Rehman: Drones in Pakistan “Radicalize Footsoldiers, Tribes and Entire Villages”

I had missed Christiane Amanpour’s Monday evening interview with Pakistan’s Ambassador Sherry Rehman, but an article in today’s Express Tribune alerted me to it. Video from the interview is embedded above. Putting aside the ridiculous crap added by CNN producers (I’m assuming Amanpour has better journalistic sense than to clutter news with this crap) alluding to “the marriage from hell” and the god-awful Elton John reference, the key revelation in the interview is that Rehman maintains that even though the US apologized and Pakistan reopened supply routes, that does not mean that Pakistan has agreed to more drone strikes. Further, Rehman emphasized how the strikes produce more insurgents.

From the Express Tribune article:

In an exclusive interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Ambassador Rehman said America’s drone war “radicalises foot soldiers, tribes and entire villages in our region. And what we see, really, is that increasingly Pakistan is feared as a predatory footprint.”

In response to a question, she denied the assertions that apology over the Salala incident meant that Pakistan had allowed the drone programme to continue. However, she said that the apology over the incident that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers has “opened the space for an opportunity where we can have constructive conversations that might be to the satisfaction of both sides. Right now, we have not given a go-ahead at all”.

But she categorically emphasised that Pakistan’s concerns over the drone strikes could not be ‘brushed aside’.

Ambassador Rehman said that CIA’s covert drone war ‘tests’ the relationship between Pakistan and the US at every juncture. “We honestly feel that there are better ways of eliminating al Qaeda now, which can be done with our help. And we have been doing that consistently. We’re the heavy lifters in this relationship.”

CNN chose not to include in the video this bit of the interview which the Express Tribune found significant:

When questioned about whether Pakistan accepted the accounting of how the Obama administration identified militants, Rehman said it was worrisome “because this leads to what you call signature strikes, if I’m not mistaken, where a certain level of suspected activity generates or motivates the trigger for – I really don’t know what motivates the trigger for X level or Y level of drone strikes.”

I guess CNN doesn’t want us worrying about how the Obama administration might be killing people who don’t deserve it. That would upset the bullshit story they are trying to reinforce. They probably should add a note warning us not to read Glenn Greenwald on this question, either.

At least Rehman understands that when you take the signature strike concept to its extreme and send in follow-on strikes to hit people who are digging through the rubble of the first strike in a search for possible survivors, you are going to radicalize those most closely affected by these actions: the tribes and villages who lose members in these horrific strikes. The CIA’s choice to kill in this manner is clearly assuring the CIA of an even larger group of targets in the future, because for each victim killed in this manner, many new insurgents take up arms.

Many years ago, Jim got a BA in Radiation Biophysics from the University of Kansas. He then got a PhD in Molecular Biology from UCLA and did postdoctoral research in yeast genetics at UC Berkeley and mouse retroviruses at Stanford. He joined biosys in Palo Alto, producing insect parasitic nematodes for pest control. In the early 1990’s, he moved to Gainesville, FL and founded a company that eventually became Entomos. He left the firm as it reorganized into Pasteuria Biosciences and chose not to found a new firm due a clash of values with venture capital investors, who generally lack all values. Upon leaving, he chose to be a stay at home dad, gentleman farmer, cook and horse wrangler. He discovered the online world through commenting at Glenn Greenwald’s blog in the Salon days and was involved in the briefly successful Chris Dodd move to block the bill to renew FISA. He then went on to blog at Firedoglake and served a brief stint as evening editor there. When the Emptywheel blog moved out of Firedoglake back to standalone status, Jim tagged along and blogged on anthrax, viruses, John Galt, Pakistan and Afghanistan. He is now a mostly lapsed blogger looking for a work-around to the depressing realization that pointing out the details of government malfeasance and elite immunity has approximately zero effect.

7 replies
  1. klynn says:

    “At least Rehman understands that when you take the signature strike concept to its extreme and send in follow-on strikes to hit people who are digging through the rubble of the first strike in a search for possible survivors, you are going to radicalize those most closely affected by these actions: the tribes and villages who lose members in these horrific strikes.”

    Perhaps your quote is the end goal…

    I just think of OBin and the end result…

    There seems to be this need to have an “endless enemy.”

  2. Jim White says:

    @klynn: It certainly has been documented over and over that creating more enemies is the end result. Whether that is intended is a bit harder to prove. The circumstantial case is getting stronger by the day, since so many, now even including the Ambassador from Pakistan, spell it out so clearly.

  3. greengiant says:

    Think outsourcing the war, just another profit center, has nothing to do with morality, following treaties, or any cognizant strategy beyond the biweekly or monthly paycheck/payoff and kicks for whomever Obama has delegated to run the circus this week.
    They outsourced torture methods, torture, rendition, etc.

    By the way, years ago my Pakistan informant told me that politics was a blood sport there.

    They have done a good job of fogging the US drone landing in Iran under Iranian control, the anti-Stuxnet virus infiltration of US drone control centers, while they spend millions monitoring and salting internet blogs.

  4. What Constitution? says:

    Question: What level of person has to say “drone strikes create more new militants than they dispose of old ones” before it registers with those in operational control of the drone program?

  5. sOLbus says:


    “millions monitoring and salting internet blogs”

    You may also be ware of the mass deletions – (the equivalent of Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451) that took place on the indigenous usenet groups. To say nothing of what may have influenced newspapers that completely removed their comment archives. Etherized drone strikes, really. And sometimes not so etherized.

  6. Teame Zazzu says:


    So your probably not going to like this ..but wait until you find out that SOFTWARE is identifying the pattern behavior and this analysis is not even being done by a human. Software systems like Perseas and PerMIATE auto-track every moving object across a 36sqaure mile area and identify behaviors among cars and pedestrians such as brushpass, coordinated movement, u-turn and speed etc.. Its called Wide Area Persistent Surveillance using wide area motion images. The software is made by companies like kitware, inc. Oh yeah, its happening over cities in the USA such as Baltimore, PA, LA etc. ARGUS (Gorgon stare, Angelfire, constant hawk, hawkeyee II) records entire cities and operates like Google Earth with Tevo. Rewind fast forward, playback and zoom. SEARCH TERMS = HIPER STARE, ARGUS, Persistent surveillance, Sierra co.
    Wide Area Airborn Surveillance: Opportunities and Challenges – Gerard Medioni —on youtube

    Join TEAME ZAZZU and Rand Paul in fighting the drone invasion

Comments are closed.