US adventurism under UN fire
Posted on 11 months ago
In a speech to the UN Human Rights Council meeting, Pillay, who recently visited Pakistan, observed that it was "unclear that all persons targeted are combatants or directly participating in hostilities". On his part, Heyns, a South African jurist investigating for the UN extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, reported to the council that although US drone attacks were purportedly directed at active members of al-Qaeda and Taliban, the civilians statedly do perish in large numbers as well.
By every account, since the assumption of office by President Barack Obama, there has been a dramatic increase in the US drone adventurism. The escalation is so big that it has drawn horrified hostile public reaction the world over while the international human rights community is aghast at the huge toll this adventurism is exacting on the civilian lives. A recent opinion survey by an American pollster, Pew Global, itself found massive opposition to Obama's drone assaults in the world community.
Of course, his drone war is hugely popular with his own American people. And that says much. The American people give a damn to lives and limbs other than American. For years, the American bombers pulverised Cambodia and Laos into pulp to make a sacrificial goat of them for America's debacles in the Vietnam War, first clandestinely and then openly. Innocent Cambodians and Laotians were being killed and maimed in multitudes in those massive carpet bombing sorties of the US warplanes.
But that horrible slaughter of the innocent drew not a tear in any American eye ever. They mourned the demise of their own soldiers in the Vietnam War that their political leaders and military commanders had waged on patent ruses and lies to achieve certain geopolitical objectives. And the same is now going with the death and destruction being inflicted with drones on certain Muslim countries, though principally Pakistan.
The American warlords contend their drone technology is so precise and accurate that it takes out only terrorists, not the civilians. But their contention is so obscene that it is being increasingly challenged in the expert public forums worldwide. For the first thing, the Hellfire missile their drones release to attack is no feeble explosive device.
It is a highly deadly weapon which when explodes not only kills instantly each and all near the targeted individual but reduces into debris compounds and homes around the targeted compound. So not only the suspect is killed but innocents, including children and women, also die and numerously. And not just the suspect compound is demolished. Homes and dwellings of very many having nothing to do with terrorism are also destroyed in close vicinity.
Furthermore, the American warlords' claim of killing only the terrorists can only be taken with a big pinch of salt. Leave alone the cry of the bereaved after every drone assault that their innocent children, women and men had been killed. Can one count how many times have the American militarists claimed having taken out in a drone attack a leader of al-Qaeda who later is found alive? Hadn't they asserted more than once in the past too that they had killed al-Qaeda senior leader Abu Yahya al-Libi but every time he emerged alive?
Then in their drone attack hadn't they killed a wrong man, in all probability an innocent man? Isn't that an extrajudicial killing? Yet they have been getting away with impunity. More appallingly, they and their apologists contend that, firstly, not many innocent killings are occurring in the drone attacks, and, secondly, such "collateral damage" is inevitable in a war, even be it Obama's drone war. But what kind of a twisted cruel logic is this that an innocent Pakistani tribal child must die unmourned simply because he happens to be a mere collateral damage?
No, it cannot go away like this. There can be no impunity. The Obama administration is now being asked increasingly by the world community for an explanation for such wanton killings, which by every definition amount to unpardonable extrajudicial killings. Heyns, as for one, asks if efforts are made to arrest the suspects. Human rights law, he says, requires that every effort be made to arrest a suspect. And he asks the Obama administration to clarify if procedures are in place to ensure any targeted killing complies with international humanitarian law and human rights and if measures are in place for independent and prompt investigation of violations as well.
Obama is surely being swayed by American hubris and arrogance in his drone adventurism. But he is arraigned in the court of world public opinion culpably on this score.
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