Thursday, June 07, 2012

How to prolong and spread hatred

A couple of observations:

… the war on terrorism is like the war on drugs. We keep locking up drug dealers, but the demand for drugs is so strong, and selling them so lucrative, that there's always someone to fill the imprisoned drug dealer's shoes. Even if we put a whole drug-selling gang out of business--let's call it the al Qaeda of cocaine--a new drug distribution network will emerge.

The good news is that the war on terrorism is not, in principle, as challenging as the war on drugs. After all, the thing that keeps drawing people into the drug dealing business is built into human nature: the basic structure of brain cells makes cocaine feel good.

In contrast, the thing that draws people into the anti-American terrorism business--hatred of America--is a transient historical fact. Whereas cocaine has always felt good, hating America hasn't always felt good--at least, not to as many people as it feels good to now.

So how do we reduce the number of people who hate America? It's a tough, multi-dimensional problem, but here's something that probably isn't helping: endlessly raining drone strikes on Muslims. The strike that killed al-Libi also killed more than a dozen other people and was the third drone strike in Pakistan in three days.

Robert Wright

The London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates up to 830 civilians, including many women and children, might have been killed by drone attacks in Pakistan, 138 in Yemen and 57 in Somalia. Hundreds more have been injured.

Now Robert Grenier, who headed the CIA's counter-terrorism center from 2004 to 2006 and was previously a CIA station chief in Pakistan, has told the Guardian that the drone programme is targeted too broadly. "It [the drone program] needs to be targeted much more finely. We have been seduced by them and the unintended consequences of our actions are going to outweigh the intended consequences," Grenier said in an interview. …

"We have gone a long way down the road of creating a situation where we are creating more enemies than we are removing from the battlefield. We are already there with regards to Pakistan and Afghanistan," he said.

… I am very concerned about the creation of a larger terrorist safe haven in Yemen," Grenier said.

The Guardian

Killing for peace always reveals a terrible failure of imagination.

The administration has adopted a "military age male located in territory the U.S. does not control" as an adequate definition of a "terrorist" deserving death-by-drone. Furthermore, current strikes are evidently targeting mourners and first responders.

And we wonder why they hate us?

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