On the 8th of February, antiwar protesters staged their 16th monthly antidrone bombing vigil at the CIA’s headquarters Dolly Madison Boulevard entrance. As usual, the CIA shut down that entrance. Assuming 3-4 hours shut down per vigil, that’s 48-64 hours so far of this entrance being closed. Once again a line of stones was laid across the driveway as the names of children killed by drone-fired missiles was read off.
Protesters noted that the domestic and international scrutiny of the drone program is starting to bite. Drone strikes are down in the last year, and the average number of people killed per drone strike is down from 8 to 6. Presumably only one person is targetted per strike, thus lowering the number of bystanders killed on average from 7 to five. Along with the deteriorating relations between the US and Pakistan, pro-drone forces have credited “scrutiny” of the program for this.
Of course, a severe double standard is at work here: the CIA is allowed to kill 5 additional people per high value target and only gets protests and diplomatic complaints. Suppose the revolutionary Left fired a missile into a wedding party, just like a drone did in Pakistan. Suppose the “high value target” was a banking CEO getting rich off evictions, tar sands, and HLS all at once. Suppose the missile killed the CIA’s average of 5 innocent people as wel as taking out that “high value target.”
There would be the most incredible uproar about “terrorism,” yet this roar is muted to a whisper when it’s the CIA or its contractors killing 5 people to get one of their defined “high value targets.” Worst of all, hundreds of young children have been among the people killed when these drones are recklessly used to shoot missiles into groups of people containing a single high value target. Shooting into crowds full of bystanders is murder and cannot be justified even in wartime. What a minute: when did the US even declare war on Pakistan and Yemen anyway?