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The Thistle and the Drone: The Real Story Behind the War on Terror

In a remark to the pop group the Jonas Brothers, President Barack Obama told the young men to stay away from his daughters, lest he unleash “Predator drones. You will never see it coming. You think I’m joking?”

That seemingly insignificant and arguably comedic comment, reveals the indifference of the White House to the invisible aspect of these deadly weapons and the cavalier attitude of the current occupant to the disturbing fact of their fatal power.

In his new book, The Thistle and the Drone, renowned author, diplomat, and scholar Akbar Ahmed reveals a largely unreported and misunderstood, although critical aspect of the “War on Terror": the creation of enemies and the further marginalization of Middle Eastern tribal societies.

Of all the insights in Ahmed's masterful study of this worrisome world issue, perhaps the most troubling is the highlighting of the callousness of the United States to the devastating effects of the drone war being waged in Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan, North Africa, etc. The following narrative is illustrative:

A U.S. drone operator in New Mexico revealed the extent to which individuals across the world can be observed in their most private moments. ‘We watch people for months,’ he said. ‘We see them playing with their dogs or doing their laundry. We know their patterns like we know our neighbors’ patterns. We even go to their funerals.

The sound of drones buzzing above the bodies of those being laid to rest in tribal funerals is commonplace. So are the so-called “signature strikes” that send missiles into the procession in case their are any “terrorists” attending the service.

Often, the story is reported, surviving relatives of those killed by the drone assaults are denied the opportunity to bury their dead and perform the ancient rites associated with placing a body in its final resting place. One man severely injured in a drone attack reported that "people are reluctant to go to the funerals of people who have been killed in drone strikes because they are afraid of being targeted.”


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Just for the sake of argument

Is it drones per se that are objectionable? Or is it the undeclared nature of the war itself. Or is it our opponent. Would the same objection be raised if it were Nazi Germany in a declared war for the survival of western civilization against a "worthy" enemy. Why shouldn't we torch our enemies from the safety of a bunker in NM if necessary. What we are doing now is just plain stupid.


Wow - Maybe some job posting

Wow - Maybe some job posting shouldn't be filled (drone operator vacancy - great pay and benefits).

it should say

The fastest highway to hell -- job with the drone boys!

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Love won! Deliverance from Tyranny is on the way! Col. 2:13-15