Wednesday, September 26, 2012
But above and beyond that, what we found—and this was something that really affected us and was something that we tried to make as clear as possible in the report—is that apart from the deaths and the maimings and the injuries, apart from that, there is a constant effect that people who live in these areas of northwest Pakistan—there are experiences, there are effects that are quite serious that everyone in the community—men, women, children, anyone and everyone—feel and experience on an everyday basis. Drones flying overhead, they make a buzzing sound. If you’re under those drones, you know, as Sarah said earlier, that they can fire down at any time, and they can fire down on anyone. And if you are within strike distance in the blast radius of a strike, it doesn’t matter that they’re not striking you. You—shrapnel and the blast of drones and, in particular, of the Hellfire missiles that they fire, they don’t discriminate. Maybe the operators discriminate—and again, how they discriminate is an open question, and we can talk about that. But once the missiles hit, those within a radius of danger are subject to death or serious injury. And so, the consequence of this are the psychological effects and also significant effects on Pakistani society, on local society. People are afraid to congregate in groups of three or four. People don’t go to rescue maybe close relatives or friends when a drone missile has struck. People don’t go to funerals of community members that they would go to funerals of. In short, there’s a breakdown in basic social engagement that we’ve documented, and what it adds up to is thousands of people living in a region where drones cause them to experience life as though they were in a war zone. And the last time I checked, the United States had not declared war on Pakistan. James Cavallaro on Democracy Now



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