Quote of the Day

This is not just because of the obvi­ous charge of hypocrisy, although that is there too. Many of those who shout the most about casu­al­ties from U.S. drone strikes rarely con­demn so loud­ly the many more deaths of civil­ians as a result of Pak­istan army oper­a­tions in FATA or Tal­iban vio­lence. Nor are they par­tic­u­lar­ly vocal in chal­leng­ing Pakistan’s slow­ness to incor­po­rate FATA into the polit­i­cal main­stream – the region con­tin­ues to be run accord­ing to the colo­nial-era Fron­tier Crimes Reg­u­la­tion (FCR), which deprives its peo­ple of many of the rights grant­ed to oth­er Pak­istani cit­i­zens and leaves them vul­ner­a­ble to col­lec­tive pun­ish­ment.  Few pay atten­tion to the region’s delib­er­ate mar­gin­al­i­sa­tion so that it could be used – since the Sovi­et inva­sion of Afghanistan in 1979 – as a deni­able stag­ing ground for the Pak­istan army’s jiha­di prox­ies – whose ide­ol­o­gy spawned the same Tal­iban who are now ter­ror­is­ing the local pop­u­la­tion.

But the prob­lems lie not just in hypocrisy, but in some­thing worse; in the way in which much of the anti-drone cam­paign is used, some­times delib­er­ate­ly, some­times unwit­ting­ly, to bol­ster a nar­ra­tive inside Pak­istan which runs counter to the inter­ests of the peo­ple of FATA.

– The excel­lent Reuters jour­nal­ist Myra Mac­Don­ald, writ­ing about anti-drone reports last year but with an analy­sis that bears sharp rel­e­vance to advo­ca­cy today, from the Ara­bi­an Penin­su­la to South Asia.

Joshua Foust used to be a foreign policy maven. Now he helps organizations communicate strategically and build audiences.