Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Al Qaeda: Predator & Prey contd. ...

The apparent Predator raid in Pakistan continues to make confusing news:

Pakistan PM: CIA attack reports 'bizarre'
No evidence that top al Qaeda leaders were at target, he says

Monday, January 23, 2006; Posted: 8:34 a.m. EST (13:34 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz on Sunday ridiculed as "bizarre" a U.S. report that senior al Qaeda leaders were killed in a CIA attack on a home along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

"There is no evidence, as of half an hour ago, that there were any other people there," Aziz said on CNN's "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer."

"The area does see movement of people from across the border. But we have not found one body or one shred of evidence that these people were there." (Watch Pakistan official call CIA strike reports "bizarre" -- 6:20) ...

Before that item appeared in the news I got about 120 e-mails commenting on the column, many of them obscene and abusive ones from illiterate right-wingers who seem not to have read beyond the first couple of sentences. The general tone was "Aha! You stupid jerk. The attack was a resounding success," but with four-letter words thrown in. What follows is a somewhat more civilized collection of comments as published in Newsweek's "Mail Call" column:

Remote-Control Assassination
In his latest Web-exclusive Shadowland column, “Target Practice,” Christopher Dickey examines what he sees as the “dismal” U.S. record on political assassinations. “Murdering someone with a missile or a bomb is a little like surgery with a chain-saw,” he writes. “You can target the operation very precisely, but once you let it rip the thing’s going to make a mess, it’ll take a while to figure out if the procedure was a success, and almost always it isn’t.”

Some readers disagreed with Dickey’s assertion that a U.S. attack on a Pakistani village had killed innocent civilians or that it failed because it did not kill its intended target, Al Qaeda No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Arthur from Boston writes: “Gee, all those 'innocents' in a remote village were involved with Al Qaeda up to their eyeballs inviting Zawahiri to dinner, helping militants to remove the bodies of Al Qaeda operatives to score propaganda points. The media is being manipulated in a transparent way and because of their inherent bias seems blind to the obvious.”

Another reader, who doesn’t give a hometown, writes: “You appear to be completely void of any logical analysis. The criticism you leveled at the drone attack in Pakistan shows to me that the United States can not do anything correctly in your mind. The bottom line is that unmanned drones are used to decrease the danger to our fine men and women in the military. As an American, this is my priority concern. I further think that the strike was a success, it sends a clear message, if you have Al Qaeda over for dinner, then you and your family will pay the price … I am going to assume, based on your flawed judgment, that you are a liberal in political philosophy.”

Melody, from Homestead, Fla., writes: “We just need to improve our intelligence before we pull triggers, but we are not going to place blame on sophisticated missiles or bombs due to bad intelligence.”

Other readers agreed with Dickey’s arguments. Rick of Marietta, Ohio, writes that he doesn’t understand “why it's considered 'illegal' to send a trained assassin in to take out someone, yet it's 'legal', or at least on some level acceptable, to target someone from the sky.”

Says Mike: “We have the audacity to talk about the random and senseless killing of innocents as we use our technology to kill thousands of innocents ourselves. Innocent American lives should be no more important than innocent Pakistani lives ... If we Americans don't get it, you can rest assured the rest of the world recognizes our hypocrisy, and that explains why we continue to lose our place in the world as a nation of law.”

Adds another reader who doesn’t give a name or hometown: “I would suggest this is another example of how we compromise our principles for the sake of expediency,”

Mike, of San Juan Capistrano, Calif., writes: “Our justice system says it is better to let 100 guilty go free rather than wrongly convict one innocent person. It appears the same reasoning does not apply when killing terrorists. In other words, our twisted logic says it is a OK to kill 10, 15 or 20 innocent people so long as we can get that terrorist. My common sense tells me whoever authorized the missile attack was absolutely wrong.”

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