According to the New York Times, recent drone attacks in Pakistan are being disavowed by the CIA.
“They were not ours,” said one of the officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the drone program’s secrecy. “We haven’t had any kinetic activity since January.”
Sounds like another case of leaks of classified information that will never be prosecuted because they serve the government’s purposes.
What exactly took place in those remote tribal villages, far from outside scrutiny, is unclear. But the Americans’ best guess is that one or possibly both of the strikes were carried out by the Pakistani military and falsely attributed to the C.I.A. to avoid criticism from the Pakistani public.
If the American version is true, it is a striking irony: In the early years of the drone campaign, the Pakistani Army falsely claimed responsibility for American drone strikes in an attempt to mask C.I.A. activities on its soil. Now, the Americans suggest, the Pakistani military may be using the same program to disguise its own operations.
So, let me get this straight. The Pakistanis say the CIA did it, but they used to cover for the secret CIA attacks. But now we’re supposed to believe the CIA when they say they didn’t do it. The article then goes on to explain the difficulty in getting any accurate information out of the area because foreign reporters are barred from the area and local reporters are subject to pressures from powerful local influences. And it’s not like the U.S. government has established any credibility when it comes to telling the truth about… anything.
If one thing is clear about the drones, it is that all sides — Pakistanis, Americans and the Taliban — have an interest in manipulating reports about their impact.
I’m sure Pakistanis all realize that American drone attacks are for their own good. They should consider it an honor to have American bombs falling on them. It’s not like the U.S. just bombs anyone, you know. Well, okay, that last part isn’t true.
Viewed from Washington, a handful of erroneously reported strikes may seem inconsequential. According to most estimates, the C.I.A. has carried out about 330 drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal belt since 2004, the vast majority of them in the past five years.
Yet in Pakistan, they carry greater significance, igniting huge and sometimes violent anti-American demonstration that make drones a toxic subject for generals and politicians alike. But the American claims about the two attacks this month suggest that they may, also, be trying to have the best of both worlds.
It certainly is a great government in Pakistan, one of our great allies in the war on terror, that agrees to let the U.S. routinely bomb their citizens.
This all seems so distant, of course.Pakistan is half way around the world. Who cares what happens there? And it’s not like that kind of militaristic, drone-dominated environment will ever come to “the land of the free”. Right?