“The Year of the Drone” Report; 21,000 square miles (about the size of West Virginia) and 15,000 “coalition” troops try to eliminate the “Taliban”

Two Stories for Today: First, The Year of the Drone, a new report just out. Second, the attack taking place in Marjah, Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

One of the Assassination Drones, the Predator B (YMQ-9A) General Atomics photo

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First Story: New America Foundation Report The Year of the DroneAn Analysis of U.S. Drone Strikes in Pakistan, 2004-2010 by Peter Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann (Read the full report here) Their synopsis is below the Helmand “displaced” story. This is a Must Read for U.S. Drone (“assassination drones”) attack information.

Second Story: U.S., “Coalition Forces”, and Afghan soldiers attacking in Marjah, Helmand Province, Afghanistan. The easy victory is not so easy. But there will be a “Victory” that can be broadcast to show how the war is turning in the U.S. favor, another great headline for U.S. voter consumption. JUST IN:
The Real Objective of the Marja Offensive, by Gareth Porter, read it here.
“This is all a war of perceptions,” (Gen.) McChrystal said. “This is not a physical war in terms of how many people you kill or how much ground you capture, how many bridges you blow up. This is all in the minds of the participants.”

The land area of Helmand Province, Afghanistan is about the same size of West Virginia (24,000 square miles). It is about the same size as Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire combined. The total population is over 1,700,000 people, and 92% of them are Pashtuns. Marjah is one of the small villages that make up this population. Here’s a map showing the area.

Here’s a map of the “displaced” population that ran for their lives prior to the attack beginning, an estimated 25,000 to 40,000 out of a total of 80,000 in Marjah Village. Click here for the map. Map taken from “Knots in the Stomach”, by Joshua Foust at Registan.net.

What has happened to the people of Swat Valley? Where over 2.5 million villagers were “displaced”. Many have not returned, and those returning, returned to what? Crops all destroyed, homes, roads, bridges, irrigation ditches destroyed, livestock dead or missing, how are they surviving? South Waziristan had many “displaced villagers” also, what has happened to them? Does anyone care? This is being repeated now in Marjah, led by the U.S. government. These are crimes against humanity.

The Year of the Drone – An Analysis of U.S. Drone Strikes in Pakistan, 2004-2010 By Peter Bergen, Katherine Tiedemann, New America Foundation February 24, 2010 | New America Foundation

    The bomber, a Jordanian doctor linked to al Qaeda, detonated his explosives on December 30, 2009, at an American base in Khost in eastern Afghanistan, killing himself and seven CIA officers and contractors who were operating at the heart of the covert program overseeing U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan’s volatile northwestern tribal regions. The suicide attack was a double cross: Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, the bomber, had earlier provided information to the CIA that was used in targeting some of those drone attacks.[i]

    Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, the current number three in al Qaeda, praised the suicide attack, saying it was “to avenge our good martyrs” and listing several militant leaders felled by drone strikes.[ii] The chief of the Pakistani Taliban, Hakimullah Mehsud, appeared alongside al-Balawi in a prerecorded video released on January 9, 2010, saying the attack was revenge for the drone strike that killed Mehsud’s ruthless predecessor, Baitullah Mehsud, in August 2009.[iii]

    The drone program had a busy year in 2009; under the Obama administration, there were 51 reported strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas, compared with 45 during the entire administration of George W. Bush. Besides Baitullah Mehsud, those killed by Predator drone missiles included Saleh al-Somali, al Qaeda’s external operations chief and the link between the militant group’s central leadership and its affiliates abroad, in December, and a prominent leader of the Islamic Jihad of Uzbekistan, in September.[iv] All told, as many as 10 militant leaders fell to the drones in 2009, in addition to hundreds of lower-level militants and civilians.[1] (Read the rest of the summary here)

There are Assassination Drone attacks almost daily now in Pakistan. Read some of our Assassination Drone stories, click here.

It is Time to Stop the War(s). Join the March 20 March on Washington to End the War(s). Personally endorse the March 20 March on Washington, click here.

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