Reports from the 2012 Pakistan Delegation
The Pakistan National Defense University (NDU) was the site for a presentation by retired U.S. Army colonel and former diplomat Ann Wright, a lead member of the Code Pink delegation against drones. The delegation was invited to appear by the Dean of the Faculty of Contemporary Studies) and was attended by an enthusiastic audience of NDU students as well as several high ranking officers.
Wright emphasized the illegality of the U.S. drone program which violates the sovereignty of other nations, and also allows President Obama to be the ‘judge, jury and executioner’ when he gives the go-ahead for extrajudicial signature drone attacks.
Wright’s anti-drone message resonated with the audience, who were also critical of U.S. policies. One questioner said that though drones may be an effective tactical weapon, but they were a failure strategically; i.e. the anti-American sentiment created by the deaths and the damage of the drones far outweighs the “benefit” of killing selected targets, even if they are considered “high value,” and that the policy of drone warfare would turn out to be counterproductive.
Following Wright’s presentation, Code Pink co-founder Medea Benjamin presented a copy of her book Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control to Brigadier General Najam and the Dean, and responded to questions.
Benjamin pointedly noted that the U.S. drone program in Pakistan is run by the CIA, not the military, and is thus classified and sheltered from accountability. The U.S. government has only recently even admitted that it had a drone program, even though it has been responsible for the killing of over 3000 Pakistanis since 2004. She noted that the Executive branch of the U.S. government subverts the Judicial branch by using the cover of “national security” to protect itself from legal action, and thus undermines the entire governmental system. One questioner noted that not only were U.S. policies a violation of international law, but also were especially dangerous because they set a precedent…”Bush started it, but Obama has made it worse.”