On Drones and Democracy

Photo: AFP/Getty

Yesterday (4/12/12) Pakistan’s parliament unanimously voted in favor of a resolution that, among other things, calls for an immediate end to CIA drone strikes in their country.

The Washington Post‘s account of this news included this curious observation:

From Washington’s perspective, the debate in Parliament was a healthy exercise in democracy but one that is unlikely to affect the drone war. The military leaders of both nations see the drones as efficient and effective in eliminating hard-core Islamic militants that plague both the U.S. and Pakistani armies.

I know that the Post is merely conveying “Washington’s perspective,” but let’s think about this for a second. A sign of a healthy democracy is one where civilian political leadership has no power over the military–either in its own country or a nominal ally launching air attacks on its soil?

The New York Times, meanwhile, had this take (4/13/12):

Still, the demand for an “immediate cessation of drone strikes” has no easy solution. In 2008 Parliament also demanded an end to drone strikes, only for the CIA to continue attacking Taliban and Al Qaeda targets in the tribal belt along the Afghan border.

Actually, there is an easy solution to Pakistan’s demand: Stop launching drone attacks.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.