

    I don’t think we should be over there to begin with but that decision can’t be re-made. With that said, we’re not at war to gain the trust or positive opinion of Pakistanis. As long as the Taliban are controlling parts of Pakistan it’s far target. I wish we were more accurate in the attacks but so does the military (I hope).

    The whole idea that we should stop attacks because the Taliban is offering a little support to Pakistan (news to me) is ridicules. Hitler fed, clothed and housed an entire country while he slaughtered millions.

    As far as the climate changing, I can’t see what that has to do with anything. That’s like saying the dishes are dirty so don’t wash the car. Two separate issues.

    • Allison Kilkenny

      Hi Brian – I think you misunderstood my post. At no point did I argue the Taliban are swell guys for handing out aid. My point is that there is a vacuum in Pakistan right now – one that can be filled with aid, or by ongoing drone attacks. The U.S., thus far, appears to have decided on meager aid and drone strikes, which allows the Taliban to step in and capitalize on the chaos of the region.

      The reason I brought up climate change is because many Republicans fail to see how protecting the environment is an international security issue. Radical climate change begets chaos and violence. There are now 4 million homeless people in Pakistan, and unless they get a lot of help, extremists will exploit this catastrophe and use it to recruit desperate individuals.

  2. Hi Allison, I totally understand. I just have a different point of view. I don’t mean to attack, I actually like your writing and style. I respect people willing to discus controversial topics, even when they’re wrong – joking. lol Anyway, I added you to my blogroll and I’ll be by often.

    • Allison Kilkenny

      Brian – Didn’t take it as an attack, at all. Just wanted to clarify in case there was confusion. Look forward to reading your comments in the future!

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